Ham and Cheese Cake Salé Quick Bread

Enjoy the savory side of cake.

Ham and Cheese Cake Salé Quick Bread
Photo: Sheri Castle
1 loaf

Some of us have made many loaves of banana and pumpkin bread in the past year. Maybe too many, tipping us into sweet bread fatigue, even though we continue to appreciate their convenience. What if we could whip up a loaf that's just as quick and easy, but savory instead of sweet? Cake salé could be the answer.

Cake salé is a popular home-baked quick bread in France, but would feel right at home in any Southern kitchen. Think of them as a big, homey, crumbly, loaf-shaped muffin or scone. A hearty slice makes an unexpected breakfast (or second breakfast.) It makes a great nibble with a glass of wine, and tasty accompaniment to a salad or bowl of soup. Like all quick breads that keep well for a few days, a modest sliver makes a satisfying snack, and a big hunk might qualify as a meal.

There are many recipes for cake salés. Some include shredded vegetables, herbs, and nuts, while others rely on meat and cheese. This one is a great place to begin. Voila.


  • Olive oil or vegetable oil spray

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 3 large eggs

  • cup whole milk

  • cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard

  • 3 ounces freshly grated Gruyère or extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)

  • 4 ounces finely chopped smoked ham (about 1 cup)

  • cup pitted and chopped high-quality ripe olives, such as Niҫoise or Kalamata


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or mist a 9-inch loaf pan.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and mustard, then fold into the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear into the batter. Fold in the cheese, ham, and olives.

  3. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out the loaf onto the rack, turn upright, and let cool before slicing.

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