M is for Magic Cake!
Magic Cake... "what on earth is that?" I hear you ask (as I did when I first heard about Magic Cake).
All I can tell you about the history of this cake is that it originates in Romania & is also known as 'Intelligent Cake'. I can't seem to find any information as to who invented it or how old the recipe is (so if you come across that information yourself, I would be really interested to know!).
Now, I must tell you that I had some Magic Cake last night for dessert when it had cooled from the oven & was at room temperature. I then kept the cake (still in the Pyrex dish that I baked it in) in the fridge overnight with some cling wrap over the top & have just tried a piece cold from the fridge. It's definitely best eaten cold. So store it in an airtight container or in the dish you baked it in & covered in cling wrap in the fridge. You can easily cut it into pieces & then all that's left for you to do is enjoy it nice & cold!
- Preheat your oven to 160 C (the golden rule if using fan bake is to reduce the temperature by 20 C).
- First thing to do is separate the eggs. You want the egg yolks to go into the bowl of your free standing electric mixer or into a medium sized stainless steel bowl if you are using a hand held electric mixer. Place the egg whites into a separate small bowl & leave to one side. Be careful not to get any egg yolks in the egg whites as this will effect how well the egg yolks froth up later on when you beat them.
- Add the water & sugar to the egg yolks & using the whisk attachment on your beater, beat together on a medium speed until all the sugar is combined & the mixture is smooth & resembles a runny custard.
- Melt the butter & then add this to the egg yolks along with the vanilla essence & salt. Mix well, stopping the mixer to scrape around the sides of the bowl if need be to ensure that the butter is fully combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour & cocoa together & then gradually add a third of it at a time to the egg yolk & butter mix, ensuring that you beat well to combine after each addition. You will probably need to stop the beater a couple of times & use a spatula to scrape the bottom & sides of the bowl before beating again. When all the flour & cocoa is combined, you'll end up with a very thick cake mixture.
- Turn the beater off for a moment & then warm the milk in the microwave for around 1.5 mins. Switch your beater on to a slow speed & then gradually pour in the milk. As you add the milk, the mixture will thin out & what you'll end up with is basically a 'chocolate milkshake'. Once again, you'll need to stop the beater & scrape the sides & bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is combined & there are no lumps.
- Once you've got your 'chocolate milkshake', you'll need to pour it all into another large bowl & leave to one side.
- You'll need to beat the egg whites next so wash the beater bowl & whisk attachment & then dry them thoroughly with a clean, dry tea towel. You don't want there to be any trace of water in the bowl or on the whisk because it will effect how well the egg whites froth up when you whisk them.
- Add egg whites to your beater bowl along with the vinegar. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on a high speed for a few minutes until they reach the stiff peak stage (you'll know when they reach this stage because they should be stiff enough that you can tip the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out. Do this slowly though... just in case they've not quite reached that stage!).
- Remove the bowl with the egg whites & sit it next to the bowl with your chocolate mixture. It's time to mix the two together!
- Now, the consistency of the two mixtures is vastly different so you'll first need to add a spoonful of egg white to your chocolate mixture & fold it in with a spatula. Next, do the opposite & take a spoonful of chocolate mixture & fold it in to the egg whites. THEN - gradually add spoonfuls of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, sort of folding & gently stirring with a spatula after each addition. Once all of the egg white mixture is combined, your chocolate mixture should resemble a slightly frothy pancake batter.
- Pour the mixture into your baking dish & bake in the oven for around 60-65 minutes.
- Watch while the cake 'magically' separates into its layers (ta-da!).
- The cake will end up with a dry sponge top so you can check that its cooked by lightly pressing your finger on the top in the middle. If the sponge has a bit of a spring to it, it's ready. The top of my cake had a couple of small cracks in it too - which is another way of knowing that it's probably cooked right through to the middle or close to it. Don't worry if the cake still jiggles around a bit in the middle, this is normal.
- Leave the cake in the baking dish to cool completely before cutting it into squares for serving.