French Fridays with Dorie: quatre-quarts Cake and Coffee with a Purpose

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French Fridays with DorieAs 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?

French Fridays with DorieSo 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.French Fridays with Dorie

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.Harbour Coffee shop in Williamsburg, VA

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.French Fridays with Dorie

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.

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11 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: quatre-quarts Cake and Coffee with a Purpose

  1. dulceshome January 24, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Loved this cake too. Yours looks terrific. I was thinking about an orange version just yesterday… I can almost smell the coffee… what a nice post!!!

    • omgyummy February 2, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks – stop back and let me know if you make the orange version – I think it would be terrific. Sorry for the late reply – for some reason your comment got stuck in my spam folder – aaahhh!

  2. Cher January 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Great story about the coffee & beautiful cake.

  3. Confessions of a Culinary Diva January 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Terrific looking cake – love how the sugar caramelized on yours! I think this is one of the best cake bases that can be customized to a whim and still turn out great.

    Have a great week!

    • omgyummy January 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      Thanks Christy! Love your idea of the rosemary simple syrup and olive oil ice cream – terrific!

  4. nana January 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Tricia and i both enjoyed this one. Yours looks fantastic, and the texture looks so good.
    I liked the simplicity of the few ingredients and the time involved was minimal. Great

    • omgyummy January 22, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Thanks guys! Yes – I loved the simplicity as well and the fact that it would easily lend itself to variations. Want to make it again…

  5. frugalfeeding January 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    What a great looking cake. I love that you top it with sugar. I’ve never seen it done quite like this before.

    • omgyummy January 22, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      The sugar is Dorie’s idea and it’s a good one – you get a bit of crunch along with the soft spongy cake – very gratifying to eat.

  6. Carol Sacks January 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Love this post — beautiful cake from Miss Dorie and a plea to support a local coffee business. Terrific! Have a great weekend, Beth!

    • omgyummy January 22, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Thanks Carol – I had fun writing it and drinking it and eating it 🙂

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