Duck egg vs. chicken egg... sponge cake...

18 August, 2013

Which is duck egg and which is chicken egg? Stay tuned to find out...

Before we get into the relative merits of duck and chicken eggs in cake baking, a word of apology. I've been very quiet on the blogging front for reasons of busyness, not from any lack of desire to blog. I have been thinking blog posts, but not having the time to write them.

But today was (finally!) a day where I didn't have 50 other commitments; places to be and things to do. I had time. And I spent that time baking.

I find baking relaxing. I know others do not share this feeling. For me pottering around in the kitchen, mixing things up, making concoctions that I know will turn into delightfully scrumptious offerings that go perfectly with a cup of tea come afternoon time, is an enjoyable way to spend a few spare hours.

And as for some time now I've been meaning to compare my wonderful duck eggs (I'm getting about 6 a week) to chicken eggs in a sponge cake.

Now I must confess I've never really been into sponge cake. My family background is German and Ukranian, so my respective grandmothers baked more fruit tarts, cheesecakes and plain cakes, occasionally adorned with layers of cooked apple (geez I loved that cake!). The very proper Victoria sponge was something I viewed from afar at school cake sales and read about in cookbooks, but never really part of my conciousness.

Until I had an amazing sponge cake last year at a work event. It was all that a sponge should be - light, fluffy pillows encasing cream and strawberries. It was heaven. I've wanted to make one since, and today I finally got around to it.

In my search on the interwebs for a recipe, I had read that duck eggs were supposedly better for making sponges as their albumin (the protein in the egg white) was stronger, hence when beaten they were stronger and didn't collapse as much as chicken eggs, giving a lighter sponge. I decided to put this to the test.

I followed the recipe by Not Quite Nigella, which also gave many tips on how to make a great sponge. I made two recipes - one using duck eggs and one using chicken eggs. Like my initial duck v. chicken egg trial, I used similarly aged eggs from both my free ranging ducks and my grandmothers free ranging chickens to be as comparable as possible.

And the result: duck eggs hands down!

Chicken egg on left, duck egg on right.

The duck egg, using exactly the same recipe, the same method and the same oven, gave easily a 30% higher sponge.

Yay for duck eggs! I think sponge will easily become part of my baking repertoire. Now the layers just need some time to cool before I can add cream, and given there are no strawberries at this time of year and I refuse to buy them, and lemon curd. Bring on afternoon tea!


  1. Hooo'ee! Now for the pavlova challenge? I like sponge with lemon curd a lot...

    1. Hmm, I like that idea! Pav it will be.

  2. Gosh that really is a good result for the ducks. How did they taste any different?

    1. I wouldn't say the cakes actually had any noticeable difference in taste or flavour. Even the duck egg sponge didn't really feel that much more light textured when eating it, it just looked better!