My mum is Italian, but was born in British Guiana [now the independent nation of Guyana]. My dad was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mum met my dad in Paris and they are still there 40 years later.
Bryony Duncan-Smith

14 Jun 2013 - 3:33 PM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2021 - 5:02 PM

The French talk about food all the time. Even though I have been living in Australia for about four years, I am first-generation French, and French food is what I like to eat.

Quatre quarts is the ultimate cake from my childhood. I like to cook it because it’s very forgiving. I am a bit superstitious with it because I once used electric beaters to make it and it didn’t work, so now I only ever mix it by hand. In France, it is traditionally eaten after school for tea. It’s one of those cakes you make if your brain is going into a meltdown and you need to produce something quickly.

I make it a lot with my children [Iona, 3, and Aidan, 6] as it’s so easy. Quatre quarts means ‘four-quarters’ because you use four ingredients in equal amounts. It is moist, soft and buttery, and you can make it fancy by adding a splash of liquor, like rum or cognac.


Interview by Carla Grossetti. Photography by Katie Kaars.


Four-quarters cake (quatre quarts)