Friday, 21 May 2010

Old Fashioned Sponge Cake


I adore this cake. It's an old family favourite and has so many memories attached to it. It was my 18th birthday cake, for example. Served with softly whipped cream and fresh fruit, it's truly divine.



When my mum came to visit me she brought a present with her: a box of duck eggs. She bought them from a farm stall near home to give me something exciting to bake with. Bless her.

I decided that this was the perfect recipe - the quality of the eggs really shines through, and it was easy to scale to the different size.



Having never used duck eggs before, I was surprised to see how massive the yolks are - at least double the size of chicken yolks. The egg whites seemed clearer too.

To scale the recipe so it wasn't an enormous cake with 5 duck eggs, I used the ratio to work out how much I would need of flour for 3 eggs - it's 1.6 recurring. Therefore as my three eggs weighed 267g, I had 167g of flour. Just for interest, I weighed 5 chicken eggs - they came out as 335g.



I think the bigger yolk:white ratio gave a slightly different texture to the cake (although this could also be because I mildly overcooked this one) and the general agreement was that chicken eggs are preferable. Which is useful - you don't need to be searching out duck eggs to make the perfect version!


It has quite an unusual texture in the cake itself - I can't quite describe it - and the outside is all crusty and crisp with sugar. The crust really is so yummy.

I'd quite like to see how this worked out as a loaf. My mum used to sometimes sprinkle the top with a little extra caster sugar to give extra crispy crunchiness. I wouldn't bother adding any other flavouring like vanilla - the flavour is quite wonderful on its own.  We used to always split it in half and sandwich with the cream and berries/jam but unless you know you're going to be eating it that day, it's much nicer with fresh cream. I also really love it plain and this means you can have a nice slice without fancy bits.



Old Fashioned Sponge Cake
(Family recipe - I think it may be Mrs Beeton in origin I've recently discovered it's actually from Constance Spry, p.820, where it has plain flour and a tablespoon of orange flower water)

5 eggs
their weight in caster sugar
3 eggs weight of self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180C. Fully line a 20cm/8" tin. If you have a balance scale, just use the eggs as weights for the other ingredients. If not, then weigh the eggs and divide the weight by five and then times by three for the flour. Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar until pale and thick and a ribbon of mixture from the whisk stays on the surface for the count of five. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl into stiff peaks. Carefully fold a quarter of the flour into the fluffy egg yolks, followed by a spoonful of whites, then repeat until the flour is folded in. Finish by folding in the remaining egg whites. Transfer to the tin. Bake for about 45-50 minutes - it should be crisp on top and a toothpick should come out cleanly. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

(Makes one 8" cake)

30 comments:

  1. Mmm nothing beats a good old fashioned sponge cake :) yours looks delicious, so simple yet tasty :D.

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  2. I love a good old fashioned simple sponge cake. This recipe looks really interesting as there is no butter involved...
    Plus, the duck eggs look amazingly golden, beautiful

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  3. I have never seen such a recipe! It looks delicious. Your description of the texture is tantalizing. Lovely photos as well.

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  4. This looks lovely. What size of cake tin did you use?

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  5. Your comments regarding the crunchy top of this recipe reminded me of a recipe I saw awhile back for the best pound cake I have ever tasted. I now use it for my strawberry shortcakes (I bake it in a 13x18[half sheet] pan). It too has a marvelous crust that I thought you might like to try. It is at: http://www.copykatchat.com/showthread.php?t=40539&highlight=pound+cake%2C+crispy+crunch It is called Judie's Big Poundcake. I have not made all variations. I made the original with the 2 flavorings. Delicious! And I have made the Eggnog one using Braum's eggnog. It is so good I can hardly wait til December to try it again.

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  6. Looks delicious!

    But the big question is, does it beat lemon slice?

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  7. Looks wonderful. What a shame your first time baking with duck eggs was the success you hoped for - I actually love baking with duck eggs, seems to make cakes with much more fluff and a wonderful colour because of the esize of the yolks. Maybe it was just the extra cooking time?

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  8. Thanks for all your lovely comments.

    missy-j: I used a 6"/15cm round pan from Alan Silverwood - it's one of my favourites.

    Angelynn: That looks like an interesting recipe!

    Ellemay: Depends on the lemon slice, I suppose!

    Chele: I made it again with the other three duck eggs yesterday in a loaf pan. The loaf worked really well and I didn't overcook it this time - it was really good. Still, I think I prefer chicken eggs! How do you adapt normal cake recipes for duck eggs?

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  9. Thanks for answering! Do you think the original recipe could fit into an 8.5" loaf pan? Or an 8" round pan? This cake is definitely on my to-bake list!

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  10. missy-j: sorry, being ditzy and forgot I was making the smaller mix! I normally would use a 20cm/8" round tin for it - the loaf pan would also be fine. I'll add that to the recipe :) Hope you enjoy it!

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  11. Simply gorgeous says this quiet fan-I can no longer adore your work in silence. Love it!

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  12. that would go so well with cream

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  13. Wow, I'm really excited to try this recipe. I love sponge cake and so does my mum, I've tried a couple of different recipes which have all been okay but none of them use the technique of measuring the ingredients based on the weight of the eggs. Can't wait to try it out later! By the way, just to confirm, when you say the weight of the eggs, do you mean the whole egg (shell included) or the weight of the whites and yolks after being cracked from the shell?

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  14. Well, I made the sponge for dessert tonight. It was amazing! To me this is well and truly what a sponge should be like. I particularly love the meringue-like crust. I served the cake with my homemade apricot jam and whipped cream. Absolutely delicious and there are leftovers for tomorrow! Thank you so much for sharing Emma, the recipe worked wonderfully!

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    Replies
    1. Wonderful! I'm so glad you liked it. Sorry I didn't reply in time - as I guess you worked out, the weight is for the eggs in their shells.

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  15. Hi, I've been following your blog for a while and just wanted to drop by and let you know I made this cake yesterday - such a success! :) I love how just three ingredients can turn into such a lovely cake. I actually really love it plain, without any additions - but cream and jam went so well with it too!

    Thanks so much for the recipe! x

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it - it's definitely one of my favourite cakes! E

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  16. That cake looks wonderful! I love how simple it is, but I bet the taste is just amazing.

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  17. I believe it is a Mrs Beeton recipe, though in her typical style she seems to forget to mention precisely hoI believe it is a Mrs Beeton recipe, though in her typical style she seems to forget to mention precisely how many eggs are actually required. Still the quantities seem similar if the method doesn't. I've scanned the relevant pages in at http://17years.whatle.com/2013/03/mrs-beetons-sponge/.w many eggs are actually required. Still the quantities seem similar if the method doesn't. I've scanned the relevant pages in at http://17years.whatle.com/2013/03/mrs-beetons-sponge/.

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  26. vaishakhi panchal3 February 2014 10:12

    hello,
    if i want to make egg less cake for this...
    so what changes are required... please tell me.....

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  27. Hello - I'm afraid I can't see any way that you could make this cake eggless. It's too fundamental in this cake. Sorry I can't help more than that.

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