Savory Cake (or quick bread) with Olives, Cheese, and Pine Nuts

This is a quite lovely meze-cake to enjoy in the garden, accompanied by crisp white or rose wine in the first sunny spring days. On this olivewood stand that I asked our friend, the brilliant wood-carver Panos to make for me the cake looks even more sumptuous. The basic idea comes from Les Cahiers de Delphine, the always interesting weekly newsletter.


Of course, I made quite a few changes, using local green olives instead of the black from Provence, and scallions, instead of the chives that are not available here. As I always do, I substituted olive oil for the butter, and grated aged graviera cheese for the parmesan, I increased the amount of pine nuts and sunflower seeds and added rosemary which gave a lovely aroma to the cake.

I baked it in a pan with a hole in the center, but you can of course use a loaf pan, or a simple round 8-inch pan. This meze cake is best slightly warm, or just cooled.


At least 8 generous appetizer pieces


2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour


1 ½ teaspoon baking powder


½ cup olive oil


5 eggs, lightly beaten to mix


1/3 cup white wine


150 grams grated parmesan, or aged graviera or cheddar


About 1 cup (180 grams) pitted, sliced green olives –you can use black, if you like


5 scallions, white plus most of the green, finely chopped


1 small red pickled pepper chopped (optional)


About 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or more, to taste


1/3 cup (about 50 grams) toasted pine nuts


½ cup sunflower seeds



Line the pan you intend to use with parchment paper. And preheat the oven to 375 F (200 C).


In a bowl toss the flour with the baking powder. Add the olive oil, the eggs and the wine and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, just to incorporate.


Add the cheese, the olives, the scallions, and the pepper, if using, along with the rosemary. Keep some pine nuts to top the cake and add rest to the mix, along with the sunflower seeds. Stir a few times to mix all the ingredients together, and transfer to the prepared pan.


Even the top with a spatula, sprinkle with the reserved pine nuts, and bake for about 35 minutes or more, testing with a knife to see if it is done, as you do with the sweet cakes.


Let cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes, before unmolding and cutting to serve. This meze cake is best slightly warm, or just cooled. But you can wrap the leftover in plastic wrap and refrigerate, then warm a bit in a low oven covered with parchment paper.






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