What’s better than Chocolate Cake? Chocolate MAGIC Cake, that’s what. Fudgy base, covered with creamy ganache and topped off with a layer of super soft sponge. All made out of one batter mix. How good is that?
Chocolate Magic Cake – 3 layers – 1 batter – easy peasy
Magic cakes have been around for quite a while now, so many of you will probably be familiar with them. For those of you who have come across these cakes before, please treat this as a refresher. For the rest of you, you are in for a treat.
A magic cake is simply a cake that is baked out of a single batter, but which transforms magically into 3 layers during the baking process. At the bottom there is the fudgy base, in the middle is a delicious custardy ganache, and it is all topped off with a layer of the lightest of light sponge cake.
I got the inspiration for this recipe from Jo Cooks, who is the queen of Magic Cakes. I’ve adapted it slightly to reduce the amount of cocoa as I found the chocolate flavour was a little too strong for my taste. I increased the amount of flour to compensate. You need 190g flour/cocoa in total – you can adjust to suit your own taste.
How is this possible?
I did some research to find out how this all works. Spoiler alert … it’s not really magic – it’s all based on science.
Apparently there are 3 factors that influence the way the cake separates during baking:
- the high ratio of liquid to flour
- the beaten egg whites in the final step
- the lower cooking temperature
Because of the lower cooking temperature, some of the flour has time to settle at the bottom of the cake forming the delicious fudgy base.
Then the liquid and the egg yolks coagulate and set into the creamy custard centre.
Finally the air in the egg whites causes the rest of the ingredients to rise to the top forming the light and airy sponge cake.
I also discovered that Magic Cakes are believed to have originated in Romania, and are called Prajitura Desteapta. Google translates this literally as ‘Smart Cake’ which is pretty appropriate.
How to make a Chocolate Magic Cake
First you need to separate your eggs and beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Here’s some more magic for you – if the egg whites are stiff enough you should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head and the egg whites will magically stay in the bowl.
Next, you beat the egg yolks with the water and the sugar until the mixture almost doubles in size and turns a pale yellow. This cake is all about incorporating as much air as possible.
The third step is to mix the melted butter with the vanilla and salt and drizzle that into the mixture, beating all the time. The consistency of the batter will resemble a pancake mixture.
Now sift the flour and cocoa and mix 1/3 of it into the cake batter. Repeat this twice more until all the flour has been incorporated and there are no lumps.
Finally fold in the egg whites. You should do this very gently and you don’t need to break down the lumps of egg white. The result should be a batter with small lumps of egg white floating in it.
This is a picture of my batter in the cake tin. I actually think I could have left a little more egg white floating around. Looking at the picture of my cake though, I think it turned out pretty well.
The temperature of the oven is important – it should be 150C / 325F, which means you need a longer cooking time than a normal cake, which will allow the ‘magic’ to happen. Depending on your oven you will need to bake this cake for anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour. My cake took 50 minutes.
As the cake bakes, it will look as though the edges are rising and the middle is sunken. Don’t worry, the middle catches up eventually. You can see from the picture below what the finished cake looks like.
The cake will be ready when the sponge topping springs back when you press it with your finger, and if you shake the tin, the cake should not jiggle.
This is a picture of my finished cake. It has a bit of a crack on the top, possibly because I may have over-baked it slightly. If this happens to yours, just cover it with whipped cream – no one will know, and it will still taste amazing.
Chocolate Magic Cake
- 4 large Eggs separated
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 125 g Butter or margarine melted
- 140 g Flour
- 50 g Cocoa powder
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
- Preheat oven to 150°C / 325°F
- Grease and flour a 9 inch square cake pan. See Note 1
- Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff
- Place the egg yolks, water and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat very well until pale yellow in colour and the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the melted butter, vanilla and salt and beat well.
- Sift in the flour and cocoa and stir until well combined. The mixture will be very runny at this stage.
- Add the beaten egg whites and stir through until combined. The consistency should be like a thin pancake batter. See Note 3.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and place in the preheated oven
- Bake for approximately 50 minutes. See note 4.
- Allow to cool and cut into squares.
- Tip – if you are making a chocolate cake then flour the tin with a little cocoa rather than flour.
- Beat well at each step to ensure that all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Don’t beat all the air out of the egg whites at this stage, just mix through gently. It is OK if there are still small lumps of egg white showing.
- Keep your eye on the cake, don’t over-cook it. Different ovens will behave differently. The cake is done when it springs back when pressed with a finger (feels spongy) and no longer wobbles. You may need 5 minutes less or additional time.
If you enjoyed this Magic Chocolate Cake why not pin it for later?
If you made this Chocolate Magic Cake and enjoyed it please comment and let me know. I intend to experiment a bit and see whether I can manage to make any Magic Muffins. If they turn out I’ll add a post on those for you as well.
If you enjoyed this cake, perhaps you’d like to try my South African Melk Tert, a traditional South African tart, very similar to an English custard tart.