It might be a little bit sad but aspiring to be Master Bakers, Santa brought Elldrew a shiny new K-Mix electric mixer and ever since then we have been itching to really put it to the test (but a post-Christmas diet has somewhat stifled our baking desires). With that in the back of our mind we stumbled across this recipe which was intriguing enough to make us want to break our diet and try it. Magic Custard Cake? What on earth was the fuss about?
Often referred to as ‘Tradition Cake’, ‘Magic Cake’ or ‘Smart Cake’, this authentic Romanian recipe, named ‘Prajitura Magie’, has raised a few bakers eyebrows due to it’s unique cooking process; it virtually splits the cake into 3 distinct layers creating a very tasty version of a custard slice, or Portuguese custard tart.
Since doing further research we have found a recipe for a chocolate version and a version that also incorporates lemon rind. We are secretly wondering if we could add some passionfruit flavouring, would this result in an even yummier tropical treat? Baking’s all about taking a recipe and developing it to your own tastes, and so we might have to try that out and report back!
OK, let’s get down to business and get the magic happening. For around 9-12 slices that will disappear just as quickly as it takes to make it, you will need the following (you don’t have to use an electric mixer, we’re confident that a hand beater would more than suffice):
- 4 eggs at room temperature (separate yolks from whites)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 150g sugar
- 125g butter, melted (melt in microwave for 30 seconds, stir and cool)
- 115g of all purpose flour (sifted)
- 500ml (2 cups) lukewarm milk (heat in microwave for 60-90 seconds just before use)
- Icing sugar for dusting.
- Preheat fan oven to 160 degrees.
- Grease and flour a 20cm square baking dish – we used a pyrex dish for this and it was perfect.
- Separate the eggs and add the egg whites and vinegar to a clean bowl and whisk until egg whites are stiff. (You don’t have to use vinegar but Elldrew find it helps achieves the right meringue consistency with no impact to the flavour).
- Place whisked egg whites in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light, creamy and well blended. If you’re using an electric mixed then we found the beater attachment best for this (as opposed to the whisk which we used for the egg whites).
- Add the melted butter and vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute or two after which you can slowly add the flour and mix, scraping down the sides occasionally, until everything is fully incorporated.
- Slowly start adding the milk and beat on a slow-medium speed until everything is well mixed together (it should resemble a milkshake consistency).
- Add the egg whites, a third at a time, and gently fold them in using a spatula (we used the fold setting on the mixer), repeat until all egg whites are folded in. The mixture will still be very runny and ours even looked like it had split, but this is just the egg whites floating to the top of the mixture.
- Pour mixture into the baking dish and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. We checked ours after 20 minutes and reduced the temperature down to 140 degrees as it was starting to brown on top too quickly. We ended up baking the cake for 50 minutes in total, the top was a lovely golden colour which resembled a sponge cake. There is no point using a skewer to test as the middle is custard, so if the top springs back like a normal cake, or is starting to show cracking, it will be ready to take out.
- Allow the cake to totally cool in the dish you cooked it in. Then pop it into the fridge to chill – it tastes so much better chilled (as custard should really).
- When ready to serve, lightly dust the top of the cake with icing sugar (powdered sugar), cut into slices and enjoy.