Delicious cake au beurre

October 4th, 2012 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Recipes

In the world of French language the word “cake” doesn’t refer to your typical kind of layered cream cake, but rather to a pound cake.

The quatre quarts cake, absolute epicenter of the French cake culture is what you learn to bake when you grow up along ironing and sewing (yes! I did sew some fairly stunning pair of pants… with a leg shorter than the other, I admit!). The 4/4 refers to equal part of eggs, flour, sugar and butter. If you just do that, you’ll end up with a very normal pound cake. Many people uses it as a base and add fruits, jam or baking powder to have it a bit less dense. Then, variations are endless and every family claims to hold the best “everything” cake. The good thing is that when you visit any family where the tradition is still anchored, you’ll always end up eating cake!

Here is a recipe you should try that is not quite like your traditional quatre quarts!

You will need:

  • 100 gm Melted Butter
  • 210 gm White Sugar
  • 140 ml Cream (35% fat)
  • 3 gm Baking Powder
  • 170 gm Cake Flour
  • One very large egg
  • One grated vanilla bean
  • A generous pinch of salt

And this is how you do it:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a kitchen mixer (the blade type) until you obtain a smooth mixture
  2. Apply melted butter in a rectangle mold and cover the butter with flour; shake the excess flour
  3. Fill the mould to 3/4 of the height
  4. Pipe a thin line of soft butter on the whole length of the cake (this will make it open at baking)
  5. For a cake of 700 gm (the above recipe) bake it at 165C for 10 minutes and a further 70 minutes at 145C
  6. Once baked, allow to cool a little and take out of the mold; cool on a wire rack

And if you want to make it marbled or chocolate flavor, just replace 8 to 10% of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder. Personally, I am a great believer in leaving it to sit in the kitchen for a day before indulging, of course, that is given you can hold yourself for that long!

Update: After posting, I was actually wondering if it was really popular to add so much cream in a butter cake recipe and I came across this: It’s in French, but basically, it’s more or less the same concept with apples added – I am sure it’s delicious too! 


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25 Responses

  • Like I could leave this sitting in the kitchen for a day. I might but it would have fork marks in it. :) Looks delicious.

  • Alan (travellingfoodies) says:

    nice! could never resist a good pound cake! i’m curious about melanging all the ingredients at one go like that. Would that work up the gluten significantly causing the cake to harden after baking? Would it make a difference to rest the batter for a while before baking?

    I like both your zebra version alternating cocoa(?) and butter batter as well as the apple version in the link you’d shared! will definitely try them both soon!

    • I think you’re technically right, however, I believe that by using a lower protein flour and by not mixing it for too long, the gluten will not affect too much the texture, after all, there is an hefty amount of liquid cream in there! We do it as such every other day and it’s pretty good! Yes, the zebra pattern is made from cocoa batter, same recipe, but replaced 10% of the flour by cocoa – works a treat! :)

  • simon says:

    Hi Greg! How’s it going? Was the first recipe (100g butter) no good? Just wondering :)
    I really like cake recipes with cream in them btw.

  • misty says:

    Hi Greg, I recently discovered your blog via Azelia’s blog. I have already tried your scone recipe and look forward to trying this cake recipe. I wondered if you would share how you create the wave affect in your marble cake??

    Many Thanks

    • Thank you Misty! :)

      We create the marble effect by layering the plain and the chocolate dough using piping bags. We lay the plain dough in the tin and then pipe lines of the chocolate dough and after the tin is full, we use a long wooden skewer that we use to mix a very little bit the lines. I know it’s hard to understand with my words (and poor English skills) – and I will try to film it and post it to make it easier to understand. I will do it ASAP! :)

      • misty says:

        Thanks for your reply greg,
        I look forward to the video, I’m excited to try this technique.

      • Dorothy Rackley says:

        Hi Greg –
        Have you been able to film the video yet of the marble pound cake? I want to that technique for the Chocolate Marble Pound Cake in my bakery. A video would really help.
        Thank you,
        Dorothy Rackley
        The Stonehouse Bakery
        Logan, UT 84321

        • Hello Dorothy – So sorry I haven’t done so yet! :(

          I left my job at the hotel to start my won business a month ago and things have been crazy! I know I owe you that movie! It’s on my to do list!

          • Dorothy says:

            I know that crazy feeling! I look forward to your video whenever you come up for air.
            Did you start your own bakery? What is it?
            Good luck!

          • Yes! Started a bakery for wholesale first – we have a few stockist points in town for retail to public and later we plan on having our own shops! It’s an enormous task, but I’m loving every minute of it! :)

  • Henry Chow says:

    I noticed that a lot of French recipes for pound/butter cakes do not call for creaming the butter, but insteaded uses melted butter and cream and has a low proportion of egg. I also read that cream adds a velvety texture to cakes (Shirley Corriher) – must be true from the look of your cake!

    • Fair point, many recipes for pound cake don’t use cream, in general the good old quatre quarts relies on butter, but often ends up fairly dry… cream, with its higher amount of water and its oozing fat makes the cake, indeed, more velvety! :)

  • Tony says:

    HI Greg, thanks for sharing.
    Just to know if the 100gm of melted butter should be applied only to the mold or the one u use to “non stick” the mold with the flour its an extra part.

  • Tasos says:

    Hi Greg, thanks for sharing. I am a pastry chef from Greece. I have tried this cake recipe word by word and i have to say that it’s delicious and the inside texture is very good but in my case the top detaches from the rest of the cake. I wondered if you can share a way to prevent this from happening?

    Many Thanks from Greece.

    • Hi Tasos! Thanks for your kind words. I’ve never seen the top of the cake detaching from the rest, it’s strange. After greasing the molds and scaling the dough in them, you can try to keep it in the fridge overnight before baking. Aging the dough gave us better results, but not sure why :)

  • Risa says:

    Hi, I was just wondering what is the size of your rectangular pan? I used a regular loaf pan but it only fills half resulting in a crispy sides and a cake that is too short.

  • Fia says:

    Hi chef ! This looks absolutely yum ! I noticed that this cake is so glossy, did you brush it with butter after baked ? Can’t wait to try it . Thx :)

    • greg says:

      Hello Fia :) Thanks a lot for your kind words!
      We actually brushed the baked cake with a very thin layer of hot apricot jam (more like a jelly). Once the jam cools, it sets perfectly shiny on the cake giving it that little edge and keeping the moisture trapped inside the cake, so it stays fresh longer too.
      Happy baking! :)

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