QUATRE QUARTS CAKE WITH LAVENDER CRèMe FRAÎCHE AND RASPBERRIES
I promise, with all going accordingly, that you will have this buttery lemony cake in the oven, from start to finish, in 15 minutes! It is really so simple and is a recipe I know by heart. It follows the traditional French recipe of 'quatre quarts' or four quarters, also fondly known as a Pound Cake. It is a great basic recipe to have in your repertoire and can be adapted with whatever is in season. Some blood plums would be beautiful pressed into the cake batter, as would tart apples. Here I've simply included some lemon zest along with the vanilla extract to flavour the batter. I love these kind of cakes, easy, delicious and visually beautiful! I thought I would make the most of what seems like the last week of raspberries and top the cake with some dark crimson beauties. Some poached rhubarb would be lovely too, or simply just the frosting, which I've subtly perfumed with lavender.
MAKES 1 CAKE
200g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of one lemon
200g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
200g self-raising flour, sifted
LAVENDER CREMÈ FRAÎCHE FROSTING
300g Crème Fraîche
2 large tablespoons of lavender icing sugar*
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
*To make the lavender icing sugar, blitz 250g of caster sugar with 2tsp of dried lavender in a food processor until the sugar becomes a fine powder. Store the excess icing sugar in an airtight container or jar for another use.
Raspberries or any fruit of your choice.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 22cm square cake tin.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest and cooled melted butter. Mix to incorporate.
3. Add the sifted flour and gently stir, ensuring there are no lumps in the batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and turn cake onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
4. For the frosting, whip the crème fraîche, lavender icing sugar and lemon zest until thick spreading consistency. I do this in a mixer with a whisk attachment and it only takes around 30 seconds to come to soft peaks. Before the the frosting is at the desired consistency, I have a quick test for sweetness and add a little more icing sugar if need be.
5. Generously spread the lavender crème fraîche on the cake and top with the raspberries. Cake, un-iced will keep in an airtight container, however store iced cake in the fridge, if not eating immediately.