Magic cakes are made simply of eggs, sugar, flour, butter and milk. So what's magic about that, you might ask. There may be nothing unusual about the ingredients, but the magic happens in the baking. The batter of the cake is very liquid, so it divides into three layers by itself, each with its own texture and flavour: the base of the cake is a dense, moist cake base; a light delicate cream forms in the middle; the top layer is a lovely light Genoise sponge.
Preparation: 35 minutes. Cooking time: 50 minutes. Resting time: 2 hours
1 vanilla pod
350 ml (11½ fl oz) milk
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon water
45 g (1¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
100 g (3½ oz) sweetened chestnut purée
90 g (3¼ oz) butter
70 g (2½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
pinch of salt
60 g (2 oz) marrons glacés, broken into small pieces
Yule log cake tin, lined with silicone or greased with butter and lined with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F/Gas 3).
Split the vanilla pod down the middle and scrape out the seeds with the blade of a knife. Heat the milk with the vanilla seeds and the pod.
Bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat and leave to infuse.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and water until the mixture whitens. Then add the chestnut purée.
Melt the butter and pour it into the mixture. Add the fl our and salt then beat for a few minutes.
Remove the vanilla pod then pour in the milk little by little, whisking constantly.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and, using a whisk, gently incorporate them into the batter.
Sprinkle the bottom of the Yule log tin with broken marrons glacés, then pour in the batter.
Smooth the surface with the blade of a knife.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. When the cake comes out of the oven it will wobble slightly.
Before turning it out, leave it to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Chef ’s tip
You can also make an icing by whipping 200 ml (7 fl oz) whipping cream with 120 g (4 oz) mascarpone until the mixture thickens, then gradually adding 30 g (1 oz) caster sugar, whipping constantly.
Decorate with a few whole marrons glacés or broken pieces.
This recipe is an extract from Magic Cakes: Three Cakes in One by Christelle Huet-Gomez (Hardie Grant, £9.99).