I love a gimmick. So I could not resist when I saw this recipe go up online. How would this cake work, that purportedly separates into cake and custard? I once made Magic Custard Pies, where by mixing the egg custard batter with a cup of Bisquick, a crust would magically form on the bottom (one could also make a quiche in this fashion). But in this recipe, the cake rises to the top…
Also attractive about the recipe: Adam Liaw was the winner of a Masterchef Australia season that we may have watched nearly all the way through. He’s articulate and smart, and I like his recipes.
Also: I’m rather partial to custard.
The recipe, which you can find here on the Good Food website, requires no special ingredients and with our handy mixer, was not particularly difficult to make. We found some marvelous bitter marmalade at Harris Farm (not a farm, but an Australian grocery chain), and needed to replenish our supply of icing sugar.
I admit that I was a bit nervous: I could see many possibilities of failure. Were the egg yolks and sugar pale and fluffy enough? Were the egg whites stiff enough? What was the purpose of whisking in one teaspoon of white vinegar into them? What if my technique for folding half of the egg whites into the batter wasn’t much different than the one for mixing in the other half?
But, in the end, it seemed like a success: even my technique of lining a round tin with baking paper was successful. The cake came out of the springform pan beautifully. There was a thick layer of custard at the bottom, a cake-like layer on top (quite light), and even a thin crust at the bottom. It wasn’t super sweet, and I thought it was nice but not particularly refined. Perhaps not dinner party material.
Then Susan, below, commented on my original post. As you can see, she said the custard was beautifully light and the cake spongy. Hmm. I could see that I didn’t do it right the first time, having gone by the suggested time of 45 minutes rather than the note that the middle should be ‘very wobbly’ in the centre (in fact, there was no wobble at all by the time I got to it).
So, the second time, I watched it like a hawk after it was in the oven 30 minutes… In fact, it didn’t look right to me until basically the 40 minute mark. Then, after it went in the fridge for a few hours, that night: Oh My God. A creamy, soft custard, even runny in the middle, and set firmly at the sides. And a nice layer of sponge. And definitely dinner party material. I served it twice in a week, once on the Wednesday night and then on the Friday, saving the ignominy of having eaten an entire cake by myself.