The duck eggs we bought from Trish and Ross Bragg at the Orange market last Saturday have been sitting on the kitchen bench for the past couple of days, waiting for the perfect sponge recipe. Should you add butter and if so, creamed or melted? Does custard powder have a place in a proper sponge cake? How many times does the flour need to be sifted? These are the big questions I've been thinking about when in fact I had lots of 'actual' work to do.
Anyway....after one failed attempt and a little more research, here is the recipe that worked best for me. I found this post about duck egg sponges by Not Quite Nigella to be very helpful and also loved this one by Island Menu. It's a beautiful, simple cake made a little bit special by the lavender infused honey which will find its way onto this blog tomorrow.
Duck egg sponge with lavender honey and rose petals
4 eggs (or five chook eggs) at room temperature - that's quite important
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
300mls pouring cream
3 tbsp lavender honey (or your favourite kind)
Edible rose petals (see note)
Preheat oven to 180C and butter and lightly flour two 20cm cake tins. Whisk together the duck eggs and caster sugar for 10 minutes. The mixture should be pale, fluffy and trippled in size. Meanwhile, sift the flour a couple of times to make sure it's lovely and powdery. As soon as you finish mixing the eggs and sugar then quickly but carefuly fold it into the flour. The idea is to do this as gently as possible and keep the 'mousse-y' consistency of the eggs and sugar mixture. The more bubbles and lightness here the higher and fluffier the cake will be. Gently divide this into the two cake tins and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cakes are springy to touch and just pulling away from the sides of the tins.
Leave to cool on a wire rack and meanwhile whip the cream until thick and fluffy, add the honey and whisk again until well combined. Once the cakes are cool, sandwich them together with the cream, saving a little for the top. Spread the remaining cream on top of the cake and sprinkle with rose petals.
Note - I bought these edible rose petals to use in a photo shoot last Sunday (lovely local photographer Seth Buchannan and I were working on the food pages for Style magazine's summer issue). Anyway, rose petals are so pretty and so much fun to use in cakes and puddings, plus they give a really subtle rose flavour that's not nearly as overpowering as I find rosewater can be. The only problem is that they are a bit spenny so my new plan is to try and dry my own this summer. If anyone has any thoughts/tips on doing this please send them through, I'd love some advice!