Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making French Cake with Ma Fille

As most of you know the French eat their biggest meal of the day at lunch time so for the evening meal they have something lighter. One of the popular recipes for this light supper is a 'cake' made with olives and ham or with all vegetables if you prefer. It is a loaf bread and can be altered to your liking. One of the parents at the big kids' school helped Ma Fille's class make these cakes recently so she wanted to try making one at home.

I'd bought some courgettes at the market and needed to use them up so we made our cake with courgette, ham and green olives. The olives seem to be the constant ingredient in this particular cake, no matter how much the other ingredients vary. We used the basic recipe that Ma Fille had written down in her school notebook and then simply added from there. I've seen some recipes for this cake that include a glass of white wine, shredded cheese, cooked bacon or lardons, and black olives as well. The possibilities are endless.

Ma Fille made this on her own except for cracking the eggs and pitting the olives, which I did for her because she says cracking eggs makes her nervous and olives aren't easy to pit without smushing. It makes the loaf cake look pretty if the olives remain round.

I was a bit hesitant about adding the salt here because the olives and ham are quite salty on their own. It turned out perfectly with the teaspoon but if that seems a bit much to you you can always add less or none. If I were making it with bacon I would lower the salt amount, no question.

Serve this warm or cold with a green salad. For lunch, American style or as a light supper like a la francaise

Zucchini, Ham and Olive Cake a la Ma Fille

1 large zucchini or courgette
12-15 green olives, pitted and sliced into rounds
2 slices of deli ham cut into small squares
1 1/4 cup or 150g flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
100 ml or 10 cl cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste

Grate zucchini into a bowl. Pit and slice green olives and dust with flour. This prevents them from falling to the bottom of the cake.
Cut ham into squares and add to the zucchini and olives.
Mix flour and baking powder. Add to zucchini mixture.
In a separate bowl whisk eggs with cream, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Pour over other ingredients and mix until combined.
Prepare a loaf pan with a rub of olive oil and then pour into pan.
Cook for 45 minutes at 350F/180C.


  1. Yum, what a great thing to have on hand in the fridge when the munchies strike.

  2. Yum!! I had something similar - but with salmon instead. So delicious!

  3. Mmmmm, I must try this when I go home!

  4. ps
    I enjoyed your guest post today. I love French school lunches for my girls, too.

  5. "Le Cake" (salé or sucré, savory or sweet) is a big deal in France. My mom would always bring one to summer picnics. I will try your recipe this week. Here is a great book that offers many more. Do you know it? http://www.amazon.fr/Cakes-Sophie-Dudemaine/dp/2830705912/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300223889&sr=8-1
    There is an American version of the book but it is hard to find...

  6. This looks delicious! And too easy for a light supper.

    I love that cracking eggs makes your daughter nervous - me too! Always has. I'm fine once they're cracked (when separating whites and yolks for example) but the actual cracking freaks me out!

    I must have had a bad egg breaking experience as a child. Hopefully cooking yummy meals like this will help cure us both of our egg-cracking fears!


  7. I've never had any cake like this and I don't know how that's possible.
    Your daughter is too cute. And for some reason like Becs, I too think it's adorable that cracking eggs makes her nervous. Precious. x

  8. French Girl,
    I didn't know they made sucre versions too. I'll have a look at the cookbook and it's good for us to have it in French. Could you share a sweet recipe with me in the meantime?

    So easy. Maybe M can crack all the eggs.

    It's so good and the best is you can put in whatever you like. And the eggs make it super moist.


  9. There's always a (French) person who shows up at a school event or village party with one of these!

    You should check out Cuisine et Vins magazine at your tabac or online if you like these 'cakes'. They have loads of interesting variations, the recipes are nearly always very easy and it'd be great french practice.


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