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Pain d'Epices Pound Cake with Cassis Butter and Berries

Cassis syrup and quatre épices—a classic French spice blend composed of ground white pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger—give this pound cake a rich, warm spice flavor that pairs deliciously with the fresh berry topping.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. cassis syrup
  • 2 cups mixed blueberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1/4 cup of the cassis syrup to a simmer and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 Tbs., about 5 minutes. Let cool until just warm.

In a bowl, gently stir together the berries and 1/2 cup of the cassis syrup. Let stand, stirring occasionally, while preparing and cooling the pound cake.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, white pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger until blended. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, sugar and the 2 Tbs. reduced cassis syrup on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce the speed to low, add half of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Add the sour cream, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap gently on the countertop to release any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and lift off the pan. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

Put the whipped cream in a bowl and drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. cassis syrup. Cut the cake into slices and serve with the whipped cream and berries. Serves 8 to 10.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.