I posted two photos on my Instagram stories a few days ago as I was baking a cake, one of the ingredients and one of the finished product. I received a few direct messages of some of you asking me for the recipe. I’ve only posted a handful of recipes on this blog and I decided to add this one to the lot since it holds a special place in my heart.
My mom is a great baker. I grew up in a house filled with homemade cakes, tarts and cookies. When I run into school friends I haven’t seen in 30 years, they still reminisce about my mom’s desserts. Dainty French creations were her forte, from delicate seasonal fruit tarts and crumbly sablés to syrup-soaked babas and my great aunt’s multi-layered rich chocolate cake with an even richer buttercream frosting. The cakes I loved the most though, were humble pound cakes–marbled, citrus scented or other–that we would eat for breakfast every morning. I loved sitting on the kitchen stool as a kid watching my mom work her magic and turn ordinary ingredients into delicious concoctions. My siblings and I would fight over who would get to lick the spatula or grab the biggest handful of raw cookie dough.
Of all the amazing desserts my mother makes, this orange blossom water-scented quatre quart cake is my favourite. It’s also the only cake recipe I know by heart and can whip up in minutes. It’s my go-to recipe when I need a little baking therapy or a taste of home.
Ingredients (for two loaf pans):
- 450g sugar
- 450g butter
- 8 eggs
- 450g flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup orange blossom water
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
This cakes starts by weighing the eggs (in their shell) and using the exact weight of butter, sugar and flour. Eight large eggs will weigh approximately 450g, which is the weight I used in the above ingredient list. You only have 6 eggs? No problem! Just weigh them and use that measurement for the other ingredients. Use a little less baking powder and orange blossom water and you’re all set!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and soft.
- Add the eggs one by one and mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
- Add the flour, salt and baking powder in batches while running the cake mixer on low.
- Add the orange blossom water and mix well.
- Spoon the batter into two buttered and floured cake pans and sprinkle with a generous amount of powdered sugar using a sieve. This is what will give the cake its crackling effect.
- Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.
If you don’t like orange blossom water, you can flavour this cake with your favourite spice, such as cardamom for example, or just omit the orange blossom water and bake as is with the vanilla as the main flavouring.
Note: This cake freezes well so make two loaf pans and wrap up one to freeze and take out whenever you need a little treat.