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RECIPE: Custard Cake

A modern twist on Flan.

This recipe is a little challenging to make only because it requires a lot of patience. But, if you are a fan of flan you will definitely enjoy this dessert. It encompasses two very different consistencies, allowing you to enjoy custard and cake together. This recipe also allows you to learn and showcase different cooking techniques such as making caramel.

Ingredients 

For caramel:

1 cup white sugar   
1/4 cup of water                                                                   

For the custard:

6 eggs (yolks and whites)
1 cup of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 tsp. of finely grated lemon rind

For the cake:

3 egg yolks
1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of white sugar
3/4 cup of cake flour
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/4 cup of milk
3 egg whites
1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of white sugar

 

Directions:

For caramel:

First, place the sugar and water in a thick bottomed pan. For about half a cup of caramel, use 1 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Just place them in the pan and don’t stir. Turn the heat to high and bring the water and sugar to the boil without stirring. Then, lower the heat to medium-high and continue boiling. After about 8 minutes, the mixture will start to brown. If the mixture along the edges of the pan brown much faster, swirl the pan to even out the coloring. Continue boiling until the liquid is the color of amber. Pour into buttered cake pan. 

For the custard:

Place all ingredients into a bowl. Mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not beat as you do not want air bubbles in the mixture. Place a strainer over the baking pan and pour in the custard mixture. 

For the cake:

Sift together the cake flour and baking powder. Place the 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of sugar and egg yolks in a bowl. Beat until smooth and lemon colored. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, mixing after each addition. After all the flour and milk have been added, mix until the batter is smooth. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the second 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. of sugar little by little while beating continuously. Continue beating until the egg white mixture is stiff. Now you mix the egg yolk and egg white mixtures together. Remember that the reason you beat the egg white to stiff peaks is to create all those tiny air bubbles. Work carefully so as not to break them. Add half of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber scraper and the cut and fold technique, blend the two mixtures together. Remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, add this blended mixture to the remaining half of the egg white mixture, and continue cutting and folding until the mixture is well blended and the color is even. Again, remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. No streaks of white nor yellow should be visible. 

Pour the cake batter over the custard. Unless you overworked the mixtures and the tiny bubble burst, the cake batter should float on the custard. Using a spatula, smoothen the top of the batter carefully. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. This is an upside-down cake and so the top becomes the bottom, and out of view, when you serve the cake. Just make sure that all the sides are sealed with the cake batter so that the custard does not boil over it during baking. Place the cake pan in a larger pan half-filled with hot (not boiling) water. Bake in a preheated 350oF oven for 50 minutes to an hour. Cool the cake completely. After an hour or two, you can continue cooling it in the fridge if you’re really in a hurry to serve it.

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