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Quatre-Quarts - French version of a Pound Cake

Recently I have just discovered that the French version of a Pound cake is called Quatre-Quarts which means four-fourth. It's a traditional and popular cake of the French region of Britanny and as its name implies use the same quantity of the 4 ingredients.

There are many version of making a quatre-quarts ... from my significant other's simple home recipe to a more complicated one. So what's the big difference between the two of them ?

A Simple Quatre-Quarts (Pierre's recipe)

Preparation : 10 minutes
Baking : 1 hour
Makes : 1

Ingredients
  • Weight 4 eggs
  • Same weight for plain Flour, sugar and melted butter (salted)
  • 1 packet of baking powder (11 gram)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350 F)
  2. Lightly greased and flour one 9 inch round cake pan.
  3. Put all ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Stir till combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  6. Bake at 175°C (350°F) for 55 - 60 mins or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Then remove cake from its pan and let cool on a wire rack.

NOTE :

For a more raised and spongy textured quatre-quarts, use 1/3 corn flour and 2/3 plain flour

Quatre-quarts

(taken from Le Grand Livre des Desserts - Fior Editions)

Preparation : 25 minutes
Baking : 1 hour
Makes : 1

Ingredients
  • 250 g Butter, softened (salted)
  • 250 g Sugar
  • 2 tsp Lemon zests (chopped)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 250 g Self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 40 ml Milk
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F)
  2. Lightly greased and flour one 9 inch round cake pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in lemon zests and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Use a spoon and stir in sifted flour and baking powder alternately with milk. Alternate flour and milk in 2 or 3 batches. Mix till well blended.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth out batter surface. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes before removing cake and letting it cool on a wire rack.
pound cake Creamed butter & sugarquatre-quarts
Conclusion

It's hard to decide which version I like better. The simple home recipe has a more dense texture and great butter flavour which is delicious with a cup of tea whereas the book recipe has more of a lemon flavour than butter. Even without adding the lemon zests, the aroma of the butter is not as intense as the home recipe. But it has a lighter cake texture.

quatre-quarts pound cake

The book recipe can be adapted to different versions.

  • Quatre-Quarts à l'orange (Orange Quartre-Quarts) Add 2 tbsp Orange zests (grated) to butter mixture and replace milk with 40 ml orange juice.
  • Quatre-Quarts à la noix de coco (Coconut Quartre-Quarts) Add 90 g Coconut (grated) into the mixture before mixing in flour and milk.
  • Quatre-Quarts aux noisettes (Hazelnut Quartre-Quarts) Mix 125 g Chopped Hazelnut before stirring in flour and dissolve 2 tsp Instant Coffee (powder) in the milk.
10 comments.
#1, by Marti (06/08/2007)

I like the milkless version better, it puts forward the butter flavor better. Plus it's quicker and easier to make:-)

#2, by Pamela (06/08/2007)

Yes the simple version is a time saver if one doesn't have a lot of time to spare and the result is the same if not better.

#3, by marye (06/09/2007)

I love this with a little bit of lemon curd and a dollop of devonshire or creme fraiche...
thanks for commenting at my blog!

#4, by wokandspoon (06/10/2007)

Hello! Thx for stopping by my blog! I like both versions of your cake - they both look calorie-ladden! Though I'd probably go for the first version as I'm not too keen on lemon in cakes!

#5, by MeltingWok (06/10/2007)

Hi there:-) Thanks for dropping by my blog:-) Love that second recipe, like a classic formula to a perfect butter pound cake : one pound butter, one pound flour, one pound sugar, and one pound eggs hehe:-) With the milk, surely this would add a great buttery taste to the cake, yums:-) And the lemon zest, ah..refreshing !:)
P/S : With the first version, you might like to substitute regular flour with cake flour, you'll get that light, fluffy tender crumb texture. Overall, adding more sugar than regular flour is great. Less gluten leads to a really moist cake. Also, too many eggs can make the cake dry and hard too.

#6, by The Cooking Ninja (06/11/2007)

Thanks marye, wokandspoon and MeltingWork for visiting my site.:-)
The French sometimes take their quatre-quarts with jams.
Yes, this cake is very calorie-ladden:-) ... definitely not for dieters.
Thanks for the great tips MeltingWok.

#7, by kazar (04/11/2010)

Hello, is it possible to make a quarte-quart cake as a coffee cake, has anyone tried it?...with the topping???

#8, by kazar (04/11/2010)

Another question..i have read that some use melted butter some just cream sugar and butter, what would be the difference and the outcome of each way of doing it?

#9, by kazar (04/12/2010)

Another question..i have read that some use melted butter some just cream sugar and butter, what would be the difference and the outcome of each way of doing it?

#10, by The Cooking Ninja (04/13/2010)

@kazar: I have not tried to make quarte-quart into a coffee cake but I did made it into a 2 layered cake with frosting once. My husband made his with melted butter - just add everything in and stir till combined. I find creamed version a bit lighter while the other version is denser but my husband didn't find any difference in either version. He prefers the simple version as it has more buttery flavour.