Possibly the simplest cake of all and similar to a pound cake, with a name that stands for four quarters—four simple ingredients, flour, sugar, eggs and butter in equal measurements. When I was growing up it was a popular 4 heures or gouter (afternoon snack) with French children and remains so to this day. A blank canvas, it allows you to add any flavour, fruit or glazing you fancy, or you may keep it au naturel—it is entirely self-sufficient. Julia Child’s version is on the small side, with 170 grams of each ingredient. I have increased it to 200 grams, which suits a large cake tin and which is recommended for this recipe.