As you’ve come to expect, here is OMG! Yummy’s Saturday edition of French Fridays with Dorie. My motivation for this post is two-fold –
1. I always enjoy interacting with the French Fridays with Dorie group and miss it when I don’t;
2. My daughter loves sweets and has a long weekend of work ahead – I thought this would get her day started off in a happy way.
Quatre-quarts from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table is a simple pound-cake-type recipe that Dorie has tweaked to work with our American measurements. As she explains, the direct translation of the name is four-fourths – equal parts eggs, flour, sugar, and butter. What really sold me was her description: “… a look so sweet and plain that you’d think the cake had the word home etched into its slightly domed top.” How can you not want to make a cake described that way?
So out came the ingredients and tools with a determination to quickly prepare the cake and start writing the post while it baked. It comes together easily with the four ingredients mentioned above plus some baking powder, a pinch of salt and your choice of vanilla extract or dark rum or cognac. I opted for a little cognac and a little vanilla. Dorie also adds some brown sugar on top for color and a surprise punch of sweetness. In addition, she has us separate the eggs and whip the whites, which for a little Saturday morning exercise, I did by hand.
While I prepared the cake, @dormantchef appeared and started making a fresh pot of coffee – the perfect accompaniment to the cake. But like most things in my kitchen, this coffee has a story attached to it – the beans were purchased from a struggling coffee shop in Williamsburg, Virginia – Harbour Coffee - that he visited while attending our nephew’s graduation in December. My brother, who described the shop this way – “a beautiful mom and pop coffee store, roasting their own coffee, talking to all the customers, making great homemade pastries and other food” – took it upon himself to help this hard-working shop stay open by imploring his friends and family to buy their coffee. We jumped on the bandwagon and have two pounds of their Harbour Blend beans to enjoy. If you are a lover of coffee and supporter of small businesses, you might want to check out their story and support their business.
Now back to the regularly scheduled post – I just took my first bite and this cake is a winner – a cross between a coffee cake and a sponge cake with a little crunch to the bite from the brown sugar. I like the combination of the cognac and vanilla, though I suspect kids would prefer just the vanilla. And as I devoured it, I could imagine using orange or lemon zest to flavor it as well.
To read more experiences with this recipe, check out the French Fridays with Dorie web site and buy Dorie Greenspan’s award-winning cookbook Around My French Table. You will cherish the purchase and learn from each recipe and story that she shares.
P.S. If you are a French Fridays follower or Dorie-lover, don’t miss this darling interview with her on NPR’s Talk of the Nation this past Tuesday about her long-standing Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, based on her legendary baking cookbook – Baking from My Home to Yours.