Baking time: 45 minutes
This is a classic of French pastry-making, a rich cake with the flavour of real butter… don't consider substitutes! The French name quatre-quarts, four quarters, comes from the fact that the cake is made from equal weights of its four main ingredients. In English it is called "pound cake" for the same reason: originally the recipe included one pound each of flour, sugar, butter and eggs.
Generally in modern versions the pound cake weighs about 1 kg, or two pounds, with the eggs, flour, sugar and butter each accounting for 250 g, or about half a pound. If you want to make a chocolate version, reduce the amount of flour to 225 g and add 25 g of cocoa powder so that the proportions remain the same.
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks; beat the whites to stiff peaks;
- beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy;
- with a whisk, gradually and gently blend the sifted flour into the egg yolk-sugar mixture, then the butter, baking powder and finally the rum;
- fold in the beaten egg whites with the whisk, using a circular top to bottom motion to thoroughly combine all the ingredients while keeping the batter light;
- grease the bottom and sides of a square cake pan with butter; dust it with flour; pour the batter into the pan;
- bake in a preheated 160° C (325° F) oven for about 45 minutes or until the tip of a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean;
- turn out of the pan while still hot.
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