A simple and light sponge cake, made with either duck eggs or chicken eggs, complements fresh spring strawberries and whipped cream.
Call this what you will: Chiffon cake without oil or sponge cake, this recipe, if you have a stand mixer, is so easy and such the perfect foil for tart spring strawberries and fresh whipped cream that you’ll want to make it again and again. I do. Try it with duck eggs (more on that later) for and even richer moister cake. Make it in a Bundt pan and pile the strawberries in the center or simply use a loaf pan and slice as needed.
This sponge cake, as so many of my recipes do, began at the farmers market.
My lamb people had duck eggs on sale. I had no idea what to with those large and rich eggs but let them convince me to buy some anyway. A quick search revealed that Duck eggs are particularly good for baking since the whites have more structure to them than chicken eggs.
I already had a box of strawberries at home just waiting for something to put them on. I had toyed with the idea of making angel food cake but quite frankly even the recipe that claimed to make it seem easy intimidated me a bit with it’s multiple precise steps. I’d looked at chiffon cakes as well but those still seemed too exact for my mood. My favorite recipes are easy enough I can carry them around in my head.
Straight forward (the original recipe has just three ingredients) and aside from the rather off-putting title sounded deliciously right. And it was delicious but who, aside from those of you with ducks or amazing farmer’s markets, has access to duck eggs? I had to know how it worked with chicken eggs. I can’t compare this to other sponge cakes because it’s my first. I know that the technique mixes things up a bit. I do know both cakes were wonderfully tender and light. The duck egg cake was more like a traditional cake whereas the chicken egg cake was lighter and almost like an angel food cake.
Rose is a natural accompaniment for strawberries, the soft floral notes highlight the fruits slight tang but I’ve found that when mixing the rose water directly with the strawberries finding a balance where the rose is noticeable but not overwhelming is difficult.
While the sponge cake was baking I tossed a pound of cleaned and cut strawberries with a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of orange liqueur- just enough of both to bring out the juice in the berries.
Then, while my cake was cooling I whipped the cream with just a bit of sugar, vanilla, and rosewater. I hesitate to give amounts. I like my whipped cream barely sweet so for ½ cup of cream I used about a teaspoon of sugar, and half a teaspoon each of the vanilla and rosewater.
Easy duck egg sponge cake with strawberries and rose whipped cream
- 3 ⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 chicken eggs or 3 organic duck eggs- room temperature is best
- ¾ cup sugar superfine or regular
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. fresh lemon zest
- A pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 350F
Coat the base and sides of the pan with butter and dust with about 2 tsps. of flour, shaking out any excess.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Put the whites and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk to a medium stiffness (if you pull out the whisk soft peaks should form but still flop after a bit). Whisk the yolks together with the vanilla, lemon zest and salt and then add to the egg whites, whisk until incorporated (about 20 seconds). Remove the whisk attachment and sift in the flour and gently fold it into the egg mixture until completely incorporated taking care to not to deflate the mixture. Add the batter to your prepared pans and bake.
Bake for 20-25 minutes if using cake pans or a Bundt pan, or in a loaf pan 25-30 minutes until light golden brown and the middle is firmly set. If baking in a loaf pan the cake will rise up into a dome and then probably flatten out slightly as it cools. Turn out carefully and let cool on a wire rack.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.