I first saw this recipe for Magic Cake a few months ago and bookmarked it at once to try. It intrigued me as the magic part comes from the cake mix separating out into 3 distinct layers during baking. A top sponge layer, a custard middle layer and a firmer base layer. It looked incredible and I couldn’t wait to try it for myself.
I was a little dubious at first, as my cake batter was more like cake soup. It was very thin and slightly aerated from the addition of whisked egg whites. I was doubtful it would actually transform into anything sliceable.
On removing my cake from the tin I was amazed and delighted to discover that it had in fact separated into layers! I had not 3, but 4 layers in mine. A top sponge, a soft custard, a firmer custard and a more compact base layer. It was so exciting seeing the pool of cake soup transform into something that resembled cake.
The original recipe used only vanilla extract for flavour but I decided to use almond and lemon zest for mine. I love this flavour combination and the lemon gave it a nice freshness. The top sponge layer was very light and fluffy and the custardy filling was amazingly smooth and creamy.
It was tasty in a novel and unique ‘I can’t believe that worked’ sort of way. But looking at the dessert in its entirety, once you have got over the magic of it forming layers, I felt the base layer let it down. It became very firm and rubbery when stored in the fridge overnight and not that pleasant to eat. The airy sponge and silky custard top layers were so soft and light that the dense rubbery base kind of spoilt it. It has potential to be really good though, so don’t be put off trying it for yourself. The fact I used gluten free flour rather than wheat flour (used in the original) may have had something to do with the rubbery base texture. Others may be more successful
Lemon & Almond Magic Cake
(Recipe adapted from Kitchen Nostalgia blog)
4 eggs, separated
1 tbsp water
150g caster sugar
115g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp almond extract
Zest of 2 lemons
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease an 8inch springform tin and line the base with greaseproof paper. Wrap the whole outside base of the tin in a sheet of foil, in case of any leakages during baking.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites and yolks into different bowl. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside..
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, water and almond extract until light and creamy in colour. Add melted butter and continue beating for another minute. Scatter the flour and lemon zest over the top and gently mix together.
Heat the milk until it is only just slightly warm to the touch, then gradually add it to the batter mix, while mixing slowly. It will become very liquid at this stage.
Add the egg whites on top and gently fold them into the liquid batter using a spatula. Mix until they are mostly incorporated, but a few lumps of whisked egg white are fine.
Pour the batter into the tin and bake for about 60 minutes or until the top is golden and puffy looking.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 3 hours. The top may sink slightly on cooling, this is fine. Then carefully remove from the tin and slide the ‘cake’ onto a serving plate using a big palette knife to help you.
Sprinkle the top with icing sugar and serve. You should be able to see a dense base layer, middle custard layer and airy sponge top.
Makes 1 x 8inch custardy cake