Grandma’s Magic Cake
The magic cake is aptly named because although the batter is poured into the baking dish all at once, while it cooks, it separates into three distinct layers—a dense bottom layer, a custardy middle layer, and a fluffy, cakey top layer. This magic separation of layers is due to a couple of factors. The large quantity of liquid helps create a dense base and the lower oven temperature allows the batter more time to settle. This cake takes a long time to cool, so make sure to allow enough time for that before serving.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Chill Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 8
- Category: Bakery
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for the pan
- 4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups milk, lukewarm
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking dish.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl.
- If using a stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment. Put the egg yolks, granulated sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the melted butter and beat for 1 minute. On low speed, beat in in the flour and salt. Add the milk and beat until fully combined.
- Carefully fold in the egg whites. Do not over-incorporate; there should be some clouds of egg whites in the flour and salt.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden and softly set. Check at the halfway point and cover with foil if the top is browning too quickly.
- Let the cake cool in the baking dish for 3 hours. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice and serve.
Keywords: magic cake