Cake aux olives (French olive loaf)

2015-10-29 00.36.14 (1024x683)In France cake aux olives is a popular savoury loaf to serve with drinks, enjoy as a light meal with salad or take on a picnic. It can be bought from a boulangerie on Fridays for the weekend or can be put together quickly and baked at home. It is a moist and tasty treat. I sometimes include sun-dried tomatoes in the recipe. Try serving it with the Carrot salad (Salade de carottes rapees).

To make a vegetarian version of the loaf, simply leave out the ham and vary the ingredients as you like; see the variation at the end for ideas. You can have fun experimenting with this one.

Photography by Andrew Sikorski.


  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
  • pinch sea salt and milled black pepper
  • 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • a few sprigs thyme or rosemary, leaves picked and chopped (2 tsp)
  • 170g gruyere cheese, coarsely grated or diced (7mm)
  • 200g green olives or green and black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 150g thick slices of smoked ham, diced or shredded


  1. Oil and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Set the oven at 180C regular or 160C fan.
  2. Prepare the thyme, cheese, olives and ham and have them standing by. Sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt and pepper and make a well in the centre.
  3. In a jug or bowl whisk the eggs, olive oil and wine together. Then tip into the well in the flour and combine, taking care not to overwork. Add the prepared savoury ingredients and gently mix through. Tip into the loaf tin and give a shake and tap on the bench to dispel any air pockets.
  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until firm, crusty and golden. Test the centre with a skewer to be sure it is cooked right through. Rest on a rack for 10 minutes or longer before turning out to cool.
    Cake aux olives will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days or for longer in the freezer.
  5. Serve cut into fairly thin slices or 2.5cm cubes as a canapé and offer with a glass of wine. Alternatively serve thicker slices with a salad of tomatoes, radishes and rocket as a starter, for a light lunch or to take on a picnic.


Vegetarian variation Ingredients that can be included in a vegetarian version of the loaf are cheeses such as parmesan or feta, dried fruits like figs, prunes or apricots, roasted zucchini or red pepper and marinated artichoke hearts.


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