French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (2024)

Easy to prepare, the savory cake is usually served as an appetizer during a French apéro. They are easy to cook in advance and freeze, and can even serve as breakfast. Get top tips on how to serve a cake salé (savory cake), the drinks that compliment, and much more.

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This Recipe includes

Main ingredients:

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (1)All purpose flour
French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (2)Eggs
French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (3)Grated cheese (emmental, cheddar, gruyère)
French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (4)Olive oil
French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (5)Milk
French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (6)Baking powder
French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (7)Salt and pepper

Substitutable ingredients:

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (8)Bacon lardons or chopped ham
French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (9)Black olives

Why we love it

It might be a bit confusing, but the French word for “cake” is actually gâteau. The dish in France that is called cake salé is not actually sweet at all. It is a savory cake, with salé being the French word for “salty”.

You might be asking yourself, can you have a cake that is salty? Yes, and actually it is delicious. It is an appetizer and normally served during a French apéro, although they make a quick and easy breakfast as well.

They tend to be quite popular with young and hip Parisians getting together at someone’s apartment on a weekend evening after a long week at work, since they are easy to make in advance and serve.

The savory cake looks like a traditional cake cut into slices and guests are expected to pick it up with their hands and eat it like finger food. This type of meal is called the apéro dinatoire, where little plates or bowls are held by the guests and eaten while standing and chatting.

It became famous with anglophones when Harry and Meghan, the Duke and duch*ess of Sussex had a stand-up lunch at their wedding. (No word on if they had savory cakes at their wedding, but it has been known to show up at the vin d’honneur at French weddings.)

The cakes are also great for breakfast, if you are looking to get away from boring ol’ cereal. They can be prepared in advance and frozen in slices, so you can easily grab a piece before going to work or for an after-school snack.

Typical Ingredients

Just like the sweet version of a cake, a savory cake comes in many varieties. One of the most common type is bacon lardons, gruyère cheese, and olives.

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (10)

But you can do vegetarian flavors too like spinach and parmesan as well. Other interesting variations are:

  • Smoked Salmon, avocado, and tomato confit
  • Roquefort and cauliflower
  • Dried tomatoes
  • Fig and goat cheese
  • Spinach and feta

You can combine all sorts of interesting ingredients and test it out. The base ingredients of flour, eggs, cheese, and milk remain the same, so you can easily test out the other ingredients in the same proportions as the recipe below.

For the cheese, the ones that work well most of the time are hard cheeses such as gruyère, parmesan, or emmental. Goat cheese also works really well for that extra note of flavor.

If you are having a party, you can prepare 2-3 different types for your guests. You can also prepare it in a muffin size tray like French egg muffins (oeufs au four), which are a very popular breakfast alternative.

What to serve with it?

As I mentioned earlier, savory cakes are meant to be an appetizer, so the recipe I’ve outlined below is for 8 people to eat in small quantities.

Alternatively, each portion can also be eaten for breakfast, with a juice; tea or coffee.Nonetheless, it can also be served as a main dish to a family of 4, perhaps combining with a salad, crudites, or a soup.

For dinner, another interesting option is to combine it with other apéro combinations such as a charcuterie platter of smoked hams, cheese board, and baguette.

What drinks to serve with it?

In terms of drinks, a light sparkling white wine or champagne goes quite well. You can also try one of the other apéritifs common in France. You could also try a rosé or a light red.

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (12)

Can you freeze a Savory Cake?

Yes, savory cakes do quite well in the freezer. Let it cool, and a quick tip is to cut the slices before you freeze it so that you can then just reheat the portion you want, for example, if you are having them for breakfast.

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (13)

To prevent the cake salé from drying out in the freezer, wrap each slice in film paper before putting it in a ziplock bag.This is the same principle used for bread or brioches. If you do intend to freeze the savory cake for breakfasts, you could also bake it in cupcake trays for easy access and portion sizes.

If you intend to just keep it overnight (i.e. preparing it the day before a party, you don’t need to put it in the fridge. You can just leave it on the countertop at room temperature. If you do intend to put it in the fridge, wrap it in tin foil, and pop it in the oven to reheat at 180°C (350°F).

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (14)

Savory Cake Recipe

Nassie Angadi

A savory "cake" recipe that is usually served with an apéritif during an apéro (happy hour). It can also be prepared in advance and frozen, in order to be served at breakfast.

4.49 from 216 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 45 minutes mins

Total Time 1 hour hr

Course Appetizers and Starters

Cuisine French

Servings 8

Calories 271 kcal


  • Tramontina Gourmet 3 Piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

  • Christopher Kimball’s Power Whisk

  • Le Creuset Stoneware Heritage Loaf Pan


Base Ingredients

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of grated cheese eg. gruyere, cheddar, emmental, etc
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder (1 sachet)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Substitutable Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of bacons lardons or chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup of pitless sliced olives


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

  • Mix the milk and eggs using a mixer.

  • Add flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder and mix it all together into a smooth and creamy texture.

  • If you are using bacon lardons, cook them for 7-10 minutes in a fry pan.

  • Stir in the chopped ham, olives, cheese, and olive oil to the mixture.

  • Grease the deep dish baking tray with some olive oil or butter, so that the cake does not stick.

  • Transfer the mixture to a deep dish baking tray and put in the oven for 45 minutes at 350°F (180°C) until the top is lightly browned.

  • Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


If you would like to try other ingredients in the savory cake, you can substitute other ingredients like:

  • Smoked Salmon, avocado, and tomato confit
  • Roquefort and cauliflower
  • Dried tomatoes
  • Fig and goat cheese
  • Spinach and feta


Serving: 1gCalories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 12gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 626mgFiber: 1g

Please note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual.

You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for entertainment purposes only.

Keyword appetizers, finger food, snacks

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (15)

If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French appetizers that are easy to prepare here. Bon appétit and à bientôt !

French Cake Salé: the Savory Cake Recipe (2024)
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