While thinking about easy french recipes I could tell you more about, the Quatre-Quarts (literally four quarters) popped up. Very appreciated in Brittany, it is nothing else that what you usually call a Pound Cake. Nothing new, the quatre-quarts is baked with 4 ingredients used in same proportion as its name implies: sugar, eggs, butter, flour. No yeast, no baking powder. Of course, there is a certain process to mix all the ingredients in order to make this cake edible. Otherwise, your stomach would surely feel the whole pound’s weight! I couldn’t help myself to update the recipe with the seeds of a vanilla bean in the batter and lemon icing on the top. There are a small improvements, but they really make the difference.
We traditionally bake the quatre-quarts in a kind of loaf pan, except it is a thiner and longer one. Here, I grab the occasion to inaugurate the 9” bundt cake pan I bought from Nordic Ware. My first bundt pan!!! I fall totally in love with these fancy shapes. I don’t understand why we are not using them in France; it makes your cake so elegant. I am planning to start a collection. Do you have a favorite one?
Ingredients for one quatre-quarts:
- 1/2 lb butter (I prefer using the salted one but it is up to you)
- 1/2 lb caster sugar
- 1/2 lb white flour
- 5 eggs
- Optional: 1 vanilla bean
- 1 lemon juice
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- Melt the butter in a pan. With the tip of a knife, split the vanilla bean lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks with half of caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the melted butter mixing well, the flour and vanilla seeds.
- Beat the egg whites until firm with a pinch of salt, and adding the remaining caster sugar in 3 stages. You should reach a very stiff and shiny consistency. Congrats! You’ve just made a meringue. Add 1/3 of this meringue in your first mixing bowl. Mix until homogeneous. Then gently fold the remaining egg whites with a spatula until incorporated.
- Pre-heat the oven at 355°F/180°C. Butter and flour your cake pan. Pour your batter in. Bake for 40 minutes. A knife inserted should come dry.
- While your quatre-quarts is cooling, prepare the icing. In a bowl, put the powdered sugar. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and pour in with the sugar. Mix with a fork. Spread the icing right away with a pastry brush. Don’t wait to much or the icing will dry. Now enjoy your quatre-quarts!