Cuisine Fiend

pound cake with apricot glaze

Mon, 30 January, 2017


Pound cake with apricot glaze

There are a few quirky cakes where the weighing out of the ingredients is their USP: the sette vasetti, for one. It’s an Italian yoghurt cake for which you measure out the other ingredients with a yoghurt pot. So far so clever you’ll think - ah but what an awful lot of faff in fact. Just think: you need to wash the yoghurt pot and dry it, then probably wash again to use it for flour or something so in the end you’re forever washing that damn pot instead of using the kitchen scales in a civilised way.

The ‘seven pots’ cake has also its French equivalent and to be fair to French, they have justified that awful pot-vasetti palaver by claiming it’s the French toddler’s cake - and toddlers, even French, do not usually read scales very well. Even though they bake yoghurt cakes at such an early age - and undoubtedly churn out savarins as soon as they start junior school.

It’s a seriously good cake though so don’t get me wrong: it’s just the elaborate potting and vasetti-ing I have problem with.

Quatre-quarts has none of the pot nonsense and still weighing is the key. Four parts: eggs, sugar, flour and butter, weighed out in equal quantities, make the most beautiful and the simplest (which often goes together) cake in the world. We call it a pound cake in Britain though that goes a long way back - not even Mary Berry encourages you to make a four-pound cake since I imagine that's where the name comes from:  it took a pound of each ingredient for the recipe.

Madeira cake

Quatre-quarts, pound, yellow or madeira cake - pure form cake. You don’t need to frost or layer it, there are no raisins thrown into the mix, no chocolate goes near it and the only adornment should be a discreet dusting of icing sugar - or a lick of good jam.

pound cake with apricot glaze

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 3 large eggs weighing approx. 220g
  • 220g butter, softened
  • 220g soft light brown sugar
  • 220g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence or paste
  • 3 tbsp. apricot jam


1. The amounts above are indicative, as you need to weigh the eggs and use the same weights of butter, sugar and flour. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Butter and flour, or line with parchment a large loaf tin.

2. Mix the flour with the baking powder in a bowl. Cream the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, each followed by a little flour mix. Continue adding the flour until all is incorporated and the batter is smooth.

3. Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Pound cake

4. Cool the cake in the tin for half an hour, then turn out onto a wire rack and spread the top with the apricot jam. 

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