Friday, 13 September 2013

Cake Salé

A few years ago I was pleased to be introduced to cake salé by a young French friend of the family. At the time I was intrigued that such a thing as a savoury cake existed and that in all the years of my being interested in such things, I hadn't ever heard of it.
The traditional cake salé is made with ham, olives and guyere cheese but really it's something that can easily be made with a variety of vegetarian ingredients. I have a glut of courgettes these days and so courgettes made an obvious choice. I had planned to also use a tin of sweetcorn but then Sylvia turned up bearing gifts, a cob of corn, a red and a green pepper, some petit pois; along with the courgettes and some grated cheddar cheese, I conjured up my version of this classic French savoury.

For this recipe you will need;
400g of courgettes, I used yellow ones
300g of other vegetables, diced, I used peppers, fresh petit pois
sweetcorn and spring onions
200g of grated cheddar cheese
400g of Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
200ml of vegetable oil
100ml of plain yogurt
50ml of dry vermouth
4 eggs
2 teaspoons of bouillon powder
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt, (to use with the courgettes)

Begin by preparing the vegetables, grate the courgettes and sprinkle on 2 teaspoons of salt, leave to drain. Dice the peppers, slice the spring onions, shuck the corn and pod the peas. Unless the vegetables are completely tender, it's a good idea to steam them a little. When the courgettes have been draining for half an hour or so, squeeze out what remaining liquid there is, I find it best to place the grated courgette in a colander with a small plate and a heavy weight on top.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and switch on the oven to 180C. Line a large loaf tin 23cm by 13cm by 7cm with parchment paper and mix together the oil, eggs, yogurt and vermouth. Finally add the vegetables and the wet mix to the dry ingredients and with as little mixing as possible, fold together to form a cohesive mix. Place the mix in the loaf tin (I found I had enough to make 3 muffins as well) Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes. The surplus, made into muffins will be cooked in about half the time.
Cool the loaf in the tin completely before removing.

You can vary the flavours in this savoury cake in many ways, sun dried tomatoes, olives, roasted butternut squash (diced), smoked salmon, cornichon, horseradish etc. You can also vary the cheese you use.
A thick slice of this loaf is delicious fried in a little butter and topped with a poached egg for breakfast.

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