Savory ‘Cake’ for l'Apéritif
Updated: Mar 25, 2021
Serving slices of savory ‘cake’ with cocktails has become quite popular here in France thanks to the frozen version sold by Picard, the frozen food store in France. We really like theirs, but I thought I would make my own and use ingredients of my choosing! The result: a delicious slice of cheesy, veggie cake that goes perfectly with a cold beer or a glass of white wine. (And yes, I realize that the term ‘cake’ might be misleading. Oddly, the French adopted the English word 'cake' for these hors d'oeuvres. I am open to ideas for renaming this recipe!)
It took me five tries (darn differences between American/French flour!) before getting it to the right consistency, but success! What’s great about the recipe is that it is pretty quick to pull together and you can make it a day or two ahead of serving and it still tastes great. I like this summery mix of ingredients, but the recipe is versatile so feel free to substitute different vegetables or cheese or to add some chopped ham or bacon.
Savory ‘Cake’ for l'Apéritif
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Need: Loaf/bread pan
1 medium zucchini
1 ½ cups (170 g) flour (T65 in France)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper (or paprika)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
½ cup (120 ml) milk, room temperature (whole or 2%)
4-5 ounces (120 g or about ¾ cup) firm goat cheese
½ cup fresh mint (or basil)
½ medium red pepper (or yellow or orange)
1 tablespoon pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Discard the ends of the zucchini and use a box grater (like for grating cheese) to grate the zucchini onto a piece of paper towel. Press down on the grated zucchini with another piece of paper towel to get rid of excess water. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and Cayenne pepper. Add the beaten eggs, olive oil and milk. Using a large spoon, stir the ingredients together to get a smooth batter (use the spoon to break up any clumps from the flour).
Chop the red pepper into small dices, cut the mint into thin strips and dice the goat cheese
into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes. Add the grated zucchini, red pepper, mint and goat cheese to the batter and gently fold the ingredients together so the vegetables are evenly coated.
Grease the loaf pan (I use Pam) and pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top. Bake for about 50 minutes. Take out of the oven when the cake is golden and set.
Let cool completely before cutting or taking out of the pan (avoid the temptation to taste it before it’s cool!). Cut into slices and serve at room temperature with cocktails. The loaf can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or you can freeze it to thaw and have ready to serve for last minute guests.
And bon appétit!