There are times when something good catches your eye and you know you simply have to have it. That good 'thing' can range from the latest whizz bang motor car to a stylish pair of shoes – or it may just be a piece of cake. Literally.
The moment I laid eyes on the 'magic custard cake' shared by Todd and Diane from the Californian blog, White on Rice Couple, I was intrigued. It reminded me very much of the krémes sütemény that my mother used to bake, and the vaníliás krémes that I'd enjoyed at cafés and bakeries in Budapest. Hence, I've taken the liberty of giving my version the sub title krémes sütemény or cream cake.
Todd and Diane, who said they were [understandably] 'floored into a state of delicious shock' when they spotted the cake on Pinterest, originally adapted their recipe from a Spanish blog, Pastels, written by Mabel Mendez. In turn, Mabel attributed the cake to prajitura desteapta of Romanian origins. Research indicates that it has been doing the rounds in that part of the world for quite some time and that many a grandmother baked it once upon a time.
I've baked the cake on numerous occasions since first seeing it, and its flavours and texture(s) never cease to surprise and delight. The 'magic' happens when the one batter bakes into three individual and completely different layers.
I'll be trying a gluten free version soon, but for now I'd like to share with you my own adaptation of Magic Custard Cake, inspired by the recipes from White on Rice Couple, Pastels, as well as Bake Noir. Try it, bake it, and see if you can stop at just once slice. I dare you!
MAGIC CUSTARD CAKE A LA LIZZY
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
480mls low fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
4 free range eggs, room temperature, separated
130g icing (confectioners') sugar, sifted
a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar
115g plain (AP) flour
extra icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat your oven to 165 degrees C. Grease a 20cm (8-inch) square cake tin and line it with baking parchment.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. Combine the milk and the vanilla in a small saucepan, warm the milk until it is lukewarm. Remove from the heat and set aside (note: it will need to be warm, not cold, not hot).
Combine the egg yolks with the icing sugar in a glass bowl and beat them with a hand mixer or rotary whisk, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined. Now fold the flour into the batter and slowly add the warm milk. Stir and set aside for a moment.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the vinegar or lemon juice until stiff peaks have formed. Fold the egg whites, a little at a time, into the batter. Don't panic if the mixture is runny. That is precisely how it should be.
Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for around 50 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown. Cover the top of the cake with a sheet of baking parchment if it is browning too quickly. You need to allow the baking time for the cake to 'set'. You will know the cake is ready to remove from the oven when there is a slight 'jiggle' when you gently shake the tin. If it's still quite runny, leave it for another ten minutes.
Remove the tin from the oven and allow the cake to cool, then pop it into the fridge for an hour or two. This is important as the chilling time will give it the distinct layers the opportunity to 'set'. Cut the cake into squares and dust it with icing sugar before serving. Store in an airtight container. Serves 8.
Tell me dear readers and fellow cooks, have you ever been mesmerised by something? Do tell me what it was. Have you tried magic custard cake? Thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I love to hear from you xox
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.