Vanilla Souffle Custard Cake, a.k.a. “Magic Cake”

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This week more than ever, we all need a little magic in our lives. I’ll be the first to admit that while writing and talking with friends has helped me process last week’s election results, the tension and atmosphere on campus, coupled with the flood of frankly terrifying news this week, have led to more than one late-night baking session on my part this week.

But kindness begets good, and that’s how I ended up in my kitchen making this Vanilla Souffle Custard Cake at 2 AM one night. I first stumbled across the recipe at Jo Cooks, where the promise of cake, custard, and souffle all wrapped up in one snuggly pan reached out through the screen to me. The name magic cake comes from the fact that even though the dessert consists of three clearly defined layers, it only requires one batter: magic!

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I’m making this cake again for both Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving this year–and if you’re a blogger, you know that repeating a recipe just because it’s so darn delicious is kinda a BIG deal. (I’m also making and sharing a CHOCOLATE version of this magic cake next week: stay tuned!) My favorite part of this dessert is the contrast in textures: the creamy, custard-y filling in the middle offers the perfect foil for an airy, light souffle layer that simply melts in your mouth. Just make sure when you make this not to completely fold in or whisk away the egg whites: the lightness of those whites, coupled with the denseness of the rest of the batter, is the key factor that will turn an ordinary cake into a magical three-layer cake (with minimal effort)!

Sending best wishes to my friends all across this country and the world round. May your Thanksgivings and holiday season be filled with love, laughter, and lots of magic cake!

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Vanilla Souffle Custard Cake, a.k.a. “Magic Cake”

Vanilla Souffle Custard Cake, a.k.a. “Magic Cake”

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This vanilla souffle custard cake really is magic! One easy-to-make batter bakes into three layers in the oven: a cake base, a creamy custard middle, and an unbelievably airy souffle on top. Best of all, it's so elegant and delicious that everyone will want the recipe! Recipe slightly adapted from Jo Cooks.


  • 4 eggs, room temperature and separated
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm milk
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a metal bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer on low for 30 seconds, then add 1 tablespoon white sugar and continue beating on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, use hand mixer to beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and butter; continue mixing for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Fold in flour and salt.
  5. Slowly beat in milk until completely incorporated.
  6. Gently fold egg whites (1/3 at a time) into batter. Note: this will seem extremely difficult to do gently since your egg whites will float around in the batter as you fold. Don't worry: you should still see some white bits in the batter when you're finished. Be sure not to whisk the egg whites, since doing so will deflate your cake.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-55 minutes in preheated oven, or until custard layer has set and the center of the pan jiggles only slightly when shaken.
  8. Serve warm or allow to chill overnight for at least 6 hours before dusting with powdered sugar and serving. Store leftovers in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator.



26 Replies to “Vanilla Souffle Custard Cake, a.k.a. “Magic Cake””

  1. This does look like magic! Totally worth trying — thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by as always, John! Happy holiday-ing!

  2. I’ve seen this before around the blogosphere, but your photos have convinced me it’s a must try recipe!! I know I can work it in between pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies!! It truly looks like a dreamy treat!!! Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving, Ala!!! xoxo

    1. oh, I’m just sitting here lamenting the year that I let go by between seeing this recipe and making it. A must-try for sure, Liz! Happy holidays!!

  3. for friendsgiving and thanksgiving? well dang. if that isn’t an endorsement, idk what is (: i’ve done a flan and cake swap dessert before, but this 1 batter version sounds a lot more appropriate to make during the holiday craziness!

    1. omg what is a flan and cake swap and how can I get in on that??

        1. OMG yas please

  4. Oh wow! I saw this magic cake on Jo Cooks and on Nagi’s Recipe Tin Eats and every time I feast my eyes on it – it just seems to get more magical looking! I so need to try my hand at making this – you sure are right Ala, kindness rules always!

    1. Yes yes yes–and you’re one of the kindest people I know, so this is even more perfect. Sending you all the best, Shashi!

  5. This is the perfect cake after last week. Looks so yummy and magical! Perfect for any holiday party – hope you have a blast, Ala! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kelly–sending you all the best after this week, too! xo

  6. Well yes, we all could certainly use some magic this week! And kindness too. I’ve also seen this recipe floating around the internet and really need to give it a try. I would love to share with family and friends. “how about a slice of magic?” That would be fabulous!

    1. haha I’m stealing that one-liner, Deb–thank you for always brightening my day with your positive thoughts!

  7. I saw this and totally made it that very night for a work birthday celebration at work the next day. It was really yummy and definitely set up into 3 layers! Thank you so much, it was a hit! 🙂

    1. eeee this makes me so happy! Thanks for reporting back, Andrea, and I’m SO glad that you all loved it! <3 I'm actually off to make it again tonight ;)

  8. Souffle in a cake? sounds pretty much perfect! I am going to have to pull this one out for christmas I think!

    1. oh my gosh Ruby, I just made this again this weekend for a Friendsgiving party and it was a total hit. Do, do, do! <3

    2. omg Ruby I just made this again this weekend for a Friendsgiving party and it was a smash hit. Do, do, do! <3

  9. Look so yummy! I can do it at night and it’s ready for breakfast tomorrow morning! Thanks for your recipe!!!

    1. omg this cake for breakfast sounds AMAZING. great idea, Sabrina!!

  10. Wow ! your recipe is laughing with me. I might be make it for my next weekend. Wish you will create more in future for us. Thanks a lot.

  11. Wendy Chiarella says: Reply

    Can a sugar substitute be used instead of regular sugar?

    1. Hey Wendy! As in most baking recipes, a standard 1-for-1 sugar substitute shouldn’t be a problem. Hope this helps–happy baking!

  12. This sounds absolutely delicious. I’m on a special diet so will have to wait several months to make it unless I can cut a lot of the sugar out. For now can I sub stevia for the sugar or will that affect the texture too much? If not my family will not get to enjoy this for a while and, worse, neither will I!

    1. Hey Rosemary! As in many standard baking recipes, a typical 1-for-1 sugar substitute shouldn’t be too big a problem (or you can cut it half and half if you’re feeling flexible). I hope this helps–can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you! It’s heavenly!

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