Eggs Make a Difference to the Colour of Cake

I’ve been wanting to try different eggs in a cake recipe for a long time, all because of my Gran’s eggs in Portugal.  I’ve been aware for years that feeding yellow corn to your chicken feed gives the egg yolks a more vibrant deep yellow which will produce the most golden yellow cake imaginable.  My Gran’s eggs taste delicious and are seen as a treat by the family when visiting.  My cousin who lives in Lisbon will take some home with her and the rest of us who can’t carry them on a plane will enjoy dipping homemade chips into the rich yolks while we’re there.

I had heard somewhere a long while back organic hens were fed with a colour additive in their feed to give the yolks a more yellowy colour  that us the consumer have come to expect from the words ‘organic egg’.  Now I don’t know if what is added is from a natural source or not but whatever it is it does nothing to the end result of a cake, the colour doesn’t transfer giving you a golden sponge you would expect but rather a pale sad looking one.  Here’s a good link full of interesting information on what feeds produce what colour yolks someone on the beeb forum found.

According to McGee the yolk’s colour comes from plant pigments called xanthophylls that the hen can obtain from alfalfa and corn feeds.  He also states you can supplement the feed with marigold to deepen the colour.

The normal eggs I buy are either free-range or organic but since discovering the Clarence Court blue eggs above with their shocking vibrant orange yolks I started to buy them as a treat for when having a fried egg.  Clarence Court eggs both the blue and brown are the only ones I can buy around here which claim their hens are fed yellow corn which explains the resulting yellow colour sponge they produced below.

It is also said that the breed of hens can also play a part in determining the colour of the yolks. I think from baking these cakes I noted a deeper yellow from the blue egg cake than the brown egg one and with a slightly richer taste.  That was my first impression though, difficult to be sure without further testing.  What is clear to see is what a disappointing white sponge the organic eggs produce.

I baked all four sponges with dairy-free margarine.   I baked the first two with Jewish dairy-free baking margarine and the last two with M&S dairy-free margarine.  As a side note I wasn’t impressed with the Jewish margarine at all and the M&S dairy-free margarine produced a better, lighter, tastier cake.  I’ve also had good results with Pure dairy-free margarine in the past.

But…and here’s a big but…when baking with dairy-free margarine I would highly recommend using very good eggs like these Clarence Court ones to give you an overall better taste as well as pure vanilla extract.  The Victoria sponges made with both those ingredients and the M&S margarine gave me the closest to the taste of a normal Victoria sponge as I’ve ever been able to manage.

Above Photo: Top slice is organic eggs.  Bottom slice Clarence Court brown eggs.  Both using Jewish dairy-free margarine.

Below Photo: The same cake but from different angle.  Left C C brown eggs, rich yellow sponge.  Right organic eggs, very pale sponge.  Both using the Jewish dairy-free margarine.

Below Photo: Top slice is Clarence Court Blue eggs.  Bottom slice is Clarence Court Brown eggs.  Both using M&S dairy-free margarine.

Photo Below: Same cake as above, you would be pushed to tell apart in the photo from the blue or brown eggs but in real life there was the tinniest darker yellow from the blue eggs.

Eggs: top left, organic. top right, Clarence Court brown. Bottom, Clarence Court blue eggs.

I promise the orange colour of the Clarence Court egg yolks really do look like this in real life.

Clarence Court Brown Eggs.

Organic Eggs.

Clarence Court Blue Eggs.

Even in the raw mix you could tell there was a difference between the C C brown eggs and the organic ones.

I found the photo below interesting, both mixtures have the Clarence Court Eggs but in the raw mixture one appears to be yellower than the other, it’s the blue eggs producing a deeper raw mixture on the left.  Once baked though they both made lovely yellow sponges.

Photo Below: Clarence Court Blue Eggs.  Clarence Court Brown Eggs.  Clarence Court Brown Eggs.  Organic Eggs