Saturday, 3 February 2018

Mascarpone Quatre-quart studded with cherries and walnuts

Quatre quart (meaning Four Fourths) is a classic French recipe, akin to a pound cake. It's called so, as it uses 4 ingredients in equal parts by weight, viz. flour, butter, eggs and sugar. The Brittany region of France, where it is supposed to have originated, doesn't use anything apart from the basic 4 ingredients. However, as with all other recipes, variations and tweaks have sprung up to cater to the local tastes and produce. Here's my version, using Mascarpone cheese instead of butter...
Now, my version was born more out of necessity than any desire to experiment!! I had a tub of Mascarpone cheese sitting in my fridge, nearing its expiry date, and no other accompaniment like heavy cream or cream cheese to turn it into Tiramisu (which was the main intention at the time of purchase!!) or Frosting of any type. Hence, this cake was born!!
And believe me! it's the best cake you'll ever bake! Yess! it is that good. Moist, with a tender yet tight crumb, and the best is a light cake (mainly because of using cheese instead of butter). 

So, if you love mascarpone and need a break from the butter cakes (not that they aren't good...frankly speaking! I adore them.) this one is sure to light up your heart and palette. I regret having not made it earlier. But I won't let you regret, so here's the recipe....

Yield: 7" X 4" springform pan
Pre-preparation: 1. Grease and line your cake pan;
                               2. Preheat your oven at 150℃

250 g Mascarpone cheese (no need to bring to room temperature, use cold)
250 g Caster Sugar
250 g All purpose Flour
3 Large Eggs (approx 65 g each with shell)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract/Vanilla Bean paste
100 g chopped walnuts
75 g whole cherries, pitted and quartered.

TIPS: 1. A Quatre Quart is traditionally prepared using equal parts by weight of sugar, butter, eggs and flour. But here I am using mascarpone, which has more liquid than butter, hence quantity of eggs is reduced to 3 instead of 4. If you are using butter, then use 4 eggs.
2. The cake batter will be thick and you'll be tempted to use some water/milk. DON'T!! The eggs provide all the required liquid, so no need to use any extra liquid. Below is a pic of the batter to let you get a hang of its consistency (Please forgive the crappy picture, my kitchen has low light)
3. The cake needs to be refrigerated in an air-tight container after cooling it down to room temperature, and stays good upto a week. When you wish to eat, take it out and leave on the kitchen countertop for 15-20 minutes. Microwaving any kind of cake will make it dry, so avoid reheating the cakes.

1. In a bowl, sift together salt, baking powder and flour 2-3 times;
2. Cream together mascarpone cheese and sugar at low speed till fully incorporated. Add in eggs and extract, and whip together till light and fluffy;
3. Fold in with light hands, the flour mix into the cheese and egg mix, till fully lumps remaining. Don't use whisk at this stage...just fold in lightly with a spatula;
4. Fold in the cherries and walnuts. Spoon the batter into your pan and level the top with a spoon;
5. Rap the pan on your kitchen counter 2 times and cover the top of the pan with a parchment paper (to prevent over browning). Pop into the oven;
6. Bake at 150℃ for 60-75 minutes, or till a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few sticking crumbs;
7. Leave it in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer it to your cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature before slicing. The cake tastes better the next day, so you can wrap your cake in saran wrap/plastic wrap 20 minutes after taking it out of oven, and chill till next morning, before eating.

If you wish to frost it, go ahead!! We love it unfrosted❤
So here it was....easy-peasy and yummy!!
Here's one last pic of this beauty for you all..
and as the French say..."Bon Appetite!!" my friends 😊❤


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