Quatre-quarts (pound cake) and irritatingly untidy hens


Things are dodgy here in the canine mental health department — Hugo’s OCD is back with a vengeance. He has decided that the three hens should be together AT ALL TIMES. Apparently stray hens are just too untidy to contemplate. Luckily, the white hen and older red one do seem to stick together (whether through choice or fear of Hugo is unclear). The younger red hen though is a bit of a rebel and seems to enjoy teasing neat-freak dogs. I’ve given up yelling at him for grabbing her by the wings and depositing her in her rightful place next to the others as he doesn’t seem to harm her (beyond making her soggy) and she’s obviously anything but traumatised. He makes the most of having her in his mouth to lick her clean; In Hugo’s world, cleanliness is next to godliness.

Although pound cake (quatre-quarts as it’s called in France) really contains too much  sugar to be considered healthy, I’ve tried to make it as unhealthy as possible by using ‘whole’ ingredients. The result is rich, delicious and versatile: a great vehicle for all sorts of toppings or accompaniments.


250g spelt flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

125g butter

125g extra virgin organic coconut oil

200g cane sugar

4 large organic eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1 tablespoon rum

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and set aside. Cut the butter and coconut oil into cubes and leave to soften at room temperature for a few minutes. Beat with an electric mixer for about ten minutes until fluffy and then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk for another few minutes. Lastly, add the rum and vanilla essence and gently fold in the flour. Transfer the mixture to a buttered loaf tin and cook in a non-preheated oven at 160°C for an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

14 responses to “Quatre-quarts (pound cake) and irritatingly untidy hens

  1. Oh Hugo, you really should write a children’s book with Hugo and all of your animals and birds included. Hugo is quite the adventurer and I think it would be a wonderful book. Your pound cake is also wonderful, I love simple cakes with a cup of tea or coffee, so delicious and satisfying.

  2. Lovely sounding cake and I can tell I would love Hugo. 🙂

  3. I remember having this as a child, and always wanting to have it! Very nostalgic. Also, I think I understand Hugo’s OCD. I can be like that sometimes!

  4. This cake looks so good!! Love that you used spelt flour and coconut oil, I’m sure it tasted amazing! I have to try this combination too!
    xox Amy

  5. I prefer (good) pound cake to most other types of cake. Yours sounds fab, specially with that soupcon of rum and fresh eggs.

    Would I be amiss to make another photo request? This one of Huge with the hens? Also, I resolutely second Susanne’s vote for you to write a children’s story. Just find an agent and pitch them, you really have the seeds for a wonderful book.

  6. I love theses pound cake easy to do (and to eat as well :-))

  7. Ugh. Because it was put in a cold oven, the top of the cake burned in the first 5 minutes. Now my home smells like burned cake an hour before company is coming.

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry that happened.:-( It does seem surprising though that it would burn at a fairly low temperature of 160°C… Just a thought – is your oven thermostat correct? I hope that the cake is salvageable and on a positive note : if your house smells of cake, albeit burned cake, at least your guests will know it wasn’t shop-bought! Enjoy your company and thank you for trying my recipe. 🙂 THE

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