Magic Custard Pudding Cake, Ottolenghi's Herb Pie and a Party for a Very Special Little Peanut!

4/14/2013 06:23:00 PM

Magic Custard Pudding Cake
We saw this Magic Custard Pudding Cake on Pinterest a little while ago, swiftly baked it, and fell totally head-over-heels in love. It's such a simple cake - no icing, no choc-chips, no flavourings apart from vanilla - but is so very delicious! It also seems to get a lot of love when I Instagram it - loads of people ask for the recipe, and one of my friends baked it twice in the week after I shared the picture!

I got the recipe from White on Rice Couple (I've rewritten the recipe in my own words, below, with some very slight adaptations), which itself was adapted from Pasteles de Colores - but as far as I can tell, this is a classic American cake, with hundreds of variations from household to household.

You make a single batter, and during the baking time it separates into three layers: a fluffy cake-like layer on the top, a denser, slightly squishy and gelatinous base (think Nyonya kuih), and the best bit: a soft, warm vanilla custard in the middle.

Let's have a look at the making of the cake. You start with vanilla-infused warm milk. (I used a vanilla pod and vanilla extract, rather than just the vanilla extract suggested in the original recipe)...
Vanilla-infused milk
...a buttery, eggy batter...
Eggy-buttery base
...and whipped egg whites!
Whipped egg whites
The batter is very liquidy, and it's difficult to combine the egg whites in evenly - the egg whites seem to rise to the top as soon as you've folded them in. I figure this excessive liquidity is what enables the batter to separate as it bakes.
Cake batter
Ta-dah! You're supposed to let it cool completely before cutting it into squares, but it smells too good! I've never been able to let it cool beyond lukewarm.

Baked and unwrapped

I made this cake as my contribution for April and Hubby's baby shower, as well as Ottolenghi's herb pie. (The recipe is in Jerusalem, as well as in his Guardian column). You see, we've started getting an organic veggie box delivered every week, and on this particular week there was a huuuuge bunch of silverbeet in there. Silverbeet is actually one of the few foods I actually loathe, and I figured I'd need a killer recipe to use it up. Ottolenghi to the rescue! I figured that a recipe with silverbeet (AKA Swiss chard), with three types of cheese, filo pastry and loads of butter would have to be good!

So much green!
It took ages to make, and it was quite a bit of work washing and chopping the silverbeet, cooking it, chopping and adding herbs and onions... and this was before assembling the pie itself. Whilst it was very tasty, I don't know if it was worth a whole afternoon of work. However, it was a good way to use up all the herbs in my fridge, as well as the silverbeet, of course!

Rather than making one big pie, I made the pie in large cylinders to make it easier to share, and to maximise the ratio of buttery pastry-to-filling!
Herb Pie
Herb Pie

Here's a pic of the food table at the baby shower... food bloggers sure know how to throw a party!

I loved Shellie's peanut butter jelly cake and her ondeh ondeh, April's pulled pork and cheese pastries and her pizza scrollsWince's super-spicy otak-otak and his green tea cheesecake, Cherrie's amazeballs banoffee pie and ube macapuno cake, Adrian's spring rolls, I-Hua's peanut butter cookies, her chocolate ganache lamingtons and Zeboy's sticky pork belly with red nam jim sauce, Agnes' pork and lamb sliders with homemade buns, Thanh's peach frangipane tart, Kat's Thai tea-flavoured cupcakes and her spicy chicken wings, and Daisy's Hot Cross Muffins and Easter cupcakes!

Here's the recipe for the magic custard pudding cake: enjoy!

Magic Custard Pudding Cake
Recipe slightly adapted from White on Rice Couple, which itself was adapted from Pasteles de Colores

113 grams unsalted butter
1 vanilla pod
500 millilitres milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
150 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon water
150 grams flour

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
Melt the butter and set aside.
Slice the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place seeds and pod in a saucepan with the milk. Heat to just below boiling point, then turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and allow to infuse while you get on with the rest of the recipe.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Scrape into a separate bowl and set aside.
In the same mixer (no need to wash out the bowl or whisk), whisk the egg yolks and sugar until lightened and aerated.
Now, switch to a hand whisk! Pour in the tablespoon of water and the melted butter and whisk to combine. Sift over the flour and whisk gently to combine and remove lumps.
Remove the vanilla pod from the warm milk, and slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking gently.
Fold in the beaten egg whites using a whisk. (The mixture will be very liquid, so don't worry too much about getting the egg whites combined perfectly, just mix until there are no big bits of egg white left).
Pour the mixture into the lined tin, and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and mostly firm. (It should jiggle a little if you shake the pan, but it shouldn't seem liquid beneath the crust).
Allow to cool before dusting with icing sugar and cutting into squares.
Makes 1 x 20cm square cake

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  1. Yum! I love easy to bake cakes and have been saying I need to get back into my baking game, so will have to try this out! Looks like it was a great baby shower, so much food!! :)

  2. Aha! I wonder if that is closer to how my snickerdoodle cake was supposed to turn out? The recipe promised gooey, I just got cakey. :-/

    I'll have to try this version next time.

  3. Peanut's baby shower was the first one I"ve gone too :) And it was so much fun and lots of food~ Loved this Magic Custard pudding cake never thought it was possible to put a pudding in a cake! Super clever!

  4. That looks incredible! And yes like magic as per the name. Love the look of the texture!

  5. My mum made that type of cake all through my childhood, except ours had coconut (mmmm, crispy coconut top) and was called Impossible Pie. Scrummy!

  6. Oh man I can still taste that amazing Filo herb pie.. I LOVE OTTOLENGHI (he has a hot accent).. but.. Mmmmmm

  7. Anonymous3:54 PM

    Hi! I've been reading this blog for so long, I wish this comment was solely for some well-deserved compliments - however - I really want to make this cake to take to the in-laws tonight, does it use plain flour or self-raising? Sorry! Stupid question. Love the blog

  8. Melinda - plain flour! Thank-you for your comment :) hope you like the cake :)

  9. Hurrah! The recipe is out for the magic custard pudding cake!! Print print print print!! Loved it!

  10. The texture of the pud is soo good. A very unusual recipe indeed.
    I am a food blogger from Melbourne and bumped in your page whilst surfing the digital world.
    Will try this recipe soon.



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