Magic Cake

Magic Cake

Wotchers!

Well, here we all are again, relaxed and refreshed, and ready for a new season for The Great British Bake Off!

Yes, it’s back tonight, 8pm BBC2, for its fourth season, with a baker’s dozen of contestants and a mammoth 16 episodes, so everybody buckle up (or unbuckle your belt) it’s going to be a mammoth, sugar-filled ride.

In celebration, I’ve decided to make a post on the GBBO theme of the week, which is CAKE – and this recipe is perfect bit of froth with which to celebrate. It’s also a fabulous example of the sense of alchemy that baking can create. One mixture that magically separates into three differently-textured layers during baking: a light and frothy top, a creamy custard middle and a firm base.

There seem to be two versions of this cake floating around the Web, both originating on Spanish blogs. The earliest version I’ve managed to find dates from 2009 and is flavoured with coconut and lemon. The more recently popular versions remove the coconut and opt for the plainer versions of either chocolate or vanilla. Admittedly, the layers are easier to discern in the smoother versions, but the coconut and lemon, textured version is also a delight: like a baked cheesecake, but with nowhere near the amount of fat.

So, seeing as I can’t decide between the versions, I’m including both for your delectation, and as soon as the latest coconut and lemon version finishes chilling in the fridge, I’ll be posting a picture of that as well.

Magic Cake

Vanilla/Chocolate version

4 large eggs
1tbs water
2tsp vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
112g plain flour (Or Chocolatize™ it 50:50 with flour and cocoa)
500ml milk

  • Set the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan.
  • Line a tin with baking parchment. The size and shape doesn’t really matter.I suggest either a 22cm round cake tin (not spring-form or loose-bottomed, as the mix is too liquid), or a rectangular tin approx 28cm x 20cm.
  • Separate the eggs.
  • Warm the butter until just melted.
  • Warm the milk to blood temperature.
  • Whisk the yolks, sugar, water and vanilla together until light and creamy.
  • Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour and whisk to combine.
  • Pour in the warmed milk and stir thoroughly.
  • Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and the top is browned.
  • Cool in the tin. The cake will fall slightly on cooling. If serving warm, let it cool for 30 minutes before serving. To serve cold, chill in the fridge at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.
  • To serve: dust lightly with icing sugar (vanilla) or cocoa (chocolate).

Coconut and Lemon version.

Coconut Lemon Magic Cake

This version is slightly richer, with a mixture of cream and milk and more sugar.

4 large eggs
220 g sugar
125g unsalted butter
75 g plain flour
100 g dessicated coconut
zest and juice of 2 lemons
300ml double cream
180 ml ​​milk

  • Set the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan.
  • Line a tin with baking parchment. The size and shape doesn’t really matter. I suggest either a 22cm round cake tin (not spring-form or loose-bottomed, as the mix is too liquid), or a rectangular tin approx 28cm x 20cm.
  • Separate the eggs.
  • Warm the butter until just melted.
  • Mix the cream and the milk and warm to blood temperature.
  • Whisk the yolks, sugar and vanilla together until light and creamy.
  • Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour, coconut, zest and juice and whisk to combine.
  • Pour in the warmed milk and stir thoroughly.
  • Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the rest of the ingredients.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and the top is browned.
  • Cool in the tin. The cake will fall slightly on cooling. If serving warm, let it cool for 30 minutes before serving. To serve cold, chill in the fridge at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight.
  • To serve: dust lightly with icing sugar

24 Comments on “Magic Cake”

  1. NickkiT says:

    I’m really looking forward to the new series! I watched an episode from series 2 last night. I thought your crouqembouche looked and sounded beautiful. Really keen to try the lemon coconut version of this cake, sounds lovely! By the way, I made your ploughmans loaf – wonderful recipe!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers NickkiT! And thank you for the kind words. Really glad you enjoyed the ploughmans loaf – I’m very proud of that recipe 😀 M-A

  2. Woohoo! you’re back – didn’t realise how much I miss your fab posts. Love the recipes, can’t wait for the book.

  3. Melanie says:

    Welcome back! Made your sunflower loaf for the second time and it impressed once again…this time I made a garlic scape pesto braid for a stem using the same dough–it’s a dream to work with.

    Have you seen the American version of the Bake Off? It’s pretty terrible in comparison–makes it look like all American amateur bakers are fairly incompetent…and as an American baker I take quite a bit of offense at that idea!

  4. Yasmin says:

    Glad to see you’re back on line. I’m going to try your Magic Cake but I would need to make 2 versions as ‘llI need a gluten-free version. Should I just use gluten-free SR flour or will I need Plain flour + gluten-free baking powder.

    Ta MAB

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Yasmin!

      I’ve not had much experience with gluten free, but my preference for regular flour is for plain and adding the raising agent – because at least you know how much is going in! 1/2 tsp cream of tartar + 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda = 1 tsp baking powder. (Baking powder contains 25% rice or potato flour to keep it dry and lump free.) Hope this helps! M-A 😀

  5. pipkinera says:

    Sounds delicious! Definitely going to be the next cake I bake! Thanks 🙂

  6. pipkinera says:

    Reblogged this on pipkinera and commented:
    This sounds delicious! I may have to try this one out this weekend 🙂

  7. Fenella Kerr says:

    I made this cake this morning but it seems to be quite flat and not at all like cake. Much more like custard? Any tips?

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Fenella!

      Sorry it didn’t turn out well for you.

      I’ll need a bit more information before I can make suggestions – which version did you make and what size/shape tin did you use?

      • Fenella kerr says:

        I made the vanilla version in a rectangular tin of the size suggested. It rose a lot in the oven but sank right down. Also it didn’t taste at all like a sponge cake. Help!!

      • MAB says:

        Right, It does sink on cooling, but if it did actually rise dramatically during cooking, there should still be a sponge-like layer on the top of the creamy/custard layer. Did you perhaps over-mix the egg-whites into the mixture? If all you ended up with was a custard-like layer, then the only other scenario I can think of is – might you have forgotten the flour?

    • Fenella Kerr says:

      I think you may be right. I wasn’t sure how much to mix the egg whites into the mixture. I thought if I left the whites in big blobs they would stay as eggwhite. Maybe I will try again.

  8. I really want to make this but got two queries – only tins have that are not loose leaf are sponge tins about this deep [………………………………………………………..] – will that be too shallow? Also, “blood temperature”? How will I measure that – by dropping a bit on my skin? Thanks x

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers vicky!

      On my screen that looks to be about 3mm deep – any chance you could measure your tins? length x width x height?

      And for the milk temperature, I usually zap it in the microwave for about 90 seconds in a plastic jug, and then give it a good stir. The jug should just feel warm to the touch, but you can dip your little finger in it to make sure.

  9. Rachel W says:

    “The earliest version I’ve managed to find dates from 2009 and is flavoured with coconut and lemon.”

    We used to make a version of this (“impossible cake”) when I was at secondary school (in the early 80s) and I’ve just looked out my old scribbled recipe, which is quite a bit simpler in preparation, but with the same resulting layers… I shall have to go and try both versions and see if they turn out similar.

    My old recipe says:
    1 pint milk, 4 eggs, 2oz butter, 8oz sugar, 2oz SR flour, 4oz coconut, 1tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt. Blend all ingredients, then bake at 180C (160fan).

    By the way, lovely to see your photo and a mention of the new book in the October 2013 issue of goodfood magazine.

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Rachel!

      Fantastic!

      I just knew there’d be something out there. I did try making an ‘all in one’ version of the coconut one, as there were a couple of versions recommending this approach, but it didn’t get much rise or much definition between the layers. I’ll certainly give your version a go, though!

      And thanks for the heads up about the magazine article – I’ll try and get them to send me a copy!

      M-A 😀

      • Rachel W says:

        I do remembering the layers working reasonably well when we used to make it – though I seem to recall a brownie type consistency in the finished cake, rather than a cake consistency – but given I probably last made it 30 years ago my memories of it might not be perfect. I’ll have to try it again and see – I imagine the method in your recipes should give a much better rise.

        In good food magazine, it’s just a brief mention (on p144) along with your photo, as part of a feature on the great british bake off.

  10. Judi Delaney says:

    Hi Mary-Anne, our cake tin is empty and this needs to go in!! Just want to check how thick the mix of yolks, water sugar and vanilla should be – are we talking very pale and thick with a ribbon like trail (am thinking swiss roll mixture………) or not as thick? Thanks as ever, Judi.
    Soooooo looking forward to GBBO tonight!

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Judi!
      It depends how stiffly you whip the eggwhites and how thoroughly you mix them in – milkshake/smoothie texture was what sprang to mind when I first made this. Definitely wetter than ‘dropping consistency’. Hope this helps! M-A 😀

  11. Judi Delaney says:

    Mary- Anne, I made this earlier and noted Fenella’s comments and your replies to her and it’s come out beautifully, I think I too would have tried to incorporate all the egg white and deadened the whole lot in the process, it’s certainly not an attractive raw mix is it?!, and even when it was going in the tin I kept thinking ‘no way is that going to work’ but the ‘magic’ happens and out comes a cake. We’ve had it for pudding and the layers were there but should be more distinct tomorrow after a night in the fridge. Lovely recipe – thank you.

  12. Comet says:

    Hiya,

    Slightly silly question, but when u say ‘flour’ in your recipe, do you mean self raising flour?
    Thanx
    Cx


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