I started baking cakes when I was nine or ten years old. I made quick breads. They were the easiest. No whipping egg whites. No careful folding of flour. Baking utensils were basic. An egg-beater for whipping egg whites and cream. A large white bowl for mixing. A heavy spoon for creaming butter. The forefinger on my right hand still has a tiny bump on it caused by countless of hours of creaming butter and sugar.
The baking of a loaf cake was also easier. It did not require a quick oven (very hot). Simply a nice steady heat. As the cook I had to regulate the heat of our wood burning stove. If the wood was cut to thin it would spit and crackle and burn too hot and too quickly. I would test the heat of the oven by opening it and putting my hand in to feel the heat. One that was created by medium sized logs burning steadily and quietly. I still find myself double checking an oven temperature in this way.
Savory cakes are popular in France. The cake salé as it is known (salé means salty or savory) is a simple quick bread recipe. You whisk all the dry ingredients together in one bowl. All the rest in another. Then gently combine the two. It takes less than ten minutes to put together and like my youthful loaf cakes requires no special equipment.
I made this savory cheese and chive bread to serve with aperitifs. I was celebrating a major birthday and my two sisters were traveling from Prince Albert to Vancouver to help me blow out birthday candles. The bread is also perfect for brunch, excellent with salads and delicious lightly toasted and buttered.
This version is simple – using just old cheddar cheese and snipped chives but it also a great way to use those left-over odd-sized pieces of cheese you have on hand. It is good with basil or a mix of herbs. Or you can be creative and mix in diced ham or bacon, toasted chopped nuts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or minced shallot.
You can serve this warm but it tastes better when it has cooled completely. If you’re serving it with drinks, cut it into 8 slices about 1/2 thick, and cut the slices into strips. SAVORY CHEESE AND CHIVE BREAD … Bon Appetite.