A Savory Cake: Cake aux olives et jambon


This cake is how Jonathon rewards himself for having gotten out of bed at 9 am on a Sunday morning, just to drive me to practice.  It was rough for him, I’m sure, sitting on the bench that was receiving full sunlight, and basking in the rays, as my boxing team and I ran hills in the forest above Neuchatel this morning. Each time we passed him he seemed to have sunk lower back onto the bench. Like a Swiss Henry Thoreau, he sat in a halcyon stupor, regarding the tops of the trees. Meanwhile, I was using Lamaze breathing to try and obliterate the sharp cramp in my side, catch up to the pack before my instructor got tempted into making me do push-ups. 

"Well, at least he’s sweating too," kidded my the guy next to me, as we ran past Jon again, making our way towards the finish line. I wanted to laugh, but I’d left my breath somewhere near the summit.


On the drive home, as I massaged my calves and tried to encourage life back into my frozen ears, he plotted on what he would make this afternoon. I heard "cake," and I perked up. I had just run three miles; cake was definitely alright with me. Then he started saying things like, "olives," and "ham" and "which would go well with meat tonight." Last time I checked, chocolate cake does not go with roast beef.

Turns out, not only was he rewarding himself, he was going to torture me (Hey, didn’t I get enough this morning?) by making a "savory cake." I was skeptical, but the end result was a moist, and slightly salty loaf (though there is no salt in the recipe). The olive and ham stood out strongly, and this is not a recipe for those who like mild flavors. But, if you like strong flavors, slightly Mediterranean even, and you’ve been lazy today, well then treat yourself to this.


Préparation : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 50 minutes
Serves 6-8 people


– 250g of flour

– 4  eggs

– 200 g de-seeded green olives

– 200 g cubed ham (very small pieces)
– 150 g shredded gruyere cheese
– 50 g  olive oil
– 1 1/2 dry white wine
– 1 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter the bread or "cake" mold.

Mix in this order: the ham, the olives, the cheese, the eggs, the oil and the white wine.

Incorporate the flour and baking powder mixture.

Pour batter into mold and bake at 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.


Other Savory Cakes can be seen at this month’s Monthly Mingle, held by "What’s for lunch, honey?"


  1. oh i definitely have to try to make that one! only 10mins of prep!

  2. jonathan says:

    It’s so easy and quick you won’t believe it! Try to replace the “gruyere cheese” with “parmigiano”, I prefer this version as the cheese taste is stronger.
    And oh, don’t forget to wash the olives if they are salty…

  3. My thought, Jon, was pecorino fresco or of medium aging for the melty. Or fontina or bitto or even smoky types if you use non-smoked ham.

    I am presuming cooked ham and not prosciutto? It sounds delightful, anyway.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Yes, definitely cooked-ham. I’m not a smoked cheese person but I can imagine it…
    Just keep in mind that there are 3 very flavorful ingredients already: olives, ham and cheese and that it could become a little bit overwhelming.

  5. I didn’t know you could put meat in cakes. Still, it looks so good–your pictures really do this recipe justice.

    And I really like your new blog. The cupcakes at the end of each post are too cute!

  6. This looks delicious; I’ll definitely have to try it. And thanks for the link :)

  7. Oh I like this one. A great combination of flavors. Thank you for the entry to the MM.

  8. Dear friends , Ihave already made thid wonderful cake aux olives at jombon. This is french cake. You can add either canned tuna or chiken or turky ham instead of the beaf. Try next time . It is delecious.

    Thanks for letting me to share my thoughts with other cooking lovers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  9. I’ve been looking for a trustworthy recipe for one of these for a while – I plan to make it as a snack for a tasting of rosé wines. Just one question – I assume it is 1 1/2 tablespoons of wine? (not 1 1/2 bottles!)

  10. I found an almost identical French recipe that says 11/2 wine glasses of liquid – that would be between 175 and 200 ml, which is about right. You could use milk if you didn’t want to use wine. I just poured in liquid until the batter seemed right which in my case used about 150 ml, but it would have absorbed more without a problem

    The recipe was a great success and provoked a discussion on the BBC food boards


  11. I have just made it and it turned out brilliantly!I added some Rosemary just for a try.Are you near Neufchatel in Normandy?If so I live near by too! Thanks Victoria

  12. Sorry for being dim!I did not read that you were in Switzerland and it was not a mis spelling of Neu(f)chatel!!Just had a second slice it is too scrummy will have to go for a run too now!!

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