The magic of this cake is in the fact that you make only one batter and, after baking, you get a cake with 3 distinct layers: dense one on the bottom, custard-like layer in the middle, and a fluffy sponge cake layer on top. It has wonderful vanilla flavor and simply melts in your mouth. The mixture of egg yolks, granulated sugar, and water needs to be whisked by hand, with a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer until the sugar is dissolved.
The egg yolk-sugar-water mixture needs to be very fluffy, very foamy, and a very pale yellow — almost white — and will take about five minutes. Most cakes are baked at 350°F and a rare few at 325°F. This is one of the rare ones that is best baked at 325°F. The center is a custard and needs slow baking to cooking into creamy yumminess. Make sure you have an oven thermometer to ensure you’re baking this at the correct temp. The magic cake is done baking when the sides are set, the center wobbles a little, and the top is a warm brown.
You will not be able to use a traditional cake tester or the tip of a sharp knife since it will always come out a bit wet. When folding the egg whites into the batter, don’t over mix, in fact, the egg whites should make the batter quite lumpy. Finally, let the cake to cool completely before slicing it, which allows the custard to firm up so it’s easy to serve.
- 4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 4 drops lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons (5.3 oz; 150 g) sugar
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 stick + 2 tsp butter, melted (125 g)
- 3/4 cup (4 oz; 115 g) flour
- 2 cups milk, lukewarm (500 ml)
- Mix egg whites until stiff. You can add 4 drops of lemon juice or white vinegar to stabilize the egg whites.
- In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, water, and vanilla until light.
- Add melted butter and continue beating for another minute. Then add the flour and mix it in.
- Add the milk (it has to be lukewarm, otherwise the butter will harden) and beat until well incorporated.
- Gently fold in beaten egg whites using a spatula or a spoon. Do not use the mixer for this step because it will ruin the air bubbles trapped in beaten egg whites.
- Do not fully incorporate batter and egg whites. There should still be some little “clouds” of egg whites floating on top of the batter.
- Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) square or 8 inches (20 cm) round baking dish.
- Do not use springform because the batter is too liquid and the pan could leak. Bake in preheated 325 F (160 C) oven for about 60 minutes or until the top is golden and cake is still soft, but not jiggly anymore.
- If the top starts browning too quickly, cover the cake with aluminum foil.
- Cool in the pan for at least 3 hours. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.