A couple of days ago, NPR radio interviewed Dorie Greenspan about Tuesdays with Dorie, and the wonderful online communities that have begun – starting with the idea of people around the world cooking through a book and sharing their stories. Certainly, we have that too with French Fridays with Dorie. In the article I read, Dorie shared one of her favorite cakes – “the cake that got me fired”, Chocolate Armagnac Cake.
So, this week, I decided that I should really make two cakes. The quatre-quarts for our Friday recipe, and Dorie’s other cake of the week.
The quatre-quarts is a simple French-style cake, a single small layer, with subtle clean flavors. There are few ingredients – the one choice to make – the flavoring. Since I was using Armagnac in the chocolate cake, I thought I’d just go with some rum – Appleton’s.
Eggs are separated, butter melted, dry ingredients whisked together. The sugar and eggs are mixed together, then the butter and flavoring added.
Then the dry ingredients are added to make a batter. Egg whites are whisked, and then folded in – first a portion to lighten it, then the remainder to make a light fluffy batter.
Finally, the batter is poured into a prepared pan (I used spray and a parchment round), then sprinkled with about a tablespoon of brown sugar over the top.
Once the cake has baked, it’s cooled in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turned out to cool.
This cake turned out beautifully, out of the pan perfectly – and it tastes delicious. It would be fantastic with berries or even just a dollop of cream, though it’s great on its own.
The chocolate armagnac cake turned out quite nicely too, though I think it will be better cold, or just over cold. What a contrast! The quatre-quarts is a light, simple butter cake. The chocolate is a dense, rich, moist blast of chocolate. It’s made with armagnac-soaked prunes to add to the complexity and moistness. There’s nearly 3/4 of a pound of chocolate for an 8″ cake, so that adds to the richness as well.
These two cakes couldn’t possibly be more different, but are both simply delicious. For the moment, I think I prefer the quatre-quarts. I know others will adore the chocolate. I guess we’ll have to take the opportunity to compare a bit more – either way its a win.