I love Twitter. Not only has it facilitated connecting with other food bloggers, it’s also put me in touch with some seriously passionate cooks. Salsa, coffee, chicken eggs, olive oil, and now duck eggs have made their way into my kitchen via tweeting and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I’m having a bit of a love affair with the duck eggs in particular. Prized for their rich yolks and more stable egg-white protein, duck eggs taste like the best chicken egg you’ve ever had. The poached eggs and omelets I’ve made turn out intensely golden and absolutely delicious. In particular, duck eggs are a gluten-free baker’s dream, contributing loft and softness to otherwise heavy baked goods.
The eggs came into my life via Twitter friend Molly McNeil via her uncle Dave Griffin. Dave grows fruit near St. Cloud. Not just any fruit, mind you—he’s been working for years to develop winter-hardy varieties of apricots, cherries, plums, prunes, peaches, pears, and grapes. He started selling his experimental fruit to local restaurants (namely Lucia’s) in 2008 and is now ramping up to a full production orchard with his hardiest varieties.
And he raises ducks. Indian Runner ducks specifically, an egg-laying breed that according to Dave is very hardy, so fits right in with the fruit trees. His 11 hens lay about an egg per day and like to hide them, which means great fun for the neighborhood children who love to come by and help look for them. The flock roams free in his yard, with access to a pond. As Dave notes, “They say you can raise a duck without any water, but if you saw how much they liked it I think you would agree that it would be cruel to do so. I still can’t look at my cartoon ducks without laughing and listening to what they have to say, which is always a lot, and without thinking how great it is to have a flock of happy ducks around.”
Molly is working with Dave to distribute the duck eggs and fruit to local restaurants now that Dave is increasing production. She and I have been trading duck egg recipe photos on Twitter for the last week, having way too much food fun.
Including for this cake! I’ll confess…I’m not much of a dessert girl. And I can’t eat gluten anyhow, so the little baking I used to do has dwindled down to precious little. (Can you hear my family grumbling?) But with duck eggs in my hot little hands, I just had to test a gluten-free cake and see if they lived up to the hype. I’m here to say…they do! Look at how richly yellow the cake turned out! It is soft and moist and no one would ever know it’s gluten-free. I added cardamom to the batter, and a warm, cinnamon-laced rhubarb sauce on top, and a pile of whipped cream because I love whipped cream on warm cake, oh yes.
Duck eggs are available at various farmers’ markets if you’re an early riser. They’re popular, so good luck securing a few as you grab a few bunches of rhubarb, too.
Cardamom Cake with Rhubarb Sauce & Whipped Cream (Gluten-Free)
Adapted from a King Arthur flour recipe
Note: Although duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, substitute them equally when baking.
1 1/2 c. King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. ground cardamom
3/4 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. soft butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. almond extract
2 duck eggs (or large chicken eggs)
1/2 c. milk, at room temperature
softly whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xantham gum, and cardamom.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, soft butter, salt, baking powder, and almond extract until smooth. Add 1 egg and beat on high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the second egg until mixture is quite fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Turn mixer speed to low and alternate adding milk and flour mixture, about 1/3 of each at a time, ending with the dry ingredients.
Spread the batter in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, about 3-4 minutes past the point where the cake springs back when touched lightly in the center, and a cake tester in the middle comes out clean.
Cool cake for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then cool on a rack.
Makes 4 cups
6 c. diced rhubarb
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar (or more to taste)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. water
Stir ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer over low heat until rhubarb is tender and fallen apart, about 20 minutes. Serve warm. (Store leftover sauce covered and chilled.)
Serve cake warm or at room temperature, topped with warm rhubarb sauce and softly whipped cream.