Savoury cakes (called “breads” by many people) are one of my favourite party snacks. They are easy to prepare, do not require any complicated stages (such as kneading, easily adaptable to available ingredients and, most of all, very rewarding because they seem to impress most of the guests and guarantee lots of compliments. Apart from parties, they are a great everyday sandwich substitute and I strongly recommend it for picnics. Some of you might remember the two savoury cakes I have posted on my blog (Cake with Ham and Olives and Cake with Shrimp and Edamame). This goat cheese cake was prepared with the same basic batter (of which I am particularly proud, see below). Then, as usually, I simply added what I found in the fridge and what suited my mood.
As I have already mentioned in my previous posts, savoury cakes are quite popular in France (they are called by English name “cake”, pronounced “kek”) and I have always loved the concept, but the cakes always seemed too fatty (greasy fingers were inevitable). In fact, in order to be moist and soft, most cakes contain quite a lot of oil or butter. After many attempts to lower the fat content I finally found out that the smooth fresh cheese (called fromage blanc or quark) was an excellent partial oil substitute and guaranteed the softness and the moisture I wanted to achieve. I have recently also discovered that the fresh cheese can easily be replaced with silken tofu (see the recipe below). Both are impossible to detect, do not alter the batter’s taste and make the cakes incredibly soft. In short, I encourage you to try this delicious and light batter recipe and then add whatever comes to your mind. I have always considered it as foolproof and hope it will never let you down either.
TIPS: The cake should be served cold (it’s difficult to cut when warm). It can be made well in advance, wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge for two-three days.
Quark cheese/fromage blanc/fresh cheese is smooth and has a very thick yogurt-like consistency (a bit softer than cream cheese). It may contain up to 40% fat, but I always use the lightest one. If it’s not available, replace it with silken tofu, but skip the milk (see below).
If you manage to find a narrow and long baking dish, it makes cute, two-bite sized, elegant snack slices. I have bought a 4 cm x 30 cm (about 1,6 x 12 inches) and use it very often. It is perfect for half a batch when I don’t have guests and don’t want to make a big cake.
Before I pass to the recipe I would like to thank A_Boleyn for testing my Chawan Mushi with Shrimp and Peas (the egg custard I have presented in my previous post). In spite of a silly mistake in my recipe, she has achieved wonderful results. Click here to see her beautiful egg custard.
Ingredients (for a 30 cm x 10 cm baking dish or two 4 cm x 30 cm dishes):
200 g quark cheese/fromage blanc (or 200 g silken tofu, but in this case skip the milk)
125 ml milk (approx. 1/2 cup)
50 ml oil (approx. 1/5 cup)
250 ml flour (approx. 1 cup)
1 flat tablespoon salt
1 package baking powder (16 g/about 0.5 oz)
1 tablespoon thyme
100-150 g/ 3,5 oz- 5.3 oz fresh goat cheese
10 dried tomatoes (drained if preserved in oil or soaked in hot water to soften if they were just dried)
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Mix the eggs, the cheese, the flour, the milk, the baking powder and the oil with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
ATTENTION! If you use silken tofu, you need to mix the batter in a food processor or a blender.
Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir well.
Grease a rectangular 30 x 10 cm baking dish or line it with baking paper. (You can use two smaller dishes of course).
Pour the cake preparation.
Delicately drop small amounts of goat cheese (heaped teaspoons) in equal distances, pushing them inside the cake.
Bake 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown. Let it cool down (the best would be to refrigerate for one or two hours). Serve it cut into slices and then into 2 or 4 bite-sized pieces or, if using as a sandwich alternative, simply cut into slices.