October 15, 2013

Cake #20: Magic Cake*

I wanted to find an easy recipe. One can only make so many crazy layer cakes before one just needs something simple. However, I didn't want it to be boring. I've got a reputation to uphold!

Enter the magic cake.

Looks pretty basic, no? It is. If you have basic baking ingredients, a stand mixer, and an 8 by 8 pan, it's, well, a piece of cake. But check it:

You'd never know I made all three of those layers at the same time.

Let me 'splain. ...No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

All the ingredients are mixed together but while they bake, they separate. At the bottom is a dense eggy layer. In the middle, custard. On top, fluffy cake.

It's weird. It's a little crazy. It's magic!

Okay. It's not magic. It's just science. Really cool baking science.

I made a vanilla version too (it was actually the first incarnation I made but I preferred the chocolate one [are you surprised?] so that's the recipe you get) and while its top layer was less fluffy and cakey, the middle layer was more custardy. See?
I think I mixed the vanilla one too much and baked the chocolate one too long. Maybe next time I'll get the hang of it.

Anyway...magic cake! Recipe! Go!

Magic Cake
adapted slightly from Jo Cooks

Note: If you want the vanilla version, go here. For chocolate, see below. The end.

4 eggs, at room temperature and separated
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons flour
7 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups milk, at room temperature or warm
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste**
1 teaspoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and flour an 8x8 inch baking pan.

Separate the eggs; set aside whites in a small bowl and add the egg yolks to the bowl of a mixer. Add water and sugar. Beat on high until eggs are light and creamy. Add melted butter, vanilla, and salt to mixer, and continue beating until butter is fully incorporated and mixture is light and fluffy.

With the mixer on low, add the flour and cocoa one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly pour in the milk with the mixer still on low. Make sure the milk has been mixed in thoroughly; you'll need to scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple times to get it all combined. The mixture will be really liquidy at this point. Pour it into another mixing bowl and set aside.

Clean the mixing bowl and whisk attachment and make sure you dry it well. Add egg whites to mixing bowl and the vinegar and beat on high until egg whites are stiff. Here comes the tricky part. Add a bit of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and gently fold it in. Then add a bit of the chocolate mixture to the egg whites. This way it will be easier to mix everything together without flattening the egg whites too much. Repeat until everything is well mixed.

Pour the batter in the prepared baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes or until done. The cake should be jiggly in the middle when you shake it, but it will be a firm jiggle, not a liquidy one, kind of like when jello is well set. Let it cool completely*** then cut into squares and serve.

*Alternate working title: How Many Princess Bride Quotes Can I Work Into One Blog Post?

**I don't currently have any vanilla extract in my house because I ran out. But I have fancy pants Madagascar bourbon vanilla paste, which is what I used. It is awesome. Maybe a little hoity toity for this kind of treat, but whatevs. Why not eat mac and cheese on the good china, amiright?

***I preferred this cake after it was refrigerated. David preferred it warm. Pick a side. No judgement here either way.


  1. All the Princess Bride references made me really happy. Quite possible the most quotable movie ever made. Also, I really want to try this cake now! I'm not a fancy pants cake baker like certain people named Jen are, but I think I could handle this one. And then eat it all by myself without sharing. ;)

    1. Do it. Do it for the baby. He needs cake.

  2. Wow this looks amazing... Also I appreciate your Princess Bride references more than you know! :)

    1. That movie just never gets old!

  3. That is the cake you made me and mom right?!? It was very tasty! It tasted like a tres leche cake (sp?) Very fluffy! :)

  4. Holy heck this is spectacular.... if one does not have hoity toity vanilla paste, would vanilla extract work as well?

    1. Yes'm it would. Probably better, actually, because it wouldn't be such a pain to measure out.

  5. Substantially the article is really the best on this laudable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your future updates.Just saying thank you will not just be enough for the wonderful lucidity in your writing.


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