This easy loaf was inspired by the parsley in my tiny herb garden. The crop had endured nightly freezes last November, and although it looked wretched in the morning (who doesn’t?), its youthful countenance always returned as daytime temperatures ascended. Still, I wanted to use up the peppery leaves before winter set in. A French “cake salé” came to mind.
In France, any quick bread that is baked in a loaf pan is called “cake” (pronounced kek). For a birthday party, you’d probably bake a sweet loaf, or a cake sucrée. For a cocktail bash, you’d definitely want a salty/savory cake salé. Well, that’s my tek on kek.
There are no rules for cake salé. I happen to love the parsley-and-Parmesan combination, but you can use whatever herbs and cheese you love and have on hand. You can even throw some crisp bacon bits or cubes of ham into the batter.
Do let me know if you enjoyed the video version of this recipe. The episode was sponsored, in part, by my friends at Garden Design magazine. (Hint: subscribe to the magazine via this link, and you’ll receive your first issue for free.)
Because I love you, I’ve included the photographic step-by-step and printable recipe below:
To start, coarsely chop the parsley with a knife, or take the lazy route, and mince it in a food processor.
My favorite food processor? This one.
Next, generously grease an 8×4-inch loaf pan with softened butter…
And sprinkle the pan with enough sesame seeds to coat the bottom and sides — about 1 tablespoon. Set the pan aside.
(Need a stainless 8×4 loaf pan? I love this one.)
Tip 1 1/2 cups flour into a mixing bowl…
Whisk in 1 tablespoon of baking powder…
And 3/4 teaspoon salt. Be sure to whisk these dry ingredients thoroughly.
Then crack 3 large eggs into a separate mixing bowl…
And beat them to smithereens with a wire whisk.
One at a time, whisk in each of the following:
1 whole cup plain yogurt…
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil…
1 cup coarsely-shredded Parmesan cheese…
And 1/2 to 3/4 cups of the aforementioned parsley.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir with a spatula just until the flour disappears. Don’t overmix — the batter should be somewhat lumpy.
Working quickly now, scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top with a spatula.
Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds…
And bake until puffed and spotty brown — 45-50 minutes. Let the loaf cool in its pan for just 5 minutes.
Then unmold the loaf, and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes.
Salty Parmesan cheese…fresh, peppery parsley…there’s nothing about this easy cake salé that won’t make your tail wag. If you’re like me, you’ll serve it with a green salad and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. The bread makes a terrific party appetizer, too.
Here’s the printable:
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