Magic vanilla cake – three cakes in one

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - CHRIS­TELLE HUET-GOMEZ

Magic cakes are sim­ply eggs, sugar, flour, but­ter and milk. The magic hap­pens in the bak­ing. The liq­uid bat­ter di­vides into three lay­ers: a dense, moist base; a del­i­cate creamy mid­dle and the top layer of light sponge. The yolks, beaten with sugar, but­ter, flour and milk, form the base and cream. The beaten egg whites form the Genoise sponge layer. Slow cook­ing at 150°C cooks the bot­tom like a cake with­out cook­ing the up­per part. It is best to use a con­ven­tional rather than fan-as­sisted oven.

The golden rules of a magic cake are: use the only the spec­i­fied tin size and ideally a sil­i­cone cake tin which is eas­ier to turn out; gen­tly in­cor­po­rate the egg whites into the mix­ture with a whisk so they don’t dis­solve into the bat­ter — lumps will re­main and the whites float­ing on the sur­face should be smoothed with the blade of a knife be­fore bak­ing; the baked cake should still have a slight wob­ble, which will set when chilled. The up­per layer will be well baked and golden. Cook­ing time given is for con­ven­tional ovens — re­duce tem­per­a­tures by 10°C for fan-as­sisted; wait for the cake to set be­fore turn­ing it out – chill for at least 2 hours.

Magic cakes taste bet­ter af­ter a few hours, or even overnight, in the fridge — so be pa­tient!

It is very im­por­tant to beat the yolks and sugar to­gether well, un­til the mix­ture whitens; and then to in­cor­po­rate the egg whites gen­tly us­ing the whisk, with­out mix­ing too much. You should still have large lumps. Serves: 8 Prepa­ra­tion: 20 min­utes Cook­ing: 50 min­utes plus rest­ing time: 1-2 hours

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

2 vanilla pods

500ml milk

4 eggs, sep­a­rated

150g caster sugar

1 sa­chet vanilla sugar

1 tbsp wa­ter

125g but­ter

110g plain flour

Pinch of salt

METHOD

Grease a 24cm cake tin with but­ter and line with bak­ing parch­ment or, ideally, use a sil­i­cone cake tin.

Split the vanilla pods down the mid­dle and scrape out the seeds. Heat the milk with the vanilla seeds and the open pods. Bring to the boil, im­me­di­ately re­move from the heat and leave to in­fuse for at least 1 hour. The more in­fused the vanilla, the more in­tense the taste.

Pre­heat the oven to 150°C.

Whisk the yolks with the sug­ars and wa­ter un­til the mix­ture whitens. Melt the but­ter and stir it into the mix­ture. Fold in the flour and salt and beat for a few min­utes un­til well com­bined.

Re­move the vanilla pods from the milk and pour it into the bat­ter lit­tle by lit­tle, whisk­ing con­stantly.

Beat the egg whites un­til stiff and, us­ing a whisk, gen­tly in­cor­po­rate them into the bat­ter.

Pour the bat­ter into the greased tin, then smooth the sur­face with the blade of a knife and bake in the oven for 50 min­utes.

When the cake comes out of the oven it will wob­ble slightly. Be­fore turn­ing it out, re­frig­er­ate for at least 2 hours.

Serve chilled.

Adapted from Magic Cakes: Three cakes in one! Hardie Grant, £7.99

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