Is it really Friday already? This week has flown by! Being Friday, you know what that means: French Fridays with Dorie.
This week’s recipe is a simple cake called Quatre-Quarts, which translates directly to “four-fourths”. Similar in concept to an American pound cake, the cake uses equal amounts of eggs, flour, sugar, and butter.
Cakes have been my nemesis since I moved to Reno over 11 years ago. Growing up in sea-level Seattle I never had to be concerned with my altitude while baking. Reno is apparently at a high enough altitude (~4400 feet) to affect the baking of cakes. I suddenly had cakes that were not rising properly, sinking in the middle, spilling over the pan, and the texture was off. The richer the cake, the more trouble I had.
I received the book High Altitude Baking, which explains a lot of the science behind baking and altitude and also gives suggestions for adjusting recipes. For years I attempted small adjustments to my recipes with mixed results. Whenever I did any Internet searches for help with high altitude baking, most people said they simply added an extra egg to their recipe. I resisted trying this because it seemed too easy, but a year or so ago I started adding an extra egg to cake recipes and it worked! The extra egg changes the texture a little bit, but cakes rise beautifully and the texture is way better than what I was getting without the extra egg.
If you live at a higher altitude, do you adjust your cake recipes? If so, what method do you use?
Now, back to this week’s cake… I debated whether or not to follow the recipe as written or to add the extra egg. In the end, I decided to add the egg. The result was a lovely, simple cake very similar to a pound cake, but lighter in texture.
I really liked this cake. Dorie mentions that it is a common after-school snack cake, so my daughter enjoyed a piece when she got home from school. We ate it plain, but the cake would also be lovely dressed up a bit. Strawberries and whipped cream would be good!
My daughter is notorious for helping herself to cakes and other baked goods left unattended. This cake became a victim. Luckily it happened after my pictures were taken!