Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Quatre-quarts Cake – French Pound Cake with Chocolate

Pound Cake has become an American classic, although it is originally from Europe. It’s the first dessert I was served when I was invited to a home dinner here in America. I still remember it was served with vanilla ice cream, then whipped cream and strawberries. I thought dessert is most important in America. Since then I have eaten it countless times and in countless variations. It can be jazzed up with dried fruits, nuts, blueberries, coffee, cocoa... just about anything.
I have made pound cake both at home and for work. I often mix a small mashed/chopped banana into the batter, which makes the cake moist (but you’ll need to bake it about 10 minutes longer) and creates a great aroma in the kitchen.  However, people still ask me why it’s called “pound cake” and what is the recipe.  I found out a long time ago, because, well, you know, I am a cook... I needed to know.
Quatre-quarts means  “four fourths” or “four quarters” in French. It has four main ingredients – egg, butter, sugar and flour – in about equal amounts, originally a pound each (which makes a very large cake). That is why it’s called pound cake, which makes sense!  Using this recipe, the cake comes out soft and light, because powdered sugar is used instead of granulated sugar. It is simple but delicious, and is the perfect cake for spring!

Quatre-quarts au beurre salé et au chocolat – Pound cake with salted butter and 
chocolate chips

Recipe adapted from Cuisine et Vins, Février – Mars 2011, N°138

Makes 8-10 servings

1 loaf pan (1 ¼ quarts-5 cups)

4 oz (110 g) dark chocolate chips
4 large eggs
7 oz (200 g) salted butter at room temperature, preferably French style + 1 tablespoon for the pan
7 oz (200 g) powder/confectioners’ sugar
7 oz (200 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1.       Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease the pan with 1 tablespoon butter and dust with flour. In a medium-size mixing bowl or stand mixer at medium speed, cream the butter  then slowly add the powdered sugar until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time until well mixed.

2.       In a small bowl, mix the flour and the baking powder then sift them together into another bowl or onto baking/wax paper. Using a whisk or rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the batter,  1/3 of the flour mixture at a time until just combined; do not over mix.

3.       Pour  the batter into the pan. Then spread the chocolate chips over the batter. Using your wet fingers or rubber spatula or spoon,  push the chocolate chips into the batter. Bake in center of the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

4.       Cool/rest the pan on a wire rack at least 10-15 minutes before unmolding the cake. This cake is best served warm. Top with whipped heavy cream and fresh berries if you wish.

For more fun chocolate information (and mouth-watering photos), go to

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