Yummy Homely Quatre Quarts

Quatre quarts is not just the name of this lovely cake, it also summarises the whole recipe in two words: Four Quarters. This recipe is very close to my heart as I have baked it many a time for my grandfather when I was a kid, trading pears from his garden against a nice cake.  I have since made a couple of minor alterations that amazingly change the texture of the cake.  I have marked them in red so you can try the original version and the altered one… let me know what you think! Ah I nearly forgot, one more thing before we start: this cake is as yummy plain as it is packed with fruits or even with little bits of chocolate, so have fun experimenting…


  • 3 eggs
  • Flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Butter
  • 4 apples / 4 pears, bits of chocolate…
  • milk
  • 11 grams baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 envelope of ‘sucre vanillé’)

How to make it

  1. Preheat your oven at 190°C.
  2. Weigh your eggs and measure the same amount of caster sugar, flour and butter to get your four quarters.
  3. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan.
  4. Beat the yolks in a bowl and whisk in your flour, caster sugar and melted better.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently add them into the mix.
  6. Add the baking powder and vanilla extract as well as a good splash of milk.  The original recipe will produce a very dense cake which is lovely, but the milk will help you produce a lighter version.  Be conservative when adding the milk to the mix.  You don’t need much to make a difference and adding too much will add onto the baking time once the cake is in the oven.
  7. It is now time to personalise your cake by adding in some fruits, chocolate or whatever flavour you wish to try.  This is a humble family cake, so if you add some fruits, no need to go into too much effort, just peel and roughly cut your fruits before adding them into the mix.
    Personally I love an apple and pear quatre quarts and I use around 4 apples (Braeburn or Pink Ladies) and 4 pears (Conference pears work very well in this recipe) to pack the cake with some nice and fresh flavours (a splash of kirsch, brandy, armagnac or rhum also works quite well).
  8. Grease and flour a cake tin – we traditionally use a loaf tin – and pour the mixture in.  Bake in the oven for around 30 min, checking very regularly to ensure the cake is not overcooked.  Turn off the oven as soon as you can fully insert a knife in the cake and your knife comes out clear.
  9. If you have opted for the altered version and added some milk into your mixture, the cake will take a bit longer to bake in the oven.  You might need to cover it with some foil to make sure the top doesn’t burn.
  10. Wait until the cake is cold and enjoy it with a nice cup of coffee!


This recipe, originally from Britany, is a strong family favourite in France and one we often bake with children.  After all what better way to understand fractions than with a cake!


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