This magic custard cake is truly quite magical. Using simple ingredients, the batter separates into three layers as it bakes. The bottom is a slightly dense custard. The middle is a smooth and soft custard. The top is a light and moist sponge cake.
I was intrigued when I found this recipe. I simply had to try it.
The key is to have all ingredients at room temperature. The butter should be soft. The milk should be warm so as to not harden the butter. The eggs should also be at room temperature. You can quickly do this by placing them in a bowl of hot tap water for 5 minutes. Egg whites at room temperature have more lift when whisked.
This cakes centre is a creamy vanilla flavoured egg custard. Kind of reminded me of a Chinese egg tart. A nice, light and not overly sweet dessert.
Magic custard cake.
I enjoyed it. I hope you will too.
Adapted from WhiteOnRiceCouple and Mabel Mendez.
- 4 large eggs, separated at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk, lukewarm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch square cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- Warm milk in microwave and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on high speed until soft peaks are formed. Transfer to another bowl. Set aside.
- Add egg yolks and sugar to mixing bowl and beat until smooth, creamy and pale yellow in colour.
- Add butter and continue mixing for approximately 2-3 minutes on high speed.
- Mix in flour until incorporated.
- Slowly add the milk and vanilla, beating at low speed.
- Gently fold in egg whites, 1/3 at a time. The batter will be quite thin. It will be difficult to fully incorporate the egg whites.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
- Bake 50-60 minutes or until top is lightly golden and firm to the touch.
- Let cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar.
What can I sub the butter and whole milk for. I’m lactose intolerant
Hi Sonia, there are many substitutions for milk and butter that are vegan but I have never tested this recipe with them. Let us know if you do and if it works. Thanks for visiting.
Virginia McMillan says
How funky is this cake! I made it exactly as per recipe except cut the sugar back by 1/3. It cooked at 160C for around 40 minutes. Glad I checked it earlier as it was cooked beautifully.
Penny Greenler says
Can I substitute 1/2 the butter with olive oil? or all of it?? I have to cut back on high fats.
Hi Penny, I’m not sure but I think using olive oil would affect the flavor. I heard coconut oil works or if you use half the amount of butter, 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup works as well.
thanks!! I actually went ahead and tried it! I added extra vanilla and dash of flour and it turned out fine!! totally worth it ! (thanks for such a great recipe! and your quick reply!)
Ohhh nice!!! Thank you for your feedback! 🙂
Dr E says
Leave the butter, use swerve and almond flour, need to cut carbs, not fat.
I subbed unsweetened coconut milk for the whole milk with no issues. I thought the tsp of vanilla was the correct amount but I use Nielsen-Massey and not cheap vanilla when baking. I will make again. My husband loved this and he is not a cake guy at all. I will need to leave it in the oven about 10 minutes longer. My center was not firm. I just took it out to early.
Hi Julie, thanks so much for your feedback. You’re right, Nielsen-Massey vanilla is definitely not cheap. I’m glad your husband enjoyed it! 🙂
Jeanette parrett says
Can you use almond milk, unsweetened, instead of whole milk? I have a half gallon & would like to use it.
Hi Jeanette, I’m not sure but it’s certainly worth a try. Let us know how it turns out.
I tried the almond milk. It came out like all custard with a “skin” topping. It was not desirable to me. I don’t suggest making it this way. I made this before the correct way with whole milk and it came out beautifully. Right now I’m making it with lactaid, I’ll let you know how it comes out.
Jeanette, that is so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your results. 🙂
This cake looks wonderful! Are there any adjustments for high altitude?
Hi Becky, not sure where you are but I live at 3500 feet above sea level which is considered high altitude. This cake baked beautifully.
My husband is from South Africa. He bakes this all the time. It’s called a Milk Tart.
WOW this cake was simple and delicious.. aFirst time I ever made anything from scratch and it turned out delicious! I can’t believe I made it!!! Great easy to follow instructions with everything on hand. Thanks!
Hi Margaret, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!
In my country(Saudi Arabia) , we have a similar recipe i which we make two separate paters one of a reddy-mixed chocolate cake and the other is a cream caramel mixture then we pour them(order is not important) in a pan lined with a firm caramelized sugar layer. The cake pan should be placed in a bigger pan half filled with hot water and is baked for an hour or till top is firm. It must be cooled overnight before flapping in in a plate. You ends up with a layer of chocolate cake topped with another layer of cream caramel. Try it.. You will enjoy it.
It sounds wonderful! I’ll give it a try, thanks for sharing!
Sounds like the Mexican version of Cake Flan
Hi. I have seen this recipe on another website earlier and made the cake following that recipe which called for melted butter, but was otherwise identical to yours. My cake tasted great but after I took it out of the oven, it somewhat collapsed in the middle and surface my slices were not as smooth as it is shown in your picture.
Do you think it will be different if I used room temperature butter, not melted butter?
The cake tastes great and it would be wonderful if I can make it look better too.
Hi Mina, using melted butter was probably ok. Mine collapsed slightly as well. Could it be your cake was just a little underbaked?
Yes. I think it could have used a few more minutes in the oven. Maybe that was why it collapsed. Thanks for the tip!
Hi I cant always bake the cake on the same day for when its needed does it taste as good the next day
Hi Sue, yes it tastes just as good. Just be sure to cover completely and refrigerate since it’s egg based.
Melinie M diLuck says
That is my favorite dessert right now. I love anything custard and have to control myself that I don’t eat the entire dessert by myself and not share with my sweet hubby.
Would it be possible to add a little coconut to this recipe?
Adding coconut would be absolutely delicious. Not sure if it would affect the layering, though. If you sprinkle it on top, it would get toasted and be so good!
Melinie M diLuck says
Great idea. Coconut is my second favorite to custard.
Tried this recipe yesterday and I really liked how clear the instructions were (the part with the egg whites would have me worried if you hadn’t warned about it in the recipe, thank you!). I was also happily surprised that it layered just like promised, I thought I would fail spectacularly since it was my first try baking it but it was clear layers inside that were really nice and different from other cakes!
However I was a bit disappointed with the weak vanilla flavour. If I’d do it again I would add a whole lot more vanilla. I was expecting to be hit in the face with an intense vanilla flavour, but it tasted a lot like a swedish oven pancake which has no vanilla in it at all.
It might have been my expectations that were off though, swedish custard is kind of a thick vanilla sauce, it might be different elsewhere.
But it was a really fun bake!
I wonder if you can add some coconut or a little almond extract?
Susan Drake says
I wonder how it would be with a fruit topping…..like blueberries or cherries?
Hi Susan, it’s certainly worth a try but I think this cake tastes wonderful on its own. Thanks for visiting!
I found your recipe on Pinterest and have wanted to make it for some time. Thank you for writing the directions so clearly. that makes all the difference in the world.
Thanks for visiting Melinie!
It’s really yummy n easy.thanks!
So easy ,just love it.
It’s really easy n yummy.thanks
Gelda Timm says
I can’t wait to try it. I will let you know how i get on.
Sounds fabulous–I’m going to try it! Do you think that some coconut milk could be substituted along with the plain milk for a different twist?
I haven’t tried substituting coconut milk but it sounds like it would be really good. Let us know how it turns out.
I just made this for some company this afternoon. I way overbeat the egg whites; they were more like a dense foam than soft peaks. However, I still achieved three layers. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9×13″ ceramic dish lined with parchment. I doubled the vanilla and used vanilla bean paste instead. It had a nice light flavor that paired well with blackberries. I do agree that it tastes a little “eggy”., but good. I am curious to te the chocolate and lemon versions now.
Pamela Fisher says
You do have a lovely site. Who does your photographs? They are wonderful. Love your recipes. I’ve been looking for a long while for the recipe for Cream Wafers. Yum! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Pamela, thank you for your kind words. I’m the photographer as well. You said you’ve been looking for the recipe for cream wafers? …then I’m so glad I posted it! Thanks for visiting!
ann marie says
Just came across your beautiful blog. Everything looks scrumptious. Thanks for taking the time and effort to put this amazing site together.
Hi Ann Marie, thanks so much for your wonderful comments. I really appreciate it!
Stacie Suriner says
This cake is amazing! I had no problem getting it to bake perfectly and it was delicious. My whole family loved it. I will definitely be making this again.
I followed the recipe exactly and baked for 50 min. when the top was nice and brown. But the inside was so loose that it gashed out when I cut it. What went wrong? Should I have just cooked longer?!
Sounds like it should have stayed in the oven a little bit longer. The top should be lightly golden and firm to the touch. When you jiggle it, it should wobble just a little.
This is an awesome recipe! I love how this comes out in three different textures with no additional effort. Amazing! Thank you so much for this and your website. Your recipes are unique, as is your site. You are doing a great job, and I truly appreciate you sharing.
oh wow! Thanks so much for the awesome comments! You have just made my day and put the biggest smile on my face. I truly appreciate your visit!
I’ve just put my first attempt in the oven, there are a lot of lumps because of the eggwhite, but I took the word ”gently” to heart because I have no idea what influence it would have if I went from folding to beating to get them out.
My only problem is that I have a motherload of batter left. I have a 8×8 inch pan, but I stopped pouring once there was about 1.5 cm of pan left. I don’t know how much it will rise and I’ll post an update later, but now my question: Could I have poured it further (that would mean there would have been about 5 cm of batter) and can I make another with the batter I have left? It would have to wait until tomorrow, would the batter still be fine or should I say better safe than sorry and just throw it out?
Hi Adrienne, I’m not sure what happened here. Fold in the egg whites to the point that no large lumps remain, a lot of small lumps are okay. I used an 8×8 inch pan with 2 inch sides and didn’t have a problem.
It turned out half decent. It got way too compact though, so I know next time I’ll pour in just a little more batter. Our oven is 20+ years old though, so it’s pretty safe to say that messed around with it.
In the end, I did see three layers. I personally found the taste too eggy, but my parents liked it, and next time I’ll just add a tad more vanilla. I Will try and make it again, As far as the lumpiness goes, that I got right at least.
I won’t be discouraged though, there’s always next time!
Oh my goodness…..probably my new favorite dessert! I think a little raspberry coulis would be delish under it too.
Adrian Mack says
This recipe is very similar to a South African recipe we call “Milk Tart”, only difference being we sprinkle the top with cinnamon and nutmeg when baking. Super delish!! One of my favorite childhood desserts!! This would be equally as good!!
Melinie M diLuck says
Yummy adding cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. Thank you for the suggestion.
How do you get this cake out of the pan after its cooled?????
Hi Liz, in the first step of the instructions, you were to line the pan with parchment paper. Did you do this? The parchment paper helps you to easily lift the cake out. If not, you could possibly cut the cake into squares, then using a flat spatula, lift each piece out. Hope this helps.
i’m sory I did not see tha parchment paper…….
I wil do that!
I am going to try it with Almond Milk, hope it turns out as good as all the above comments.
It sounds so good
Just checking to see if anyone has tried a dairy free version? My son is allergic to milk but this looks delicious.
One question that my husband has…..should this be stored in the refrigerator? Despite baking, it’s got eggs and milk.
Eddie said give it another 5 stars!!!
Hi Kathy, Yes it should be stored in the fridge. I’m so glad you and Eddie enjoyed the cake! Thanks for your comments, the 5 star rating and for stopping by! 🙂
should it be served at room temp. or should it be chilled first? sounds great.
It’s more personal preference. I like it slightly warm or at room temperature.
YUMMY!!! I made a double batch (so glad that I did). It’s really, really good.
Kathleen Yoing: A 9 x 13 would probably be perfect. I used a larger dish and it was a little too big. Didn’t affect the taste however, I will definitely make it again.
Kathleen Yoing says
has anyone doubled this recipe? Would it fit in 9×13?
Hi! Love this recipe but I’m trying to find out how I can make my version less ‘eggy’… Were the cold eggs to blame? I really was amazed by the result but the eggy smell was a little bit too much for me! Would love to hear your input..
Hi! Sorry to hear this. Just a thought but I’m wondering if the freshness of the eggs have anything to do with it.
Hi, I really want to try this recipe but I don’t have an 8×8 cake pan. Can I substitute a round spring pan? If so what size and would the baking time change?
Also I was thinking of making this as a birthday cake and stacking a couple of them on top of each other to give it more height! Any suggestions for frosting? Thank you so much 🙂
Hi Niki, The batter is quite thin so I don’t think a round springform pan would work. The batter will leak out from the bottom. A round 8 inch pan might work but again, oven temperature varies from oven to oven so you’d have to watch it carefully. I would advise against stacking this cake. It’s more of a single layer cake.
Fresh whipped cream would make a nice topping. Thanks for visiting and good luck with the cake!
I just found your blog, and I am SO HAPPY I did! This cake is probably one of the best things I have baked in a long time. It. Was. AMAZING. The bottom was dense, the middle was thick, very creamy and, of course, custardy. The top was thin, but cakey and the flavor reminiscent of the Pillowy Light Cloud Bread.
I used three quarters of a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, and it had a perfect, slightly vanilla-y flavor. Thank you for sharing!
Hi, thanks so much for your comments!!! This is exactly the reason why I started this blog, to share my favourite recipes. You tried the Cloud Bread too? YAY!
i was very intrigued by this recipe – I bake a lot, but I haven’t ever baked anything like this before. So, seeing that my husband loves anything “custard”, I baked it last night. And it’s delightful. A light, not-too-sweet, creamy flavor, and definitely custardy. 🙂 I had two pieces, and my husband ate the rest.
I made some fresh whipped cream to serve with it too.
The last step had me a bit worried, because as you said, the egg-whites were difficult to mix in, and took a lot of folding. In the end, I still had some lumps of egg whites in the batter, but it didn’t matter once it was baked. One tip though – the instructions say that the cake should be firm when it’s ready, but mine definitely didn’t feel firm after 60 minutes. I inserted a skewer, and then realized that doing that released some air that had been trapped below the surface, making it feel too soft. It was actually ready to come out of the oven.
Anyway, great recipe that gets a place in my “best recipes” app section. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Hi Rose, I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed it. Thanks for the tip and for stopping by!
Can I use splenda or another sugar substitute?
I haven’t tried splenda myself but I read another baker made a sugar free version and it was just as good.
I’ve come to make this yum looking cake, but where do you add the butter??
Hi Rena, Sorry about that. It’s in there now. Thanks!
Bev Magnuson says
What is the nutrition? Is this low carb with flour in it?
Hi Bev, here is what I have for the nutrition information. Thanks so much for visiting! Sorry for the late reply.
8×8 inch cake = 9 servings
Amount per serving: Calories: 228.5
Total Fat: 19.1 g Cholesterol: 31.5 mg Sodium: 51.4 g Carbohydrate: 27.0 g Fibre: 0.3 g Protein: 4.6 g
This cake looks so delicious. I’m looking forward to making it. I just found your blog today. Is there any way to follow you on Pinterest or Facebook? I would like to subscribe to your blog by e-mail. Do you have that option?
Hi Christy. I just added the social icons. You can now follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. I’m still setting up my site and don’t have the subscribe by email option yet but I will soon. Thanks so much for visiting!