zucchini and olive french breakfast cake

July 27, 2010

Thanks for all your kind comments on my blueberry crumb bars. Despite being ridiculously crumbly and messy to eat, people seemed to love them so that’s pretty awesome.

Can we talk about weekend mornings at home for a moment? Everyone has their routine, their thing that they love to do on a weekend morning when they get to spend it at home.

It might be lying in bed with a cup of tea and a good book; perhaps you like to get up and make a pot of coffee and potter around the house, cleaning up; some of you I’m sure settle into a mammoth session with the weekend paper; others like to rustle up a stellar breakfast, fit for a king.

Here are a couple of things that I like to do when I have a few hours of glorious nothing ahead of me:

I like to stay in my pajamas, unshowered for as long as possible. I like to smell coffee being brewed by my gentleman friend whilst I lazily don’t get out of bed yet. I like to read the weekend paper, especially when I’m living in England and it’s the Observer. I like to do the crossword with my boy while we listen to Aretha Franklin jams.

I like to get up and eat things like this zucchini and olive french breakfast cake with some coffee, feeling all continental-european while I catch up on blogs and news and facebook and all the other silly things I like to do on the interwebs. I made this loaf on sunday after breakfast but I’ll be eating it all week, mark my words.

Why is this breakfast cake French, I am hearing you asking. I asked the same question. Whenever I have eaten breakfast in France it has consisted of pain au chocolat and orange juice or ‘French bread’ (baguette) sliced and served with jam.

However, apparently in the comfort of their own homes, the French are more likely to rustle up something like this – cake salés or savoury cakes. Ham and gruyere is the most traditional so The New York Times says in this interesting article, but this version with kalamata olives, zucchini and goat cheese is honestly delightful.

I plan on eating it for breakfast all week, coffee and orange juice on the side.


Zucchini and Olive French Breakfast Cake
from The Kitchn


Makes 9×5 inch 1 loaf

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan and drizzling
  • 1/2 pound zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • Course salt


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with olive oil. Grate the zucchini on the coarsest side of a box grater. Place the zucchini in a colander in the sink, and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let drain while preparing the rest of the recipe.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the minced garlic with the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a separate, medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then whisk in the milk and olive oil. Use a rubber spatula to fold the wet ingredients into the dry until barely mixed. Fold in the crumbled goat cheese and the sliced olives.
  3. Press firmly on the zucchini in the colander, p
    ressing out as much water as possible. Quickly fold the zucchini into the batter.
  4. Spread the batter in the prepared loaf pan, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle the top with kosher salt. Bake loaf for about 45 minutes, or until golden and a knife inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  5. Transfer to a rack to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge to release. Turn out loaf onto rack to firm up before slicing, about 30 minutes; using a serrated knife, cut into 3/8-inch slices, then cut into halves or quarters.

The olive oil in this loaf made it taste so so moist (I actually wish I’d left it in the oven another 5 minutes to really golden up and get that crunchy ‘crust’ going on) and really added a kick of flavour to the olives and goat cheese. The zucchini looked cool but honestly the flavour wasn’t really there.

This is the second Farmer’s Market delight I’ve rustled up from the goods I bought on Saturday, after those blueberry crumb bars. Zucchini and squash are completely in season in Minnesota right now so look out for another recipe soon!

Have you ever made a savoury “cake” like this popular French kind? What would you choose to put in yours?
I think this would be completely rocking with ham or diced bacon and gruyere. Drooling….


What does your ideal lazy weekend morning look like?

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