French Olive Cake

Where has the year gone? It’s almost the new year and that means champagne and hors d’oeuvres! This little French olive cake is a perfect addition to your New Year’s Eve buffet. Make it earlier in the day so you can enjoy the evening with friends!


The Recipe

by volume                                                             by weight

1/2 cup cubed pancetta                              115 grams cubed pancetta

2/3 cup chopped black olives                  135 grams chopped black olives

1/2 cup shreddedParmesan                     50 grams shredded Parmesan

2 cups all purpose flour                              240 grams all purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder                6 grams baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper                1 gram cayenne pepper

1½ teaspoons salt                                        6 grams salt

1 teaspoon black pepper                           2 grams black pepper

1/2 cup cubed semi soft                            55 grams cubed semi soft
cheese                                                                 cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs       5 grams minced fresh herbs

1/2 cup buttermilk                                         120 grams buttermilk

2 tablespoons soft butter                         28 grams soft butter

1 large egg                                                        68 grams egg

1/2 cup creme fraiche                                 112 grams creme fraiche



Heat the oven to 350F. Fry the pancetta until it is golden brown.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper together.

Mix in the pancetta, olives, half of the Parmesan, the semi soft cheese, and the herbs.

Whisk the milk and the egg together. Stir in the creme fraiche and the butter.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry just to combine. The mixture will be sticky and thick. Spoon into one large or 2 mini greased loaf pans. Smooth the tops and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Bake a large loaf for approximately 50 minutes or small loaves for 35 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean (unless you hit melted cheese!) and the top should be golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.



Since this is French olive cake, I like to use a French semi soft cheese such as Morbier or Reblochon, but there are lots of delicious cheeses that will work very well. Havarti (Danish), Port Salut (French), and Fontina (Italian) are all semi soft cheeses that will give delicious flavor to this wonderful treat.

Use whatever combination of herbs you enjoy — chives, parsley, thyme, and dill are all excellent in this cake.

I like to slice this cake and toast quickly in the frying pan. It gives a delicious crunch and makes a beautiful presentation.

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