Monday, April 20, 2015

Magic Chocolate Custard Layers Cake 奇妙多層朱古力蛋糕

The original name of this cake is prajitura desteapta which means "smart cake" in Romanian. This cake is also often referred to as magic cake because there are different layers and textures baked from one single batter. As you bite into the cake, you will be amazed by the different textures. I was intrigued by it and started to search for the rationale behind it.

The way it is prepared is basically the same as any chiffon or sponge cake. The eggs are separated from the yolks, which are mixed with the sugar, fat, liquid and flour while the whites are beaten to stiff peaks. Then the two are reunited and baked.

What makes it different from ordinary cake is the temperature of the oven and the amount of liquid. I am always amazed by how understanding the science can make one a better baker.

Knowledge is power!!

The low 320F oven temperature allows the starch in the batter to settle to the bottom before it coagulates. The amount of liquid in the recipe is almost 50% of the weight of the batter vs. 10-15% of a regular chiffon cake. This contributes to the creamy custard layer, very much like the texture of an egg tart.

The top layer is fluffy and soft just like regular cake, which is leavened by the air incorporated in the egg whites.

Not convinced? Try it yourself and you will be amazed, too!




Ingredients for making a 9x9x2 inch square or 9 inch round cake:

4 large eggs 蛋
150g sugar, separated into 125g and 25g 糖
125g unsalted butter, melted 牛油溶液
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 雲呢哪香油
65g cake flour, sifted 低筋粉
50g unsweetened cocoa powder, alkalized, or preferably Dutched 谷古粉 (click here to find out the difference between natural and alkalized)
500g whole milk, room temperature 全脂牛奶
1 tbsp water 水
½ tsp cream of tartar 他他粉
pinch of salt 鹽

1) Preheat oven to 320F. Line the bottom of the cake pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one laid on top, perpendicular to the other.

2) Separate the egg whites and yolks. Melt butter in a microwave. Sift flour together with the cocoa powder.
3) Whisk the yolks together with 125g sugar and 1 tbsp water until pale, about 2 minutes.

4) Add butter and vanilla. Whisk well, about 1 minute.
5) Add the flour mixture and a pinch of salt. Whisk until incorporated.
6) Add milk. Mix well. Set aside.
7) In another clean bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Then add 25g sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

8) Mix the two mixtures together by scooping the whites into the yolk batter and mixing with a whisk.

9) Pour the batter onto the prepared pan and bake for an hour. When it's done, the top of the cake should be golden brown and will jiggle a little when you shake the pan. Turn off the oven and leave the cake inside to cool.

10) After the cake has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for a few hours to let the layers set before serving.

1) Due to the highly liquid nature of the batter, use of a springform pan is not recommended.
2) Two pieces of parchment paper are laid perpendicularly because they help to lift up the heavy cake after baking. Alternatively, you can grease and flour the pan and serve the cake directly from the pan without lifting the whole cake out.
3) Do not over bake. Over baking would make the middle custard layer become the bottom layer.
4) If the milk is from the refrigerator, warm it a bit in the microwave. Cold milk will harden the butter in the batter.
5) The cake is very fragile. Handle with care to avoid cracking -_-

1) 預熱焗爐至320度。焗盤上垂直放上兩張焗爐紙。
2) 將蛋分開蛋白與黃。麵粉與谷古粉過篩。牛油用微波爐溶解。
3) 蛋黃加125g糖與一湯匙水打約兩分鐘至奶白色。
4) 加牛油溶液與雲呢哪香油,攪勻約一分鐘。
5) 加麵粉及一小撮鹽,攪勻。
6) 加牛奶,拌勻。
7) 在另一清潔碗內放蛋白及他他粉,打至約五成起。加25g糖,再打至硬身。
8) 將蛋黃麵糊與蛋白混合,倒入焗盤內,入爐焗約一小時。
9) 一小時後將焗爐關掉,讓蛋糕在爐內慢慢降溫。涼後放雪櫃幾小時後才享用。

1) 不建議用兩件式焗盤,因為麵糊很稀,容易漏。
2) 焗爐紙垂直鋪焗盤可以有助將蛋糕焗後整個移出。
3) 蛋糕不可焗過熟。
4) 牛奶要室溫,太凍會令牛油凝固。
5) 此蛋糕要特別小心輕手處理,因有不同質地的層次,非常易碎。

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