Lemon curd quatre quarts (French pound cake)
- February 2022
- Makes 12 slices
- Hands-on time 15 min. Oven time 45-50 min.
This classic French lemon pound cake, known as quatre quarts, is an easy, fragrant bake for rainy days. Debora Robertson’s version features lemon curd and candied peel.
If you like some drizzle with your citrus, check out our easy lemon drizzle cake.
- 19.9g (11.6g saturated)
- 53.8g (35g sugars)
- 250g butter, melted and cooled, plus a little to grease
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 free-range eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- Finely grated zest and juice 1 unwaxed lemon (grate it directly over the caster sugar so you capture the zingy oils)
- 100g candied lemon peel, roughly chopped
- 150g lemon curd
- 3 tbsp demerara sugar
For the rhubarb
- 3-4 firm rhubarb sticks, cut into 5cm pieces
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- Juice ½ orange
- Heat the oven to 160°C fan/gas 4. Butter a 2lb/900g loaf tin and line with baking paper – cut it long enough to hang over the ends, to make the cake easier to remove. Butter the paper
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, caster sugar and lemon zest until very pale, light and fluffy – the mixture should leave a ribbon across the surface when you lift the whisk. Spoon a third of the flour mix over the egg mixture, then gently fold it in with a spatula, just until blended. Pour in half the melted butter and fold it in gently. Repeat, then finish with the rest of the flour so you’re mixing in flour/butter/flour/butter/flour. Fold in the candied lemon peel until just combined.
- Pour half the mix into the tin dot on the curd, then add the remaining batter. Swoosh through the mixture with the back of a dinner knife to ripple the lemon curd throughout the cake.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, checking after 30 minutes. If it’s browning too fast, cover with buttered foil and return to the oven. It’s done when a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Mix the lemon juice with the demerara sugar and, while the cake is still warm, pour it evenly over. Let the cake cool in the tin before you remove it.
- To make the rhubarb, put it in a roasting tin and trickle over the honey and orange juice. Cover loosely with baking paper and bake for 25-35 minutes at 120°C fan/gas 1 until just tender. You can do this while you’re waiting for the cake to cool.
Debora says: “This is an adaptable, beautifully simple French classic. It means ‘four quarters’ and takes its lead from the eggs. Weigh in their shells, then weigh out the same amounts of sugar, butter and flour. (I give weights here as a guide for shopping only.) Start with fewer/more eggs for a smaller/larger cake or use the same mixture for cupcakes or a round cake. For a deeper flavour, melt the butter and cook until brown and nuttily fragrant. Fold in some blueberries with the candied lemon peel if you like. Serve with the rhubarb and some vanilla ice cream for pud, or in a thick slab with a cuppa.”
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