This has become my go to recipe for an easy shareable dessert. Jacques Pépin’s favorite quatre-quart (“four quarters” because it is made with equal parts flour, sugar, eggs and butter) is an easy pound cake recipe that never disappoints. It can be enjoyed as-is with a nice latté, dressed up with some fresh berries and cream, or enhanced with citrus zest or a marbling of chocolate.
A copy of the original recipe can be found on Food & Wine.
Jacques Pépin’s Favorite Pound Cake
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 10-by-5-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with a strip of parchment paper that extends 2 inches past the short ends of the pan.
- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, vanilla and salt at medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, beating between additions. Beat in the milk. Sift the flour over the batter and whisk it in until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
- Bake the cake for 1 1/2 hours, until it is cracked down the center, golden on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then unmold the cake and let cool completely.
The cake can be kept at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days.
This recipe can be easily adjusted to create variations you’ll love. Suggestions:
I like to sub 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract with 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste for a little kick, and sometimes use heavy cream in place of the milk for a little richness.
You can also add frozen berries like blueberries and raspberries for a fresh new take. Just toss your frozen berries in a little flour to coat them lightly, and fold them in BY HAND just before you pour your batter into the pan. This helps keep your berries from sinking.
Recipe Source: Food & Wine