Un Pique-Nique Francais (French Picnic with Bacon, Fig & Walnut Cake)

I love the way the French do picnics – they just rock up with a basket, plonk it on a table or on the grass and produce from within it some bread, cheese and wine. Et voila! Lunch is served!

Do not be mistaken into thinking that this simplistic approach somehow equates to a dull, boring meal. Mais non! It is in fact rather wonderful and contains all the elements to put a big happy smile on your face.

So I started to think about picnics from this rather unfussy French mindset and I agree that a picnic should not be something that has taken you a long time to prepare. I also don’t like hauling great bulging bags full of Tupperware about with me, I want food that is portable and once consumed can be cleared away quickly and without fuss.

So I decided to knock up something that the French call ‘Cake’ but is actually sort of like a savoury loaf of bread….sort of thing. I might not be explaining this very well but trust me when I say no matter what you call it, it’s really very good!

Savory Cake with Lardons, Figs & Walnuts

I took inspiration from the French recipe magazine ‘Gourmand’ where they did a special edition all about these cakes with many versions and ingredients. I decided to use bacon lardons, figs and walnuts in my cake which I felt would compliment chunks of cheese and of course, red wine!

This cake doesn’t really need anything else. It doesn’t need butter or any sort of topping. It is hugely moreish and light. Quick and easy to make and transport, it’s just splendid picnic food that will definitely satisfy and impress.

So, start thinking French and get your Pique-Nique on!

Cake aux Lardons, Figues et Noix (Savory Cake with Bacon, Figs & Walnuts)

(Serves 4-6)


100g smoked bacon bits/lardons
3 eggs
100ml milk
150g plain flour
1 sachet of quick yeast (sachet de levure)
50g dried figs, chopped
50g walnuts, chopped
100ml sunflower oil

Pre-heat your oven to 180C. In a small frying pan, fry up your bacon bits until cooked through and golden. Reserve them on some kitchen towel to drain off excess fat.

Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk them a little with a fork. Then add the flour, the yeast sachet, the oil and the milk and stir to combine. Then add in your bacon bits and chopped figs and walnuts and stir again. Season.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour in your cake mix.

Savory Cake with Bacon, Figs & Walnuts uncooked

Cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Check it is cooked through by testing with a skewer. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked.

Let the cake cool on a rack and then slice and serve.

Savory Cake with Lardons, Figs & Walnuts

I am very happy to enter my first recipe into Four Seasons Food, the new kid on the blogging challenge block hosted by myself and the lovely Louisa from Chez Foti. (Despite entering this recipe, I am not eligible to win the prize for this month)

Four Seasons Food

Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Chezfoti

I am also entering this little cake loaf into this months Credit Crunch Munch as one of these little beauties is really all you need for a lovely Picnic lunch so it’s therefore very good value! Hosted by myself this month, created by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All.

Credit Crunch Munch logo

And finally, I am entering this cake into Panissimo, a wonderful yeast based bread challenge co-hosted by Barbara from Bread & Companatico (this month) and Sandra from Indovina Chi Viene a Cena?

Panissimo Badge

34 thoughts on “Un Pique-Nique Francais (French Picnic with Bacon, Fig & Walnut Cake)”

  1. Wow what an easy bread, sorry cake, recipe this is! And I’m so loving your flavour combination of lardons, figs and walnuts – it has to be good! A couple of large lumps of fine cheese and a bottle of vin blanc this has to be The Perfect Picnic, and a very worthy entry to our new challenge! Well done you.

    1. Bread…cake…loaf…who knows or cares! It tastes great and was easy to make. Thats all I need to know! Thank you very much Lou! Now where’s your entry! xxx

  2. I love the combination – sounds like perfect picnic food. What I like about these cakes is that you can shove everything in and don’t have to bother faffing about with sandwiches etc…

  3. What a wonderful picnic! Your walnut cake looks delicious and simple to make. I can’t wait to give it a try. This is so easy to pack up for picnic too. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you Amy. I am glad you like it. It’s as easy and tasty as it looks. The lovely nuggets of walnut and the slight crunch of the fig seeds with the salty bacon… I defy you to stop at just one slice! I certainly couldn’t!

    1. Hi Mimi. Yes it is a bit funny. The yeast doesn’t seem to make it rise all that much either but I guess it keeps it airy and light. Whatever it does, it works! Thanks for stopping by x

    1. I love that word – pique-nique! Has a lovely ring to it. I think you can throw whatever you like into one of these little cakes. But yes, these 3 things work so well and taste great! x

  4. Ahh, I can imagine this ‘cake’ with some white wine, fresh fruit and a small ‘tarte aux fraises.’ Can anyone join these competitions that you run, or do you have to be located in Europe or France somewhere? Maybe I should get off my duff and join one!

    1. Yes, anyone can join these competitions! They are really a lot of fun and a great way to meet other bloggers and get your recipes seen by a wider audience. Please do come and get involved. I have no doubt that an entry from you would be completely wonderful 🙂 x

  5. LOVELY! I DO love a GOOD French Cake, as in savoury cake, and I make two regularly for nibbles at parties as well as the Pique Nique, a cheese and olive one and a ham and cheese one with walnuts! Great post and recipe Anneli, Karen

    1. Ah, thanks Karen! I knew you would be an old hand at these savoury French cakes. They are so versatile in terms of what you can throw in them! Yes, I think it would work very well as a sliced nibble also or as part of a buffet spread. Glad you like it xx

  6. Hi Anneli, on a side-note, I hate the way French people say “cake”, or “cake-euh”. It’s like they’re judging me for being British and saying “aha, we took your cake-euh, transformed it and now it is tasty because it is French, hein?”

    Rage aside – I’m in two minds about picnics – I do like having variety different colours/textures when I’m eating al fresco but on the other hand, it’s annoying to spend so long at home preparing it, and even more annoying when you have to come home and wash up all the dishes and pots! (I quite like taking Shooter’s Sandwiches on picnics for this reason now!)

    Anyway though – I like the look of your cake a lot. I do like the French “cake”, and it would make a very welcome addition to any picnic – elaborate or simple!

    1. Lol Charles! I shall have to listen out for the ‘cake-euh’….:) I know what you mean about picnics though. I do enjoy them but I like a tidy picnic. I am definitely not a fan of beach picnics where sand gets in your food. And I don’t really understand the way the French stop by the side of a main road and eat. Surely the point is to find somewhere nice?? And again, I agree that you don’t want to spend ages making the food or clearing it up. This cake solves those last 2 issues though so now I just need to find the perfect, tidy, wasp free spot! x

  7. This looks so delicious and just my sort of recipe, not too elaborate to make and using bits of bacon (loving the fact that we still have lots of ‘pancetta’ etc from the pigs we reared last year) plus no need for butter. Bet it’s so yummy with red wine and goats cheese. Lovely post.

    1. Thanks Andrea! How wonderful to have your own pancetta! I have always fancied that (but kind of different). Here you can buy a half or a whole pig at the butchers and he will do with it as you like. Our neighbours had done this when we went for dinner and they served us delicious saucisson which was made from their pig. But doing it that way means you don’t get the fun of actually looking after the pigs I guess.. But it could be a compromise for us. Anyway, I ramble on. Thanks for your lovely comment x

    1. Yes Laura, you are right…many slices go down ever so easily with this cake! Don’t take too many people with you on your picnic and then you won’t have to share it so much! 🙂

  8. I’m with you on those savoury cakes (and I’ll definitely try this one). So much nicer than the standard sweet French ‘cake’. I’m looking forward to our regular Sunday picnic with our walking group. Someone’ll produce an apero, someone else home-cured sausage. There’ll be at least a couple of different home made cakes or biscuits. Wine. Grandad’s special hooch, served on a sugar lump. It’s a wonder we can ever get moving again…. though as well that we do after that little lot.

    1. Thanks Margaret! I am sure you deserve all those delicious treats after walking hard to work up an appetite! Grandad’s hooch sounds very interesting – is that code for Armagnac? Do let me know if you try this cake and what your walking friends think of it.

  9. I love it! thank you so much for participating to panissimo with this savory bread filled with good stuff! I was also aiming toparticipate to credit crunch munch but June has not been nice tome.so good is July already (panissimo roundup will be going soon). ciao and looking forward to your next breads!

    1. Thank you! Glad you like it. This bread/cake was so simple and quick….it’s definitely my type of bread! I do hope you manage to find the time to enter in to Credit Crunch Munch in July. But Summer can be such a crazy busy time of year….I know what you mean!

  10. Anneli,
    You know how much I love figs, and these savory “cakes” are my favorite.
    I made a goat cheese fig pistachio cake from Rachel Khoo last year, and it was so good.

    xo Stacey

    1. I do indeed know you love figs – as do I!! Our fig tree is taking over the entire garden so I know I am in for another bumper crop this year. Get ready for the fig glut recipes 🙂 That Rachel Khoo cake sounds wonderful….these cakes are just so addictive! x

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