This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
The Magic cake is a French dessert known as gâteau magique. It is a cake that forms three layers when baking: a sponge cake on top, a cream layer in the middle and a custard/flan on the bottom. The cake became quite popular a few years ago in the US.
This is such a simple cake but so impressive, fun and unique. This cake can be made in many different flavours. This version I’m sharing is actually a simpler version with fewer ingredients. The batter only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.
The Magic CakeCourse: Sweet TreatsCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
This magic cake is very unique. It only requires 4 ingredients to make the batter. When the cake bakes, it separates into three different layers. It is a delicious and fun sweet treat to serve to family and friends. The measurements have been converted from the American ‘cup’ system hence the strange numbers but if you rounded up or down it doesn’t affect the outcome of the cake.
Normally magic cake also contains butter and vanilla and sometimes a few other ingredients depending on the recipe. I found that the cake still turned out well without butter or oil. I also was able to achieve a much thicker and fluffier sponge layer by eliminating the butter. And you can add vanilla for more flavour but it is great even without it.
4 large eggs, separated, straight from the fridge
96g plain flour
148g granulated white sugar
473ml low-fat milk
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a larger mixing bowl, add egg yolks, flour, sugar and ½ cup (4 oz) of milk. (Make sure to only add ½ cup right now. If you add all of the milk you will not be able to mix your batter.) Beat on high speed until batter is smooth and no flour lumps remain. Once the batter is smooth, add in the remaining milk (1½ cups). Reduce speed on the mixer and mix until milk is incorporated into the batter. Your batter will be very thin.
- In a separate clean mixing bowl, add egg whites. Beat egg whites on the highest speed until stiff peaks form. Your mixing bowl and mixer must be completely clean before adding and beating the egg whites, otherwise, the egg whites will not turn into stiff peaks. See the notes section for more tips on beating egg whites.
- Gently stir and fold in ⅓ of the egg whites into the cake batter with a spatula. Because the cake batter is so thin, you do need to swirl and fold to make sure the egg whites are fully incorporated. Make sure to fold all the way from the bottom of the bowl, otherwise, the liquid batter at the bottom won’t get fully mixed with the egg whites. Fold until no egg white streaks remain. Repeat with the next ⅓ and then the final ⅓. For the final ⅓, you do not need to mix until no egg white streaks remain. It’s fine to have some small lumps of egg whites in your batter. Your batter should look very light and airy.
- Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is done (mine took 45 minutes). If you are unsure if your cake is done, it is better to bake a little longer (5 minutes or so) to make sure it is done so that your cake does not deflate. When the cake is done, a cake tester should come out clean. The top should be evenly browned. Let the cake cool before removing and cutting. As the cake cools it will deflate a little around the sides. That is normal.
- Cake can be served the same day it is baked or the next day. See notes for the difference in texture. If serving on the same day, let cake for 1-2 hours before cutting and serving. If serving the next day, store the cake in fridge overnight. Before serving the cake, you can dust the cake with powdered sugar.
- Make sure you don’t beat your egg whites until after the rest of your cake batter is ready. You need to fold them in immediately.
- In order to get your egg whites to reach stiff peaks, you need to make sure your mixing bowl and beater are completely clean. I used the stand mixer to mix the cake batter and a hand mixer for the egg whites. You can also do the reserve. If you are using a stand mixer to beat your egg whites, use the wire whisk attachment.
- If you only have one mixer, make the cake batter first. Then pour your cake batter into a different bowl and thoroughly clean your beaters and mixing bowl before making the egg whites. Do not make the egg whites first.
- The texture of the cake does change a little. When it is first baked, you have a light sponge on top, a cream filling in the middle and a firmer flan layer at the bottom. If you let the cake settle overnight, the bottom two layers firm up more. The middle layer becomes a creamy custard. The bottom layer becomes something like a pie crust. The cake can be served at room temperature or cold. Any uneaten leftovers should be stored in the fridge.
Lots more sweet treats can be found here if you’re looking for some inspiration!