Foodiva's Kitchen: French Fridays With Dorie - Quatre-Quarts

Friday, January 20, 2012

French Fridays With Dorie - Quatre-Quarts

Sometimes I do wake up in the mornings and feel like I've just had the most incredible dream.
I've just dreamt my life.
~ Richard Branson 

Helleww......I'm back! After several weeks of wedding-related shenanigans, I'm glad to be wiping the mounting dust off my copy of Dorie's Around My French Table cookbook in order to partake in this week's recipe, a classic French pound cake, or Quatre-Quarts. It's a simple recipe with only four main ingredients, flour, butter, eggs and sugar - used in equal amounts (hence "four-fourths") - and flavored only with a hint of vanilla.


This cake is a great one to bake if you're a rookie in the baking department, it's so easy and quite literally is "a piece of cake", if you'll forgive the pun! The eggs are separated and the whipped egg-whites are then folded into the batter, giving a light and airy-textured cake. By Dorie's reckoning, this is a dry cake compared to American pound cakes, but I thought it was just fine. Or I just may have a propensity for dry, crumbly cakes from having lived in Europe for a bit.


I chose not to dress up the cake and instead sprinkled the top with a mixture of black sesame powder and brown sugar prior to baking it. This gave the resulting cake a slight, pleasant crust from the caramelized sugar and a nutty flavor from the sesame. I loved biting through the crisp top layer into the tender inside of the cake, such an understated but elegant cake. So very French!

Instead of using a round cake pan, I used a heart-shaped mold to bake the batter in. Speaking of hearts, I'd like to share with you some images from my sister's wedding last weekend. Nothing to do with a food blog, of course...but there was a lot of food and feasting involved, I assure you!

The groom saying his wedding vows - just one take and he's part of our clan :).

After the wedding vows, or nikah ceremony

My sister's husband hails from Kosovo, a country only independent in 2008. He was one of the millions of displaced individuals resulting from the war in Kosovo in 1999. At the insistence of his ageing father, he escaped through the mountains, leaving all his family members behind and two weeks later arrived in Switzerland, where he has lived and worked since. And that's where he met my sister. It's hugely ironic that someone who'd come from a war-torn region has ended up with someone who comes from one of the most peaceful countries on earth (Brunei a.k.a. Abode of Peace). Maybe they were brought together for a good reason - to show us that Hope, well it's not just a myth, after all. :)

 Bride and groom getting ready for the wedding reception
Have a blessed marriage, Fidah & Ardian!

Back to the quatre-quarts! See how my online cooking group buddies fared with this recipe here. Better still, get yourself a copy of the book and join us, won't you?

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

51 comments:

Ei said...

Beautiful pictures from the wedding, and a lovely story to boot! Much luck to your sister and her husband.

Everyone's cake looks better than mine. I'm such a "grass is always greener" baker. lol I definitely think mine could have used more brown sugar on top. It didn't go far.

Maureen said...

Best wishes to your sister and her new husband. What a beautiful and inspiring story.

Your cake looks delicious. I love the heart shape.

Trix said...

Yay you are back!!!! I missed you! Looks like you put together a gorgeous wedding, and your sister and new brother in law look amazing. Love your heart cake too <3

Kathy said...

Maya, Your quatre-quarts looks wonderful...I loved the heart pan and the topping you used. Very nice!
Your wedding photos are so lovely...may your sister and her husband have many years of luck!

Foodiva said...

Ei, Maureen, Trix and Kathy, I'm sooooo deliriously happy to be back blogging! I couldn't resist a baking session with the rest of the Doristas :). Thanks also for your lovely words and wishes. I'll make sure my sister knows about them (well, she occasionally does read this blog so she'll probably know anyway).

Aarthi said...

happy married life..


Aarthi
http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Yay you're back!!!! Gorgeous pictures and lovely cake.

Cher said...

We missed you!
Congratulations to your sister & her groom. Lovely pictures - thank you for sharing.
I don't know how you managed to hold on to those yolks without breaking them. You are way talented :-)

Lacy said...

Oh I love the heart shaped pan! This sounds simply delicious, especially with the sesame powder & brown sugar sprinkled on top. Beautiful wedding pics!

Adriana said...

Glad to see you back, Maya! I had never seen sesame powder. Lovely cake, but even lovelier wedding. You must have been so happy when the day finally came after helping out with the planning.

Tina said...

The wedding pictures do look awesome, congrats to the happy couple! Now I know what you have been up to recently, but glad you are back.
You really did dress this cake up-unique topping and it does look stunning. Yum!

Kiri W. said...

What a gorgeous ceremony, I love the fabrics and colors! :) Looks like a happy bride and groom.
And the quatre cart looks delicious, love the heart shape!

Frolicking Night Owl said...

Thanks for sharing the wedding photos ... so fun to see!! Loved your hear cake, too.

Frolicking Night Owl said...

Opps ... meant HEART! :)

Isabelle @ Crumb said...

What a beautiful wedding! Your sister looks positively glowing with happiness in the photos... all the best to her and her new husband in their new life together.
PS: I need to find some of this black sesame powder. I'm positively addicted to black sesame ice cream... and I think black sesame powder might just be what I need to get so I can make my own homemade version! :)

Foodiva said...

Cher, trust you to notice the little, complicated stuff! Lol. I actually used my camera hand to break the eggs and catch the yolks one by one. As you can see, my palm was just big enough...if the recipe had 4 eggs, I would've been in trouble ;).

Foodiva said...

Yaaay...I'm glad things are back to normal again! Thanks, Mardi!

Foodiva said...

Missed you too, woman! <3

Foodiva said...

I'm lucky that I can get ground black sesame which are sold in packets over here. Otherwise, just grab a couple of fistfuls of black sesame seeds, bung them in your coffee grinder and voila! You have the powder :).

Foodiva said...

Lol, for a minute there, I thought my cake had grown ears! ;)

Norm said...

Oooh, gorgeous photos!! I must post some of mine. We really enjoyed the reception - and I meant to say, the favours were SO cute, such a lovely touch! The bride and groom made such a beautiful couple.

Kx

Foodiva said...

Thanks so much for the kind wishes for the newlyweds, Isabelle. As I mentioned in one of my comments above, if you can find yourself some black sesame seeds, you can grind them up into powder form at home. That's how I make my own black sesame ice-cream too. It is positively delicious, and yes, very addictive! ;)

Foodiva said...

Kate!! I was delighted that you and Rob could make it to the reception. Yes, you must post yours.. I'm interested to see if you captured things that I'd missed :). OMG, my mum mixed the personalised M&Ms with the cut-off lollies... I was slightly horrified! Lol.

Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

Oohhh that's such a beautiful wedding :) The photos look so pretty!!! All the best to the newly weds ~

I love easy recipes hehe and I love the heart tin!

amanda @ fake ginger said...

Gorgeous photos! :)

I love how the sesame powder looks on the cake. YUM!

Vicki Bensinger said...

I love how you topped Dorie's cake. I haven't made this yet but from others photos it looks a bit dryer than most of her cakes. Glad to know its still so tasty and with your creative topping it sounds unique and flavorful.

As for the wedding photos they're beautiful. I especially like the clothing that is worn. You have a lovely family and I am sure your sisters husband will find much comfort and love in his new family. Thank you for sharing these photos.

Rose said...

Thank you so much for posting the wedding photos and story. I am such a hopeless romantic and I actually teared up a bit while reading your post. So sweet! The wedding looks beautiful and the couple looks so happy. I wish them all the best as they begin their life together as man and wife.

Kris' Kitchen said...

What beautiful wedding photos. I loved seeing them and am so happy you shared.

And this cake is perfect for a heart shape. My family told me that this recipe is a new "
keeper"...so I'll be making it again soon.

Congratulations to your sister and to all your family...nice to welcome new family members.

Dessert By Candy said...

What a beautiful wedding! Congratulations to your sisten and brother-in-law! Glad we have a quick & easy recipe this week to ease you back to FFWD. Your addition of black sesame powder is brilliant. I always have some in the pantry so I'll have to try it next.

Sandra said...

Congrats to your sister.. wishing them lifetime of happiness!
Your post is beautiful Maya...photos just gorgeous, and quatre-quarts absolutely mouthwatering!!!
Wishing you beautiful day sweetie!

Christy said...

What a beautiful wedding! Love the addition of black sesame powder and the heart shape cake. Your wedding photos are really spectacular - thank you for sharing!

Lizzy said...

SO fun to see a FFwD post from you, Maya! I knew you'd put a delicious twist on your cake :)

Your sister's wedding looked amazing!!! Such a fun celebration.

PS...I passed on a blogger award to you on my Friday post~

Betsy said...

Welcome back, Maya! And thank you for sharing your sister's wedding photos. What a lovely couple. I wish them a lifetime of happiness together.
Your heart-shaped cake is fun, and leave it to you to find an unusual topping, in this case the black sesame seeds. Lovely, lovely!

Torviewtoronto said...

congrats to your sister beautiful pictures and the clothes look wonderful
delicious looking cake

Gina said...

How beautiful Maya. Wishing you sister and her husband a lifetime of happiness and blessings. Your sister's dress was stunning and she was a beautiful bride. You have a beautiful family all the way around. Glad you are back.
-Gina-

Foodiva said...

Daisy and Amanda, many thanks for dropping by with your lovely comments!

Foodiva said...

Vicki, our traditional wedding clothes do take some time to get into, especially for the groom (for a change!). But they transform the couple for their big day, so it's worth all the effort.

Btw, I'm still envious that you got to share the same beach space with Eric Ripert! I wouldn't have been as cool as you were, for sure ;).

Foodiva said...

Awww... Rose, that's you and me together. When I first heard the story of the Kosovo war and the effects it had on the people there, first-hand from Ardian, it disturbed me for a long time. His strength and determination is a source of inspiration for my family, especially since we take almost everything for granted here, even peaceful surroundings and abundance.

Foodiva said...

Thank you, Doristas! I've missed seeing all your posts too and will be doing my rounds over this long weekend.

Spicie Foodie said...

Glad to see you back, we've all been missing you like crazy. I love your sister and brother-in-law's story, so sweet. Best wishes to them for a long and happy marriage. You heart shaped cake is the perfect accompaniment to their story. Thanks for sharing Maya :)

acookingmizer said...

i just want to get married again AND eat more of the cake! lol!

Mary said...

Maya, I loved that you shared your family's wedding pictures with us. Thank you. Your being such a great FFWD member and blogger caused and inspired me to include your link in my Post today about Dorie and her online cooking groups . I have so enjoyed reading your Blog and included it in my Link List at the end of my Post. Looking forward to more in the year ahead. Mary

http://www.lightsonbrightnobrakes.com/mistakes-happen-recipes-bomb-life-goes-on/

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Welcome back and what great wedding pics. I love your heart shaped mold, so cute.

Karen said...

What a fantastically beautiful post! The wedding photos made me cry. I love that you used the heart shaped pan for your cake and the technique you used to put the brown sugar and sesame on the top. Beautiful!

ramya said...

Lovely post.....so glad i found your blog!

the [sugar] apothecary said...

Awww, congratulations to your sister and her husband! That kawaii photo is awesome :) You are part of a great family with some beautiful smiles (and some seriously beautiful fabrics)!

Hooray for caramelized-black-sesame-crunch-covered pound cake! I'm so glad your package finally made it in one piece... I was worried it would snap in two or just disintegrate en route!

easyfoodsmith said...

Beautiful wedding! They make a lovely couple. God Bless
As for the cake, I love your addition of sugar and black sesame powder. Will try it soon. Thanks for sharing.

Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} said...

those are some beautiful pictures Maya! so nice of you to share them with us :)

Shutterbug said...

i love learning about different cultures! nice photos, btw...

Indie.Tea said...

Congratulations to your sister. The cake looks sweet and lovely, and the wedding looks SO beautiful!

Reem | Simply Reem said...

Beautiful picture!!!!
many wishes to your sister and her husband...
I specially like the picture after the nikah ceremony... They look made for each other!!!
Wishing them a very happy married life.

The cake looks delicious tooo... Thanks for sharing.

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