This recipe is dedicated to Suzy, who got married yesterday. She is always inspiring me to push myself with my cooking and try new things.
This cake is like no other cake I have made before. A pudding-y kind of cake, the batter separates into layers as it cooks, creating a light baked top, and thick custardy base. When it is baked it doesn’t look all that inspiring, sunken, brownish and a bit lumpy on the top. But when you cut into the cake it is revealed as a rose-pink squidgy slice of heaven.
I saw this recipe on an American blog, but have converted all of the measurements into metric. American measurements really bother me – the vagueness of cups is just so problematic, and ounces seem like an entirely foreign concept. Bee Wilson discusses it really well in her excellent book Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, which I highly recommend if you are a nerdy foodie like me.
Freeze-dried fruit powder is brilliant. It adds all the flavour of fruit without adding any extra moisture. Fruit powder can be found in Whole Food Market and other similarly poncey foodie shops, or you can do what I do, any buy it online from Healthy Supplies.
Be aware that the batter for this cake is a bit tricky and lumpy, and a lot runnier than cake should be. The first time I made this I thought it was going to fail completely, but it came out really lovely.
Probably makes about 9 servings
4 eggs, separated (at room temperature)
1 tbsp water
150g caster sugar
110g butter (or margarine) melted
40g freeze-dried raspberry powder (or use another kind of fruit powder, like cherry or blueberry)
115g plain flour
500ml warmish milk (I used almond milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (150 with fan)
Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, water and vanilla until pale and creamy. Then add the melted butter and mix for another minute. Sift in the raspberry powder and flour, and mix until fully incorporated.
Add the warm milk and mix again. Gently fold in the eggs whites (as best you can, its tricky). Pour the batter (which will be very liquidy) into a greased baking dish (either 20 or 23 cm - I used a circular lose-bottomed cake tin).
Bake the custard cake for 50 -60 minutes, or until the top is golden and there is just a slight jiggle in the cake. Cool the cake in the pan for three hours before un-moulding.