What size eggs should I use for baking?
….is a question that I’ve been asked quite a few times – and have since made sure I remember to include that detail in my recipes. I’ve used both medium and large eggs in my cakes. I used to think that larger eggs would make lighter cakes – which it can do for an 8″ cake, but as the cake sizes get bigger and the quantity of egg increases there’s a point when the cake will be ruined. You see the difference in egg sizes will produce different weights. And that’s where the problems start. So, substituting one large egg for a medium won’t make much of a difference but if your recipe calls for 8 medium eggs and you only have large it will be the equivalent of 10 medium eggs! Check out the sizes below.
All eggs are at risk of carrying salmonella bacteria inside their shells and that risk is dramatically reduced if shop bought eggs are stored in the fridge at 4ºC or below. For that reason never use damaged or cracked eggs. Discard them immediately. Eggs should be stored in the fridge until needed then they should be allowed to come to room temperature for an hour before baking. The reason for this is that eggs won’t whisk up if they’re cold – it’s due to the temperature of the air inside they egg whites. They need to be warm enough to easily expand. The whites of an egg is what gives a cake structure and with less air bubbles due to cold eggs you’ll have a less stable cake. Maybe that’s why cakes sink in the middle!?!
NB: How to tell if your eggs are stale
The easiest way to check the freshness of an egg is to place it in a glass of water. If it sinks it’s fresh. If it floats it’s not and bye bye egg.
A word about egg yolks
If egg whites are full of protein and add lightness to a cake it’s the yolk that keeps it moist. The yolk is the fat part of an egg and will prevent the protein whites from whisking – hence it’s essential to have absolutely no yolk in your whites when making meringues. It’s also why I add an extra egg yolk to gluten free cakes when they need extra moisture.
So, to answer to the original question “What size eggs do I use to bake with?”
The answer is always medium. A lot of the time a cake will need equal quantities of egg, sugar and flour as a base to start from. For a perfectly balanced cake weigh your eggs (once out of the shell) and then use exactly the same amount of the dry ingredients and see how your Victoria sponge improves!
I really hope that has been helpful. I have to say that when I was looking for facts about eggs I discoveredwhich is totally fantastic – as well as gorgeous to look at. Check it out if you want real depth and knowledge about eggs and baking.