Magic Vanilla Cake Recipe Does Something Crazy & Delicious While Baking by Donna John

Magic Vanilla Cake Recipe Does Something Crazy & Delicious While Baking

A magic cake? The magic of this vanilla magic cake recipe is that it separates into two layers from one batter when it bakes. Some of my family thought it tasted like bread pudding, some said egg custard and others thought the top layer was like a sponge cake. You can't go wrong with any of those desserts.

The shopping list for this magic vanilla cake recipe is simple: eggs, granulated sugar, butter, flour, half and half and vanilla. Egg yolks, sugar and water is beaten together until pale yellow and fluffy, then the melted butter is added. The flour and salt is mixed in followed by the vanilla. Set this mixture aside and beat egg whites until they reach stiff peaks. Fold those egg whites into the egg yolk batter (be gentle!) and pour into a prepared pan. The low-sodium cake is baked and it will separate into those two gorgeous layers of goodness. 

We did think it needed a sauce of some kind, so consider serving it with bourbon butterscotch sauce, maple caramel sauce or a fruit sauce like raspberry, blueberry or lemon curd.

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Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes

Servings: 12  


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk or half and half (I used half and half)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature

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Recipe Notes

  • I used half and half to make this cake.
  • Be very gentle when folding in the egg whites so they don't deflate.

Here's how to make it:

  1. Cut two pieces of parchment paper so they fit into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan and overlap the edges. Spray the bottom of the pan with nonstick cooking spray, then lay the first piece of parchment paper inside. Lay the second piece going the other way. This will make it easy to remove the cake once baked.
  2. Put the egg yolks, sugar and water into the bowl of a  stand mixer (you could also use a mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer). Beat until it turns pale yellow and is fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Don't undermix.
  3. Slowly add in the melted butter.
  4. Stir in the flour and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour in the milk and vanilla and mix on low until combined.
  5. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Do not overmix. You want to leave some unincorporated clumps on the top of the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  8. Bake in a preheated 325-degree F oven for about 50 minutes. The top should be golden brown but the center should still jiggle. Cool the cake on the counter until it's at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 281

Total Fat: 12.9g

Saturated Fat: 5.6g

Cholesterol: 422mg

Sodium: 82mg

Total Carbohydrate: 21.6g

Dietary Fiber: 0.2g

Total Sugars: 15.9g

Protein: 10.2g

Vitamin D: 45mcg

Calcium: 68mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 147mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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What a fun baking project (looks so tasty, too).
Do you use white eggs or brown eggs can you use castor sugar or another type of sugar is it all-purpose flour does have to be a certain brand it looks really thick and looks really yummy does it have to be in a square rectangular or round pan non-stick and what kind of parchment paper is it be the one you suggested only thanks when you have a chance I'm sorry to ask so many questions for everything looks so good and I want to follow the directions thanks so much when you can any tips involved and how long can you store it is it for the freezer thanks so much
Donna John
This recipe needs to be followed exactly if you want the right end result. Rosseyes
Elisa Schmitz
This looks so delicious, Donna John . I want to make it for my mom's birthday coming up soon!
This looked so very good I had to try
I didn't have a square pan so used round but came out of oven looking awesome going to make caramel drizzle to put over it
Can't wait to try it
Donna John
So glad to hear that, MinkyK ! It was a lot of fun to bake. I agree it needs a sauce. We used a caramel sauce as well.
Awesome I read your comment so grabbed my recipe for caramel drizzle figured be great
Matt Maycher
Awesome recipe! I made it with my daughter and the whole family loved it!

Quick question... mine ended up like a 3 layer cake though. The bottom layer turned into a thick jelly layer, then the creamy layer, then the cake. Any idea what I did wrong? Thanks!
Donna John
That is very strange! I have no idea why that would have happened. But as long as it tasted good! :-) Matt Maycher
Pat Hansen
Have no idea how this fit into a 8 inch pan! Mine was overflowing and still had lots. I had to use two pans.
Donna John
Strange. That's my cake I made exactly to these directions. Sorry, but not sure what happened. Pat Hansen
Hello- do you have to wait exactly 4 hours in the fridge? Also, how do you remove it from the pan?
Donna John
You can take it out when you think it's chilled. Just pull up on the parchment paper coming out from the top. It comes right out! Czechmate
Perfect thank you! Can’t wait to try it. It’s in my fridge now.
Gwen Johnson
This was so fun to make!!!
Donna John
Wasn't it? A keeper.
Modded adding milk and vanilla until after the whites went in. Oops!! Stirred them in anyway and baked it off. Turned out great.
Donna John
How many times have I messed up a recipe? lol So glad it still turned out. When I bake my banana bread, for some reason I always forget the egg until it's in the oven. Have to take it out, stir it in, and put it back in the oven. :-)
How does the top part become cake? Am I misunderstanding the recipe? It seems like the top would just be egg white since you don't mix it up really.. just don't want to bake it first and mess it up, I've read the recipe a few times but I also just don't know if I really am misunderstanding how it works. Thanks in advance
Donna John
The batter separates into two layers as it bakes. That's the "magic" part of the recipe. The directions above produced the cake in the photo that I made. It's really simple to make. Please let us know how it turns out for you! kittykat632
Braj Mohan
Great recipe for food lover Thanks for sharing.
Bhusan Chettri
That is a great recipe indeed.. loved it!
Donna John
So happy to hear that! It is fun to make.
Carol Kelly Hindman
I wonder if you could make a chocolate version of this?

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