French kids afternoon snack staple, quatre-quarts as its name means is made with 4 ingredients of equal quantity, nothing more. Simple and delicious.
Story behind French Quatre-quarts pound cake
Input on French gastronomy: This traditional recipe from Brittany is called quatre-quarts, literally “quatre” in French means four and “quart” means quarter. Thus quatre-quarts should be translated into four-fourth, not pound cake.
With this simple explanation you might have guessed what this means: the cake is baked with 4 main ingredients, proportions of each being equal = ¼ of egg, ¼ of sugar, ¼ of flour and ¼ of butter. This means you first have to weigh the eggs (once broken in a blow, thus without shell) and add the same quantity of the other three ingredients.
Ingredients of the cake
However, in order to bake quatre-quart like a real “breton” (that’s how we call French from Brittany), you have to follow the following rules. Ready for the real traditional recipe of quatre-quarts breton Pound cake from Brittany?
Salted-butter: A quatre-quarts is made with salted butter. It would be a heresy to use regular butter. However, if you are not used to salted butter, two options: either use regular butter and add 1 to 2 pinches of salt, or just your usual butter, but don’t say it too loud!
Baking powder: This cake is made without baking powder nor baking soda. To get a nice texture, not too dense, you have to separate whites and egg yolks, mix well egg yolks with sugar you get a nice fluffy white preparation, and whisk egg whites as for a chantilly.
Flavor As there is a old tradition in Brittany of sailors who have traveled the oceans and brought back all sorts of exotic products, adding rum, lemon, orange, vanilla, spices … it’s ok to feel free to add any of those you like to flavor your quatre-quarts.
Quatre-quarts Pound Cake from Brittany
- 6 eggs
- the weight of the 6 eggs in sugar
- the weight of the 6 eggs in flour
- the weight of the 6 eggs in salted butter if not unsalted butter + larger pinch of salt
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 180 °C.
- Separate egg whites and egg yolks. Weigh the egg whites and egg yolks to get the total amount of egg without shell. Then prepare the same quantity of butter, flour and sugar.
- Melt the butter and let cool a bit.
- Meanwhile, mix egg yolks and sugar until the mixture whitens. Add the melted butter and flour and mix again.
- Whisk egg whites until you get a stiff pick and gently incorporate into the preparation.
- Grease and flour a dish, preferably a loaf pan, or use a silicone mold. Pou the preparation and bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 180 °C. After 40 minutes, check if the cake is cooked by with a sharp knife. When the cake is baked, it should come out dry.