Monday, March 25, 2013

Magic Cake

This recipe is another Pinterest find. I spied it about a month ago but in the last couple of weeks it seems to be popping up more and more. There's kind of an exponential thing that happens on Pinterest. It's crazy. Funny though, all the different pins and pictures almost always ultimately lead back to this original post. From the looks of things, everyone on the blog-o-sphere loves this cake. And, so do I.

It's magic because, with one batter, made in just one bowl, you get a "cake" with three layers. Another plus is that it takes just 6 simple ingredients that I'll bet are in your kitchen right now. What I've noticed with all the different posts on Pinterest is that each person seems to get a slightly different ratio of layers. I haven't quite figured out what the variable is but I do know that how ever your layers turn out, they'll taste great. Don't wait another minute, make this cake, and make magic. . .

Here's what you need: eggs (at room temperature, whites and yolks separated.), sugar, butter, AP flour, whole milk (at room temperature or slightly lukewarm, I put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.) and vanilla (not shown). It's uber important that all the ingredients are at room temperature.

Put the egg whites in a mixer and whip on high until stiff.

They should look like this. Set aside.

Put yolks in another bowl and beat with sugar until light and lemon colored.
Note: this bowl is way to wide and shallow for this recipe, you'll see why later. Use a large but deep bowl if you have it.

Beat in cooled melted butter and water until blended.

Beat in the flour. Then stir the vanilla into the milk and beat that in until well incorporated. The batter will be very thin. 
I mean really really soupy and thin. I was starting to think I'd done something wrong with the ingredients, misread something. I was getting nervous.

Now fold in the egg whites 1/4 at a time. I used a spatula but it took a long time since the batter was so thin. Next time, I'll use a whisk the gently combine the batters. You really are just breaking up the large chunks of whites. (see this video for clarification.)
So here you see why this bowl was a bad idea. The batter is very thin and I was using a hand mixer. You can see that it flung batter all over the bowl, my counter and me. It was very messy. Hand whisk the batter or use a deep bowl.

The finished batter will look kind of like soft curdled scrambled eggs. Pour it into a greased 8in. x 8in. baking dish. Then into a 325°F oven for 60-70 minutes until the top is golden brown.
By this point in the recipe I thought I'd done something seriously wrong. It just looked weird and I wasn't confident that I'd folded the egg whites in enough or maybe I folded too much. I decided to just keep going forward and see how it turned out.

Done, crispy and brown. Let cool completely to room temperature then refrigerate for at least and hour, or overnight.

To serve, dust the top with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh fruit or fruit puree. This was so wonderful. Thumbs up from the whole fam. Custardy, crispy, spongy, vanilla-y. It really was magic. 

Magic Cake
Slightly adapted from:

4 large eggs at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
5.3 oz. sugar
1 T. water
1 stick  (4 oz.) butter, melted and cooled
4 oz. flour
2 C. whole milk, lukewarm
1 t. vanilla
Assorted fresh fruit or puree*, if desired for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease a 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish. Add egg whites to a mixer and whip on medium high speed until egg whites are stiff, set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light colored. Add butter and water and continue beating for another minute or two. Add the flour and mix until fully incorporated. Stir the vanilla into the milk then slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed. Add the egg whites, a third at a time and gently stir them in using a whisk, repeat until all egg whites are folded in. Pour batter into greased dish and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown. Let cool completely on counter. Then refrigerate for about an hour. Before serving, let set on counter for 15-20 minutes. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh fruit or puree.
Makes about 9 servings.

*For an easy fruit sauce: Put a small bag of frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries) into a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until thawed and juices start to run. With a wooden spoon or potato masher, crush to fruit to release more juice and break up the large pieces. Taste and add some sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness. Simmer on low heat until sauce coats the back of a spoon. For a smoother sauce, blend cooled puree in a blender. If desired, remove seeds by pressing through a fine mesh strainer.

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