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Quarter Cake

I am always very keen that my children should have a healthy well- balanced meal in the middle of the day, but after school I think a sweet treat is perfectly appropriate. This is a really old fashioned, traditional French cake recipe and one that children will often learn to cook at home. It’s basically a buttery sponge, which you can prepare as a single cake or it can be used to make individual fairy cakes.


  • 225g plain flour

  • 225g caster sugar

  • 225g good quality salted butter or fleur de sel butter, softened

  • 1 and a half teaspoons baking powder

  • A few drops of vanilla extract

  • 4 medium eggs, at room temperature

  • For the compote

  • 500g rhubarb, cut into chunks

  • 200g strawberries, hulled and sliced

  • 2-3 tablespoons caster sugar


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, grease and flour a 22cm, round sandwich tin or use a ‘magical’ silicone one.

  • 2.

    Beat all the ingredients together in a mixer on high for 2 minutes or so, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through.

  • 3.

    Tip the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until it is beautifully golden and just coming away from the sides of the tin.

  • 4.

    Remove from the oven, let it cool slightly then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

  • For the rhubarb and strawberry compote:

  • 1.

    Put the rhubarb in a pan with a tiny splash of water. Cover and heat very gently, leaving it to steam in its own juices for 10-15 minutes or until soft. If you are adding strawberries, do it now. They will poach and in so doing release their juicy dye.

  • 2.

    Add the sugar and puree the whole thing if you wish. But do you really want to have more equipment to take out, wash and put away on a Sunday afternoon?

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