Recipe: Duck Egg Victoria Sponge Cake

It seems strange that the house is full of so many baked goods at the moment, the vast majority of them produced by me. I’m not a natural baker, and it is not something I usually enjoy versus whipping up something savoury, but it turns out that at times of uncertainty and stress all I want to do is bake cake. The evening before A Level results came out I stress baked an insane number of vanilla cupcakes almost all evening (I use the recipe in Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery (ad), by the way), and now in the spirit of making do with what we’ve got I’ve been putting all my focus into perfecting the perfect Victoria Sponge (also known as a Victoria Sandwich) cake made with duck eggs, rather than hens eggs.

Duck Egg Victoria Sandwich Cake
Duck Egg Victoria Sponge

The other week our wonderful gardener managed to get us two massive trays of eggs, one duck, one hen from his brother who keeps hens commercially, and getting to grips with duck eggs – especially in baking rather than for savoury – has been an enjoyable challenge. In some places I do thing hens eggs are better – in my go-to flourless chocolate cake, for example, they make the middle a bit too soft because of the naturally bigger yolks – but it turns out that in a classic, vanilla spiked sponge they produce a beautiful light, rich crumb which I think blows a regular, hens egg Victoria Sponge clean out of the water. (Though, if you are craving such a sponge and you do only have regular hens eggs to hand, you can find my Mum’s classic recipe here!)

Before we move onto the recipe, can I for a moment chat about fillings? I know some people are in the just jam camp, and others are in the just cream camp, and both are okay. However, for the ultimate Victoria Sponge experience I actually fill mine with both jam, and buttercream. I know the buttercream is a little less traditional, but it keeps better, yielding a cake better for smaller households – fresh cream does not last like buttercream, and this cake will still be delicious after a day or two. Buttercream also makes it more transportable, for, you know, when we’re finally allowed to go to the sort of places you’d wish to transport cake to again.

My second slight tweak is that I’ve been using low sugar jam. Usually I’m suspicious of such things, but here, where you’ve already got a sweet sponge and very sweet buttercream, I find tarter, fruitier low sugar jam works a lot better, as long as you go for a brand that is not chock full of silly sweeteners instead. Bonne Maman make a wonderful one, by the way. It is non-negotiable to fill a Victoria Sponge always, always with raspberry, at least in my house.

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Duck Egg Victoria Sponge Cake

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 68 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Cuisine: British

Description

A classic Victoria Sponge Cake filled with raspberry jam and buttercream, but made with duck eggs for a richer, fluffier sponge, rather than hens eggs.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Victoria Sponge

  • 3 duck eggs
  • margarine or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • golden caster sugar
  • self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp water from a just boiled kettle

For the Filling

  • 200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • milk
  • low sugar raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (355 fahrenheit) and grease and line two 20cm/8″ shallow cake tins with rounds of baking parchment.
  2. Weight the duck eggs still in their shells. You’ll need margarine or butter, sugar and flour in the same weights as the duck eggs to get a perfect cake every time!
  3. In a large bowl and using an electric hand whisk whizz together the margarine or butter, and the sugar until light, fluffy and pale.
  4. Beat in the eggs one by one, along with the vanilla extract. If you’re using duck eggs from a farm rather than a supermarket, crack each one into a small dish to check it is okay before adding it to the mix – I had a rotten one the other day and it was one of the worst things that had ever been in my kitchen!
  5. Beat in the flour until combined, followed by the two spoonfuls of just boiled water to create a smooth batter.
  6. Divide the mix between the two cake tins, making sure you have smooth tops for even baking. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the sponges are springy, golden, and if you insert the tip of a cake tester or a very sharp knife it comes out clean.
  7. Run a very sharp knife around the edge of each cake to help them come out of the tins later, and leave them to cool on wire racks. Once the tins are cool enough to touch, carefully turn out the cakes to cool completely. To get an even cake, choose the best looking sponge for the top and cool that one right way up, and leave the other to cool upside down.
  8. Meanwhile to make the buttercream filling, beat together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. If you need to loosen the mixture a little to make it more spreadable, add a tiny splash of milk. Only do this bit by bit, however, because if you add too much at once it can cause your icing to split. (If this does happen, add a little more icing sugar, beat hard, and keep doing this until it comes good again!)
  9. Once the sponges are completely cool place the bottom sponge upside down on a cake stand or serving dish. Spread the top with the buttercream – I use a small pallet knife for this – just to the edges. Spoon a generous amount of raspberry jam on top and also spread it to the edges with the back of the spoon before popping on the lid. Using a sieve (I have a mini one for things like this) dust the top of the cake generously with icing sugar (though sometimes in our house we use vanilla infused caster sugar instead!) – this will help cover up any bubbles or imperfections in the finished sponge.

Notes

I’ve only included British measures here, unusually, because this cake really is better made with margarine rather than butter, and self raising flour than a plain / all purpose flour and baking powder mix – both ingredients very hard to get hold of in the USA.

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