A ‘cake’ in French is, confusingly, not what Anglo-Saxons might call a gâteau. It is usually a loaf shape for a start, sometimes served at breakfast and, often savoury not sweet. The first one I ever made, for example was a Roquefort, walnut and raisin version. The mixture reminds me of muffins, since it tends to contain oil rather than butter and needs only the barest of beatings. They are therefore quick to make, especially if you make mini versions like these, as well as relatively low on ingredients and shopping.
Technically, this recipe makes 12 but I made them in US-bought mini-loaf tins which, since I only ended up with eight, might be somewhat larger than the French standard size…If you don’t have mini-loaf tins, mini-muffin tins might work, though I have not tried them. They come out quite soft and their flavour is delicate, rather than full-on, so they make an ideal Christmas party snack, or they’d be great, once we get outdoors again, for a picnic.
Mini Gruyère cakes
Makes about 8-12 depending on the size of your tin
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
plain flour, 100g
baking powder, 1 tsp
salt and pepper
Gruyère, 200g (or a similar cheese like Emmenthal or Comté)
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan-assisted/gas 2 and grease 12 mini-loaf tins.
2. Put the flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, oil and a little salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and beat until you have a smooth batter.
3. Grate in the cheese.
4. Divide the mixture between the mini-loaf tins and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden and a knife inserted into a cake comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes in the tins, then unmould them onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.