Tuesday, 10 April 2012

duck egg sponge cake . . .

. . . with lemon and lime drizzle!

I've never made sponge cake with duck eggs in the past, but I have heard so much about them recently that I thought I better give it a go.  Duck eggs are much larger and the yolks are proportionally bigger than the yolk, when compare to a hens egg.  I'm not sure what impact this has on the baking process, but I have noted that the mixture was much less fluid and it did not rise that much.  However, the taste is phenomenal and the sponge is not heavy or cakey.

The measurements of ingredients in a traditional sponge cake are based on the weight of an egg.  Over time, people tend not to weigh the eggs and work on an assumption that a medium hens egg weighs around 2oz.  You would therefore place 2oz of the other three main ingredients (butter, sugar and flour) in with the mix, for each egg.

In this instance, I have used two duck eggs, each weighing around 3oz each.  You should weigh your duck eggs first and then place equal measures of the other three main ingredients, to ensure a suitable consistency.

I have made this sponge into a simple lemon and lime drizzle cake, but this is optional!

6oz unsalted butter
6oz golden caster sugar, or light brown soft sugar
2 duck eggs
few drops of vanilla extract
splash of milk
6oz self-raising white flour

for the topping
1 lemon
1 lime
50-100g golden caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4.  Grease the sides and line the base of a cake tin of your own liking! (at least 2lb tin).
Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon.
in a smaller separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs.  Add the eggs to the sugar and butter, a little at a time, beating thoroughly in-between, or with the electric mixer continuously.
Add a few drops of vanilla extract and mix again.
Add a splash of milk, maybe 50ml and mix again.
Sift the flour into the mixture, a little at a time, and fold in until all combined.
Be sure to lift the flour out of all the nooks and crannies as it has a habit of creating little pockets of itself within the mixture.
Once combined, spoon the mixture into the cake tin, level with a palette knife or spatula, and transfer to the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.
When baked, remove from the oven and stand on a wire rack.
Mix together the juice of the lime and lemon with the sugar and spoon over the hot cake.
Leave the cake to cool whilst a sugar crust forms on top of the cake and the lemon and lime is absorbed into the cake.  yummy!

Katie xx

Friday, 6 April 2012

easter nests

Easter simply wouldn't be Easter without these delightful chocolate treats.  Commonly made with cornflakes or rice krispies, I prefer to use shredded wheat to make them look ultra nesty! lets hope none of the eggs hatch.

It is best to use milk chocolate for this recipe, however, a mixture of both milk and dark can be nice if you prefer them not to be too sweet.  Just remember that the sweetness will come from the chocolate only, so you will need to have more milk chocolate than dark, if you are mixing the two.

Makes approx 18 cupcake size, but its always a bit of fun to make different sizes!

400g shredded wheat
250g good quality milk chocolate (or a mixture of milk and dark - see above)
200g sugar coated chocolate eggs, or other little treats to fill in the nests

In a large mixing bowl, break the shredded wheat up until it is small shreds and there are as few big lumps.
In a smaller bowl, break the chocolate into equal little pieces and place in the microwave for 1 minute, then remove, stir and repeat until the chocolate is melted - be careful not to burn or boil it.
Once melted, pour the chocolate into the shredded wheat and mix together until all the shreds are covered and the mixture comes together.
Set out cupcake cases in a cupcake baking tray and spoon the mixture into each case.
Push 2 or 3 of the sugar coated eggs into the centre of each nest and set the tray to the side to set the chocolate.  There is no baking, I just use the cupcake baking tray as a support, so that the nest remain nice and round until they are completely set.  Unless it is a particularly hot day, the nest should set out of the fridge, however, if you need them quickly, then place the trays in the fridge to help them set quicker.

Marvellous stuff!  Enjoy with a glass milk (possibly for dipping...just a suggestion!)

Katie xxx