Quatre-quarts or four quarters is a familiar classic French dessert made with only four ingredients, each of equal weight.

This traditional recipe is from Brittany, the land of French butter.

quatre-quarts

Starting with the egg weight will allow you to determine how much of the other ingredients you will need.

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That is the simple formula for the ingredients for this pound cake.

To make matters more accessible, I have transferred into cup measurements for you.

However, by remembering that all four ingredients’ simple tip is the same weight, you will never need this recipe again.

I was introduced to this beautiful dessert at the tender age of 10-11 and have been making it since. Easy to prepare, as you can see from the quick instructions.

One thing is sure, and the result is always the same: perfection.

In this Article

Why is it called a pound cake recipe?

This cake gets its name due to how the ingredients can be measured: a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs, a pound of flour, and a pound of butter.

This cake is quite rich as well as dense in texture.

What is the secret to a good pound cake?

The eggs and butter should be at room temperature as well. Both should be at the same temperature.

Adding cold eggs to warm butter will cause breakage of the butter and clumps to form.

I suggest leaving the eggs on the counter longer than the butter to ensure proper temperature.

And whatever you do, do not use melted butter from the microwave.

You want soft, manageable butter, not melted butter, which will not perform the same with this recipe or any recipe that requests soft butter.

French Pound Cake or Quatre Quarts - Easy & Delicious

Baking tips and step-by-step instructions

As with any recipe, prepare your ingredients before you start baking.

Preheat the oven as you want it hot and ready to bake your cake as soon as you finish the recipe.

  • Beat the egg white to soft peaks with your electric mixer. The peaks should stay upright when you remove the beaters from the egg whites.
  • Another way to ensure that all the egg white is beaten up is to move from side to side of the bowl. By the egg whites staying still, they are beaten to perfection. In my cooking classes, I demonstrate this by turning the bowl upside down.
  • I beat the butter in my food processor for a minute to have it entirely at room temperature. Adding the sugar now, it creates beautiful cream.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat gently after each egg. You will see a beautiful emulsified cream forming.
  • Always sift the flour before adding it to this dessert and all desserts.
  • Butter the mold very well, a crucial step. I use no-stick bakery spray by Bak-klene ZT. It covers each nook and cranny of all those gorgeous molds we have in the marketplace.
  • If you do not have the no-stick spray on hand, grease your mold well with butter and add some all-purpose flour to the mold. Shake well and cover the mold well also. Your naked eye will be able to tell.
quatre-quarts

Equipment Needed

I only recommend what I use and I love.

Baking mold Nordic Ware are so much fun, I could not resist and purchased a couple.

Kitchen Aid to beat the eggs, butter and sugar

Hand-help mixer for the egg whites to soft peaks

Mixing bowl to work your egg whites

Spatula to incorporate the egg white with the butter egg-sugar mixture

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Variations

Add lemon zest and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice.

A dash of vanilla extract, or add some rum, a couple of tablespoons.

Split the quatre-quarts mixture in two and add some cacao to one of the two. Mix well. When spooning it into the mold, alternate cacao and non with a knife, and blend the two flavors slightly.

You will notice a great design once baked and ready to be sliced.

Add some chopped dates and raisins to it.

Or, just to be decadent, prepare some whipped cream and add a dollop over it with some fresh fruits that you will have marinating with brandy, rum, or any spirit of your liking.

Quatre - Quarts

How to serve it

You can bake in a rectangular mold, loaf pan or shape mold. I use Nordic Ware as they are the best for even cooking.

Use a cake stand and sprinkle over your cake powder sugar for a dramatic presentation.

Slice and serve it with mulberry jam,  fruit compote, or creme Anglaise.

Baking it into a round mold leaves you room to add fruits in the middle when ready to serve.

Very popular for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with tea.

quatre-quarts

Readers tips:

I love when our readers make our recipes and have suggestions, and I love to share them with all of you.

From Sassy B:

It’s easier to separate cold eggs than room temp eggs, then allow them to come to room temperature. 

Baking process

  • Not all ovens are the same. After 30 minutes of baking, insert a knife in the middle, and if it comes out clean, the Quatre-Quarts is done. Most noteworthy is not worrying about falling when you open the oven door. We do not use baking powder.
  • Let it rest in the mold over a cooling wire rack for 5 minutes before removing it.
  • Set on a cooling rack. The cooling rack will help the bottom cool off, and air will circulate underneath it.
French Pound Cake or Quatre Quarts - Easy & Delicious

Products and Equipment used to achieve this dessert.


Quatre-Quarts

5 from 15 votes
quatre-quarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Quatre-quarts or four quarters is a familiar classic French dessert made with only four ingredients, each of equal weight.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar,
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup flour,
  • pinch of salt , optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. butter a 9×5 loaf mold or round mold and coat lightly with flour, or use a no-stick bakery spray.
  • Soften the butter in a bowl until it becomes creamier. Add the sugar 2 to 3 times and whisk vigorously until a nice cream is created.
  • Separate the egg yolk from the white. Add the egg yolks to the butter-sugar mixture. Incorporate the sifted flour.
  • In another bowl beat at full speed the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Once soft peaks are formed and no more white liquid is in your bowl from the egg white, Incorporate the egg whites into the egg flour mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the mold and bake for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven.
    Verify that it is ready by inserting a knife in the middle.
    Remove from the oven and wait 5 minutes prior to removing from the mold.

Nutrition

Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 1064IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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