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When is a cake not a cake? When you’re in France. These ‘cakes’ (pronounced kek) are what we might call ‘quick bread’ in the United States, although we usually make them sweet. So I’ll have to give one to the French and say that they’re right—this actually falls more in the category of a cake rather than a bread.

on rue tatin eggs

People often ask what people in France do for Thanksgiving. Well, to them, bascially the day is just another random Thursday in late November. (Albeit with a few crazed Americans scavenging madly though the Grand Épicerie searching for fresh cranberries and canned pumpkin.) Although I’ve been wrong before, I would venture to guess that not many other cultures systematically celebrates a joint feast between the pilgrims and Native Americans that took place a long time ago in the United States. And I’m not sure why folks would think that people in France..or Bali, Korea, or Iceland, would celebrate an American holiday*, but we Americans who live here do celebrate The Most Important Day on the Planet.

copper pots

Because the day is a regular work day to everyone else, and folks in Paris need to get back to the grind the following day (there’s no vendredi noir, or black Friday here, for better or worse), sometimes the feast is moved to the weekend to accommodate work schedules.

unsulphered apricots cake

Aside from the search for les canneberges fraîches, there aren’t any of the indications that Thanksgiving is coming up like there is in America. There’s no pre-dawn sales, colorful supermarket fliers with jumbo-breasted Butterballs, and we don’t have to listen to the never-ending torrent of arguments about brined versus non-brined turkey.

Look folks, turkey is supposed to be dry, that’s the nature of the beast. That’s why the pilgrims brought gravy to the New World. (Which I dutifully explain to my French friends, who aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about.) But the short answer is: If you want something moist, choose another bird. Or come to France and celebrate Thanksgiving here.

winter window

Since I straddle both worlds—France and America—I wasn’t caught up in the pre-Thanksgiving panic to reinvent the holiday classics or to find an even better pie dough recipe. I happily went about my life the week before Thanksgiving. But then, Wednesday night hit when I was home alone, and I realized that the collective night of relaxing in America was here. (Or rather, there.) And it’s the one holiday that everyone seems to agree is the best of all American holidays, even though it doesn’t exactly translate elsewhere. And it made me a little sad to not be a part of it all.

Louviers bread bookmark

On Thanksgiving day, my bout of melancholy passed and I had the usual rowdy wine-stoked celebration hosted by some American friends in Paris. We had a great time, and the French guests were almost as delighted as we were. And if you want to know how to make turkey moist, 1) Buy a French turkey, which isn’t all pumped up with additives and water, and 2) Have the volailleur spit roast it on his rôtisserie. Hoo-boy, was that turkey good! Moist, tender meat, and crisp, caramelized skin that would give the best duck confit a run for its money. Dump that salt water brine, mes amis.

I shouldn’t have been sad, or jealous, of my fellow Americans, because in France I get to celebrate Thanksgiving more than once. And on Saturday, I took the train to visit my friend Susan Loomis who lives about an hour away from Paris, in the timbered-town in Normandy. Susan lives in a fantastic house on rue Tatin and runs a cooking school, On Rue Tatin, which syncs together the location as well as the spirit of her country French cooking.


Although we didn’t make tarte Tatin this year because it’s hard to make enough caramelized apple tart to feed thirty people. And I remembered I had mincemeat that I’d made last year which I wanted to use). So with a little help from me and a few others, Susan put together a lovely Thanksgiving spread.

chopping apricots & almonds cups and bowls

There was quite large number of guests, both French and American. And while a few raised their eyebrows when I told them what was really in the mincemeat they were about to eat—admittedly, it is unusual to put beef fat in an apple crumble—everyone gamely ate it, as well as sweet potatoes (sans marshmallows), purée maison (mashed potatoes) au jus cratère, roasted turkey, and plenty of le farce (stuffing).

breaking eggs whisking batter

Of course, we Americans piled our plates unreasonably high with food while the French were a little more pragmatic. When I pointed that out to a friend from Seattle sitting next to me, she said, “They probably think this is just the first course!”, as the French tend to eat in courses. Few took seconds, but I made a beeline back to the kitchen because I was sure that I’d missed a few scraps of turkey skin, and I hated to think of it going to waste.

batter in bowl adding nuts to cake

For those who like to entertain, or feel themselves overwhelmed around the holidays, especially if you plan to have large gatherings, le cake is a terrific savory appetizer to go with pre dinner drinks or a glass of Calvados.

cake batter in pan cake batter in pan1

I’ve made Clotilde’s Pistachio-Chorizo Cake, and my go-to recipe for goat cheese and bacon cake is in my book, The Sweet Life in Paris. So as you can see, there’s plenty of variations and options for these savory “cakes”.

quesadillas testing cake

This recipe is from Susan’s book Nuts in the Kitchen, a compendium of recipes that span the globe, from Thailand to Spain, although after living here for over two decades, France is closest to her heart. And while we were cooking, we lunched on quesadillas made with tortillas brought back from Arizona.

(I stopped sharing precious corn tortillas that I bring back to France with French friends since they don’t get as wildly excited as the same things we Americans do, including topping sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and so forth. So we, the kitchen crew, ate pretty well that day.)

finished cake in pan cake slices

But before dinner, we’d started off with copious nibbles, which included slices of apricot, almond and lemon bread as well as toasted nuts, and crudités (raw vegetables) with a nutty dukkah. While everyone was busying themselves with snacks and glasses of bubbly cremant, I was secretly ripping away at the best bits of crispy skin on the turkey carcass before anyone else could get a crack at them.

Dinner finally ended with everyone leaving well after midnight and we sipped Calvados by the fire until the warmth of the fire lulled us to sleep, no doubt aided by the powerful apple brandy. The next morning, I was the first one up and, of course, made a nosedive into the leftover stuffing. There wasn’t much turkey skin left, the gravy had formed a solid mass in the pitcher, and I wasn’t really interested in picking at ice-cold brussels sprouts.

pumpkin cake ingredients

And there were a few slices of the apricot bread—or le cake, that I also managed to nab before anyone else woke up. It was le jour après Thanksgiving and aside from a bout of sadness earlier in the week, I was quite happy that morning to be in the toasty kitchen by the fire that was still warmly glowing in the hearth. I’m pretty sure the no one in France eats cake for breakfast, or even in America. Except for me.


Apricot, Almond and Lemon Cake

Adapted from Nuts in the Kitchen by Susan Loomis You can swap out another nut or dried fruit for the ones recommended. Susan recommends if using apricots, find those that are unsulphured if possible. For those who like things a little spicy, add a dusting of cayenne or red pepper powder (about 1/2 teaspoon) into the batter.
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 rounded teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 rounded teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (110g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 7 ounces (210g) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces (2 cups), 180g Gruyère, Comté, or Emmental cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup (60g) almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Butter a loaf pan, line it with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. Stir in the black pepper. (If you’re adding chile powder, add that here as well.)
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, whisk the eggs until frothy (about a minute) then stir in the dry ingredients. Mix in the melted butter until thoroughly blended, then fold in the apricots, cheese, fennel seeds, lemon zest, and almonds.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit for about five minutes, then tip it out onto a cooling rack. Wait a few more minutes, then remove the parchment paper and let cool completely before serving.


Serving: To serve, cut the bread into slices with a sharp serrated bread knife, then cut the bread diagonally into triangles. Serve with cocktails or wines for an apéritif.
Storage: The cake will keep well-wrapped for up to three days at room temperature. Do not refrigerate the cake or it will get dry. The cake can be frozen for at least one month.

Related Posts and Links

Banana Bread, or Banana Cake

Stop the Stuffing!

Upside Down Cake

Baking Class on Rue Tatin

Apricot Bars

French Apple Cake

*On the other hand, since in America we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and to some extent, Bastille Day (well…perhaps only in San Francisco), I suppose it’s natural to think some of our holidays might be extolled elsewhere. And it would make sense to think that anyone in France would be happy to celebrate a holiday that involves lots of eating. But until I see canned pumpkin selling for less than €8, I’m going to assume that Thanksgiving isn’t all that popular amongst the French.



    • Jessica @ How Sweet

    What a fantastic bread for gifting!

    • Foodie in Berlin

    Sounds like a nice spread.
    Although I am not American, we have turkey for Christmas and I do brine it, just because it flavours it and salts it entirely. Sorry, did I bring up the brine thing again?

    • Marlene

    Here having my coffee, red skies spectacular over the Atlantic as the morning sun tries to make an appearance…wishing I had a piece of your ‘kek’ in which to indulge. This is definitely a recipe to save, make and savor. Exactly the kind of bread/cake with many variations possible.

    However, I couldn’t find a link to a recipe or description for the delectable-looking tortillas in you picture. Squinting at the image – did I spot avocado? cheese? two types? what? and the red stuff? Cayenne? Paprika? Chili powder?

    • Margaret

    I used to make a similar apricot bread that added cranberries and orange juice – must try this yummy version.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Margaret; Yes, I’ve made similar kinds of ‘cakes’ (or breads) too, although this one has no sugar but is quite good, and even would make a good mid-afternoon snack.

    Marlene: Take tortillas, heat them with grated cheese until melted, then add avocado chunks and spicy paprika or a similar red pepper powder.

    • Sharon

    We introduced Thanksgiving to our German friends since – like you said – it is the best American holiday and I miss my family and my turkey. EVERYONE loves it and looks forward to it every year. I roast my own pumpkin (have never seen anything but pickled here) and it makes lovely pumpkin bread, pie, soup and what-have-you. I miss the dinner, for sure, but not the shopping frenzy!

    • The Blue-Eyed Bakers

    Oooh we love kek. Especially when it’s studded with such delicious flavors…apricots and almonds? Sublime.

    • Nisrine

    David, I love unsulphured dried apricots; they taste better than the bright orange ones. The bread is tempting and I like the way you sliced it thinly and halved it. It looks very appealing that way. I love dukkah too.

    • A Plum By Any Other Name

    I am sitting here eating my eggs with prosciutto and goat cheese, wishing they were your savory bacon and goat cheese “le cake.” Is it too early to be thinking about Calvados? (After all, it’s nearly 8 am.)

    • stephanie

    My favorite cake salé is with green olives, feta and sun-dried tomatoes. It goes perfectly with champagne or a glass of dry white wine.

    • Stephanie

    What kind of squash is in the photo? I live in China and received in a farmer’s delivery basket two squashes that look exactly like yours. I made soup with one, but is there any recipe that they’re particularly good in? (Just noticed your caption says pumpkin, but I’ve never seen a green one before.)

    • Heather

    This post makes me want to visit Paris more than ever. I love how (from what I hear) the French make everything sound better…why not call a quick bread a cake? Much more appealing that way!

    • Vidya

    I actually know a Parisian family which feasts on a spread of desserts for breakfast. No joke, in the morning, they all sit down to orange juice, coffee, bread, jam, Nutella, the usual…and le cake, sugary cookies, and the previous night’s dessert – “real” cake, pots de crème, whatever. Insane. Regarding the Thanksgiving thing, I think it’s just become so widely propagated through television shows that everyone knows what it is and consequently, everyone is expected to celebrate it. Growing up, my friends thought it was mega weird that I didn’t celebrate Christmas at all, no tree, no presents, nothing. What they didn’t seem to realize was that I had plenty of Hindu festivals to keep me occupied throughout the year. But now, I celebrate Christmas with friends because hey, everyone else is celebrating at that time and I don’t want to miss out. Weird how these holidays catch on.

    • Terrianne

    I’m still trying to explain Thanksgiving to my husband, who is French, but so far he only understands that people eat turkey. =)

    Beautiful kek! I love the mix of dried fruit, cheese and herbs.

    • the blissful baker

    sometimes i forget that thanksgiving is an american holiday! i just can’t imagine not celebrating it – it’s my favorite holiday!
    this bread looks so tasty! a slice of that would go so well with the coffee i am having right now!

    • Katya

    David, I eat cake for breakfast on a regular basis. But even better is pie…
    That looks like the most idyllic weekend.

    • Dmarie

    such beautiful pictures, and I’m definitely going to have to remember the tortilla/avocado suggestion. thanks!

    • Susan

    You aren’t the only one who eats cake in the morning. Although, this recipe isn’t sweet like dessert cake, it’s probably less shocking to eat it in the morning. But, I love a piece of dessert type cake or pie, when we have it, with coffee. I can’t drink coffee in the evening with dessert or I’d be up all night, so morning works for me! Heck, people eat sweet rolls, doughnuts, waffles and pancakes in the morning, why not regular desserts occasionally? At least, I think it’s reasonable. No?

    • Vicki B

    David, have you ever read anything about Tasha Tudor? Amazing woman who roasted her turkey on a hand cranked rotisserie in the fireplace every year. She described the flavor and texture as being superb.

    • Vicki B

    Cuisinart® Vertical Rotisserie. Wonder if this thing works? It would have to be a small turkey, though.

    • Mrs Redboots

    Is it awful of me to ask what is meant by “brining” turkey? I have eaten it nearly every Christmas for the best part of 60 years, and have never heard of this process. Surely one eats one’s turkey roasted, perhaps with bacon over the breast?

    • JenniferB

    Thanks muchly for this particular kek recipe – more subtle than most ‘cake salé’ recipes that I have been trying out this year. The most common one seems to be cheese and lardons and variations thereon which is a pretty good start. Roquefort and walnuts and/or sultanas is also lovely. Trout/wasabi/roquette was a dismal failure – no flavour at all. I make mini-muffins to serve more easily with drinks. Oh and tuna and olives and, and…. endless possibilities! Everyone loves it, no matter what the flavour combination.

    • Madeleine

    Cake for breakfast? I’m game although my traditional jour après Thanksgiving breakfast of choice is pumpkin pie! Miam!

    • Katherine

    I always scoffed at folks that thought other countries would celebrate our Thanksgiving (kind of like asking what they do for the 4th of July in the UK)… until this year. I’m living in Guatemala, and there was an enormous display at the supermarket of Stovetop stuffing, canned gravy, canned cranberry jelly, etc. When I asked a friend, she said that people do occasionally have big Thanksgiving feasts. The Thanksgiving food appears to be deeply discounted this week, though. And there were indeed “Viernes Negro” sales in some stores.

    • Jan

    Beautiful photos as usual; thanks for sharing those.

    On the subject of: “I was secretly ripping away at the best bits of crispy skin on the turkey carcass before anyone else could get a crack at them.” I remember so fondly the time I was working in the kitchen at a big hotel, famous for its Sunday and holiday brunch buffets. Boy did I have a LOT of turkey skins to choose from, straight out of the ovens! We took a lot of the skin off for easier carving! All the Pope’s noses we wanted, too. I can’t recall the French term for that piece of bird anatomy. Anyone?

    Since we’re having cool (75 F) breezy weather here in the tropics, I might just have to turn on my oven long enough to make a savory kek! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Miranda

    I am a huge fan of a slice of “kek” aux lardons, served with a glass of decent champagne.
    The turkeys my mother buys for Christmas come from her local butcher in Grasse, who tries to persuade her to buy a goose every year.
    They cost around 80 euros each but are worth every cent.
    You need two turkeys by the way: French farmers don’t pander to British expats’ desire for one bird to feed 10 people.
    I can’t wait for Christmas!

    • Anna

    Yum – love this holiday. This was the first time I hosted it. No turkey here, though. We opted for ham and lamb instead.

    • Kristin

    It’s funny how Thanksgiving is the most important holiday in America, here in Canada, it’s not that big of a deal. We do the turkey and stuffing and all that, but we don’t get nearly as hyped about it as our Southern friends.

    The cake looks lovely, I’m a big fan of kek sales and will definitely give yours a try! And I would for sure eat it for breakfast!

    • korovka

    Mmm, we had our Thanksgiving on Saturday to but on Thursday we went to Sping Buvette in hopes the chef might’ve put something Thanksgiving-y on the menu and there was (although I think this was purely by chance) – a pumpkin salad. But on Saturday I made cornbread with lots of cheese (does that count as savory cake???). Oh, and I get tortillas interofficed to me from NYC and I also don’t share.

    • Joy

    That is a great recipe. I might have to use this for christmas gifts this year.

    • melissa

    yeah I’m not sure how many people eat cake for breakfast. Leftover Thanksgiving pumpkin pie for breakfast, however, is TOTALLY acceptable.

    I have found myself making le cake more often these days but I’d never thought of making a savory version. I’ll have to look into that. Everything is better with a little cheese thrown in.

    • Jennifer

    Would also recommend frying the turkey – certainly better than any oven-roasted turkey I’ve ever had – no gravy necessary.

    • Elena

    Thank you so much, David! You are always such an inspiration!

    • Joan Bedard

    Thanks for the tempting cake recipe. Is it just me or does the Banana Bread recipe in the links go to the French Apple Cake recipe twice?

    Link fixed! -dl

    • Claudia

    After a lovely American Thanksgiving, this post warmed the cockles of my soul. And when I can, of course I eat cake for breakfast. Thought everyone did. Happy week after Thanksgiving. Happy Hannukah, Happy Wdnesday Eve.

    • Cooking in Mexico

    What a unique recipe — a fruit and nut bread without sugar. Please don’t tell us you accidently omitted the sugar in a forthcoming correction. It looks wonderful just the way it is. This recipe will fit in perfectly with my penchant for whole wheat baking. Perfect for the holidays. Merci!


    • jennifer

    YUM! I love this kind of cake/bread…and now I can use my newly gifted Kitchen Aid to make it.
    I also love that egg holder you took a picture of! So cool.Thanks for sharing!

    • Bar

    Would you tell us where you purchased the lovely cups and saucers/ plates in the photo? They are wonderful!

    • The Food Hound

    I love hearing about how holidays are celebrated (or not :) in other parts of the world! The “kek” looks amazing, and it might be part of my upcoming annual Gluhwein fest! Something savory to help absorb the wine :)

    • NYC Girl

    hahah I get that question often…a Permanent expat in Tokyo, I always get asked, what are they doing for “thanksgiving” I usually take two days off a year to celebrate it… but I would switch with you any day, to come to France and spend time with my other half of my family than be here in Japan.

    Having said that… I’m swooning over your fruit pound cake…

    • S Lloyd

    Indeed, more cake than bread. Still delicious though (especially with a nice cup of tea)

    • Patricia Kessler

    Congratulations for making it to the Washington Posts list of best cook books of the year printed in the food section today! This will be on the list of gifts to buy!

    • Hannah

    Those are absolutely some of my favouriterest flavours ever, right there. I’m currently visiting my brother in another city but shall be makign this recipe when I get home. Cheese! With apricots and almonds! Hurrah!

    • Annie Ozsarac

    I hear you with the pangs of the homeland around Thanksgiving. I live in Istanbul, where we can get pretty tasty and fresh turkeys! My question is about the pumpkin/squash picture in this post. They are called bal kabagi here (honey pumpkin), do you know what they are called in English? They are a beast to process when bought whole and fresh…

    • Phyllis Kirigin

    I don’t know how many Americans still hold uppermost in their Thanksgiving celebration that joint feast between the pilgrims and Native Americans so many years ago, but rather a family get-together where everyone can cook, eat and reminisce. Also, it’s a nonreligious holiday which gives it an even more widespread following. I think other nationalities should consider adopting it.

    • Jennifer

    …and I thought you’d forgotten about Thanksgiving this year. I always do Thanksgiving here in Poland and have trained my kids and assorted hangerson to crave bread stuffing, turkey and all the fixings, but most of all pumpkin pie. They are all hooked. It was a bit rough in the early 1990s since no fresh pumpkin was then available. There was, however, pickled pumpkin galore (enjoyed, dubiously, as a vodka chaser). No matter how much one soaks and rinses pickled pumpkin, no matter how much sugar one adds, it always comes out pickled pumpkin pie. But in the last few years, real pumpkins have become available and they cook up into lovely pies. No canned stuff for this girl!! Oh, and after years of pickled pumpkin pie, my lovelies are more than ecstatic to get the real thing. How do the French react to this, I assume, most American treat?

    • Maria

    I love savory cake. I love Comté and apricots and almonds. This is definitely happening. I bet it tastes great with vin chaud.
    When I ordered my turkey from the butcher, he said, “Oh yes, it’s Christmas for you now, isn’t it?” I thought that was kind of sweet. And when I picked it up from him, he and his wife pleaded with me to cook the turkey at low heat: “Tous doux, Madame!” I still managed to overcook it, but that’s my own problem. Next year, he’s going to cook it for me.
    And I had a friend pick up canned pumpkin at the Thanksgiving store for the bargain basement price of 3.50 a can! I think it’s fresh pumpkin for me from now on.

    • Skippy

    I think I must have eaten cake for breakfast sometime…However, I know I’ve eaten ice cream for breakfast. More than a few times. It was summer. It was hot.It seemed like a good idea.

    • Blithe

    When I taught at an American university, students would always ask me if we celebrated Thanksgiving in Australia. I would invariably say that the Pilgrims would have been seriously off-course had they landed in Australia. Typically I got blank looks when I said this. So perhaps all those primary school pageants and history lessons hadn’t stuck in their minds.

    On the subject of cultural differences — I also remember one memorable Thanksgiving being asked to bring along a side dish to a gathering. I made a lovely cauliflower and chevre gratin and was told that “We don’t eat this at Thanksgiving.” I had thought it suited the weather and occasion. I took it home and ate it with great enjoyment.

    • Linda at Pink Elephants coffee,LLC

    I realize that a chef of your stature might sniff at this, BUT, I use a cooking bag to
    make the turkey so moist that it falls off the carcass. And it does so. Every time.
    Made by Reynolds. Also, the bag holds in the juices, plenty for gravy. Once one gets
    used to this method, no other way will do. No way. No how.
    I actually thought of you on Thanksgiving, and I wondered what that’s like in France.
    So, in a sense, you were “here” after all.

    • Val

    Gorgeous cake. Something I would never have thought to have done but one I am sure to try out. I also love to use the dark unsulphured dried apricots. They are so rich in flavour, it’s just a shame that they are difficult to find around my parts.

    • suedoise

    The cake is absolutely wonderful, thank you.
    I added a bit of a fine calvados and that did no harm.
    True no European celebrates what Art Buchwald called
    “Jour de Merci Donnant”.
    We have advent and how.
    It is the glorious season for Sicilian patisserie in Paris as there is no more marvellous “crèche” than the Sicilian at the Saint Sulpice church (as of the Da Vinci Code).
    This advent there is another Sicilian marvel in Paris,, a new copy shown at the Paris cinemas of Luchino Visconti´s gorgeous movie from l963, The Leopard with Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon.
    Lancaster as a rugged Sicilian prince is absolute superb ndeed beating Clark Gable´s Gone With the Wind.
    The author of the novel The Leopard – prince Giuseppe di Lampedusa
    (1896-1957) – loved patisserie with a passion. His favourite utterly simple shop in Palermo is still there AS IS HIS GHOST.
    Because a proper “cannoli” is pure heaven.

    • Barbra

    Rest assured that you are not the only person in France who eats cake for breakfast. I mean, what else is one supposed to do when one finds oneself with most of a carrot cake sitting on the counter? Look at it?

    As for Thanksgiving leftovers, it was always cold stuffing that was prized in my family, consumed as a sandwich, I think, which is very, very strange. And maybe a slice of frozen cherry “salad”, whose main ingredient was Cool Whip. Yep.

    • Gavrielle

    Stephanie: in New Zealand, we call that a crown pumpkin. It’s the most common pumpkin here (we don’t have orange ones, which I gather are for display rather than eating, as we don’t celebrate Halloween). The skin is actually grey rather than green. They make great soup.

    • cindy

    The Thanksgiving post was wonderful! I laughed out loud at some points. (If you weren’t being amusing, please accept my apologies….but I’m still gonna laugh!) I have realized that every family in the US has some Thanksgiving dishes that appear every year on the table whether or not anyone even likes them! I cannot imagine explaining marshmallows on sweet potatoes to the French! (My own family tops the potatoes with brown sugar and pecans….far more gourmet than marshmallows. It also allows us to save the marshmallows for the omnipresent Five Cup Salad…sour cream, mandarin oranges, pineapple, coconut and marshmallows! And, yes, I am from the midwest.)

    • Hillary Davis

    I so enjoyed this article. The photography was magnificent and the cake recipe is definitely next on my list to make. You make my world a more beautiful place, David, and I thank you.

    • bunkycooks

    This bread appears to have a different and very rich texture (eggs and cheese perhaps?). I am going to have to bake a loaf of this over the weekend! It looks perfect for snacking while having guests.

    I also enjoyed your story about the Thanksgiving holiday and the difference of how it is spent in France. Seems like you made an awfully good time out of it with great food, wine, Calvados and friends!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    bunkycooks: The eggs in France have yolks that are extremely orange, and the butter is generally more yellow than butter in the states.

    cindy: That 5 cup salad doesn’t sound like something I should try making in Paris…but I like the idea of a five-ingredient recipe!

    Blithe: Ha–will have to remember that line about the off-course Pilgrims. It is interesting how folks might think another culture would celebrate their holidays. But I think I’ve been able to convince a few folks here of the merits of Thanksgiving–mostly based on the copious amounts of food, and wine.

    Bar: Everything in the photos is from Susan’s kitchen, On Rue Tatin.

    Patricia: Merci~It was nice of the Washington Post to give my book such a nice write-up.

    • Scarletta

    Gorgeous and festive. I love the combination of sweet and savory in this recipe.

    Cheers and Happy belated Thanksgiving!

    • Garima

    Saw it. Made it. Loved it!

    • Nicole

    That spit roasted turkey sounds amazing. I am accustomed to Thanksgiving abroad (even had one in Iraq, ate my pecan pie in a bomb shelter during a raid!) and I do like having my own holiday….This year in Rome, I lugged a 6kg fresh turkey uphill from my butcher’s – in a bag on my shoulder, pushing a 11 kg baby in a 10 kg stroller, secretly laughing to myself at what was in the bag!!! What fun!

    • Val

    I can’t wait to make this–I love making (and eating!) desserts but I feel better when making a savory dish like this. Would you happen to know of any good combinations for a kek with prunes?

    • Julie

    As always, David, your pictures always make hungry ;)

    I didn’t notice anyone suggest making a juicy turkey with water at the bottom of the roasting pan. It’s my mum’s tip and it always turns out moist and full of flavour =)

    • Josie

    Sounds yummy and your pictures are wonderful.

    • statgirl

    We were in Mexico City for Thanksgiving, and we also had quesadillas for appetizers!

    Incidentally, whenever we go to Mexico for Thanksgiving, all the Mexican friends tell us how much they love the holiday — it’s not just about food, but about spending time with friends and family and remembering to be thankful for all the blessings in our lives. What could be better than that? It makes me glad to be an American, that I can have a whole day (well, a whole 4-day weekend) set aside for nothing but food, friends, family, and thankfulness.

    • Lien

    The cake looks sooooo yummy! Thanks David, for sharing the recipe. It’s perfect for my dry Blenheim apricots that have been sitting the frig :-)

    • Leelee

    Eat cake for breakfast? It’s a Thanksgiving tradition in my family. This year, the big hit was your East West (Fresh) Ginger Cake – especially by my 13 year old, followed by that French Apple Cake of a few weeks ago. Pumpkin pie works too in a pinch. There’s just too much goodness on Thanksgiving day to enjoy everything to the max.

    • Carolyn Z

    My grandma on my Mom’s side used to cook the green pumpkin pieces in a soy-based sauce. We call them kabocha and they are from Japan. They are lovely baked too.

    • Judith

    We had turkey confit for Thanksgiving here in California. We first discovered it in a small restaurant near our house in Provence, so it was the French who introduced us to dinde confit.

    • Alicia

    This looks so amazing… so original, and perfect for this time of year!

    • Velops

    It’s funny that you mentioned Korea. Koreans celebrate Chuseok, a harvest festival which has similarities with Thanksgiving. I wonder why France doesn’t have any kind of harvest festival since it has strong agricultural roots.

    I get a kick out of the debates on how to prepare a turkey. For me, the real hero of Thanksgiving is the stuffing. It is one of those dishes people crave and personalize to their taste.

    • Elana Iaciofano

    Wonderful thanksgiving post. And I an very excited about Le Cake…and REALLY excited about that version with chorizo that you mentioned.

    • cara_mia

    I had apple crostata for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. :) I think Bill Cosby’s kids would approve of your having had cake. ;)

    I asked my friend in London if they celebrate a Thanksgiving – not on the same day as ours, that’s our own wacky commercialism date. But it’s not such an off base question – the Pilgrims brought the celebration/tradition of a day of thanks with them, so it’s not so unreasonable to think that the Brits celebrate it or brought it other places. (They celebrated it in Jamestown first, and those settlers were not Pilgrims. But it’s not PC to continue a celebration started by settlers who owned slaves.) But I recently learned that they would have celebrated with a fast, not a feast. It was the Native Americans who brought the feasting to the day – I am so thankful for that!

    • aurumgirl

    I know people would bristle at the idea of eating cake for breakfast, but honestly, when you consider the sugar levels of any boxed cereal on the market (and the fact that the actual box contains more nutrients than the cereal itself), cake sounds like the better choice! At least you’d get some egg protein in there, and some nuts and fruit.
    And this cake has no sugar in it! I love the idea of a cake with savoury ingredients to eat with wine instead of as a dessert. I will make some up to take to all the Christmas open houses coming up.

    As for me, Nutella for breakfast was what I grew up with–but I think every kid has a “tartine” of some kind in the morning, it’s pretty much the norm if you’ve got bread around. Toast and jam, PB and J, Nutella (often with peanut butter too).

    • Katherine @ Dexter & Dinah

    My new obsession is to find recipes that combine a little bit of sweet and savory. For example, my stuffing this year was Cooking Light’s Wild Rice Dressing, which combines wild rice with roasted chestnuts, vegetables sauteed in butter, and reconstituted cranberries. It was delicious. Can’t wait to try this tasty-sounding “cake”!

    • Charlene E.

    Hi David! Sounds like an interesting recipe! Funny post, people from other countries probably don’t understand how Americans get all worked up about Thanksgiving! Wish I could have been a guest at your expat celebration! I will wish you Happy Holidays here and hope one day I can do another tour….
    X All the best, from Charlene

    • Elaine

    Bread? I told my daughter it was cake – she loved it! Didn’t want to spend the big $$ for the dried apricots, so substituted cranberries – beautiful and delicous, too. BTW, the new owners of Heath Ceramics have enrolled their child in my daughter’s school – if you’d like me to track down your plate, just let me know – from Mill Valley, CA.

    • Magic of Spice

    I love all of these photos… What a delightful cake/bread, lovely recipe :)

    • Elana

    Can’t wait to make this into a gluten free version –it looks incredible. Thanks for your fabulous recipes!

    • bianca

    That bread sounds absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try the recipe. I am glad to hear that you are keeping the Thanksgiving tradition alive in Paris, how lovely!

    Thank you.

    • haapi

    There is a great alternative to those overpriced cans of imported American pumpkin puree. I buy bags of plain pureed pumpkin and/or sweet potatoes at Picard for about 2 euros and they work just as well.


    • John

    I love that you include the weight of flour instead of measuring it in cups. But I must admit, that 200 grams of flour usually equals about 1 2/3c of all purpose flour here in the states. I can be wrong, but I think 120g per cup is standard. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve always had a difficult time measuring flour by cup method, and prefer to weight it, so converting cup to weight measurement has never been successful.


    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Those are the metric measurements that Susan used in her book & when she made the cakes, they turned out as shown. When I weight flour mine measures in at 1 cup = 140 grams.

    • Sandy Schopbach

    The only one to eat cake for breakfast? WRONG! It’s one of my favorites when I have it on hand.
    Although I’m usually back in the States for Thanksgiving now, my French friends all miss my Thanksgiving dinners (on the week-end, as you pointed out). There were often 30 of us around the table, which was always the living room door, taken off its hinges and placed between two other tables. View out over the Sacré-Coeur. Many, MANY different nationalities from most all the continents. And a turkey roasted in a professional oven at the pâtisserie downstairs. All my pâtissier friend asked in return was “le croupion”, the Pope’s nose.

    • emiglia

    It’s so interesting to read about another Parisian-American blogger’s Thanksgiving celebration. Thanks for sharing!

    • des

    hi, that cake looks delicious!!! But what size loaf pan? (It looks kinda long and skinny, not like a 9×5 or 8×4 – am I mistaken)?

    • des

    i apologize. you did write one nine inch loaf. my bad!

    thanks for the recipe, hope to try it!

    • Ginger

    OK, it has taken me a little while, but ever since you posted this recipe, it’s been on my list. All the ingredients in the cupboard, just waiting! Well, today is the day and the cake is in the oven! Can’t wait for it to be ready and cooled! Thanks for sharing.

    • sonia

    does this cake taste too eggy? i like eggs, but not where they overpower something like this…please, anyone? TIA

    • Monica

    Baked this loaf today…have been wanting to since the beginning of September….omg….so good….cheesy, buttery, lemony, just the right amount of savory…will make again and perhaps substitute dried figs for the apricots.

    • Tina

    I love breads but too sad I never made our own in the house. Maybe if I am more confident to bake I will try this recipe. It looks so easy to make and you just given me the hint to buy some of those equipment and utensils for baking. My dream actually, is to make my kids their own cake on their birthdays. I think that would be amazing.


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