9.23.2017

Do As I Say...

“… or there’ll be hell to pay.” I heard that a lot growing up.

I was actually a pretty good kid, truth be told. I generally obeyed the rules and did what I was told.

I still do, although there are times in the kitchen I throw caution to the wind and go rogue.

When making this cake, however, I do abide by the rules – and you must, too. 

When the ingredients say “room temperature,” they mean room temperature. Otherwise the magic won't happen.

If you are good and careful, and obey all the instructions, this cake will separate into three layers as it bakes.

I got this recipe from the Italian website Cucchiaio d'Argento (silver spoon). I made it for dinner at our neighbor Connie’s home, and it was a big hit.

Luscious, yet not too sweet or cloying. The perfect end to our meal.

And it can be for yours, too.

~ David

Torta Magica
from Cucchiaio d'Argento

2 1/4cups whole milk at room temperature
2/3 cup superfine sugar
2 teaspoons water
8 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup flour
pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs at room temperature, separated
4 drops lemon juice
confectioners sugar
fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line bottom and two sides with a sheet of parchment; do not trim overlapping paper.

Using a stand mixer, cream the yolks with the sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Add water and the melted butter and beat a couple of minutes more. Add flour, vanilla extract and salt, mixing well. Pour in the warm milk in 3 additions, scraping the sides between each addition, to make a smooth batter, as for crêpes.

In a clean bowl, beat room temperature egg whites with 4 drops of lemon juice till stiff, but not dry; fold the whites into the batter till no streaks are visible.

Pour the mixture into prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes or until the cake is golden and puffed. Remove from the oven, bring to room temperature, then place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve the magic cake sprinkled with confectioners sugar and fresh raspberries.

Serves 6-8

32 comments:

  1. When you bake its all about following the directions-if not, there can be hell to pay (smile). This is a beautiful torta. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Velva

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    1. Thanks, Velva - I always appreciate your comments!

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  2. OK David, I promise to obey the rules when I bake this cake . It looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Gerlinde - I have never known a German baker that didn't follow the rules! :)

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  3. My mom made a similar dessert she baked in a pie crust and called it Lemon Cake Pie. I'm sure she followed the rules too. That's just how she was... GREG

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    1. That sounds pretty tasty, Greg - have you kept up the tradition?

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  4. What - no pudding mix in this magic cake?!!! It sounds wonderful. And it's pretty to boot!

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    1. Mimi - Pudding mixes (or cake mixes, etc.) never cross my threshold. Ever. :)

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    2. Amen, David! This sounds delightful -- like one of those Bisquick recipes from the 60s or 70s, but without the Bisquick (which contains shortening or some kind of transfats, I believe). Give me butter every time!

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    3. Part of me wants to say, "Bisquick? What's that?" Of course I know what it is, but I can honestly say I have never used it! I am sure it also contains horrific preservatives in addition to the transfats! :)

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  5. This sounds so delicious, I would love a slice!

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    1. It would be fantastic with your tea!, Caroline

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  6. While my hubby and prodigal daughter (and me, to a certain extent) are eating only plants these days, I am going to copy this recipe anyway. It sounds wonderful. I have some "ladies who lunch" friends who love to cook together and eat,naturally. I will send this recipe to one who still eats animal products. She will love it. And....when she makes it, I will eat it. It's NOT a religion, after all! I just won't tell my family. (they know, but I don't have heart disease, either)

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    1. I love that you have a prodigal daughter, Caterina! Glad to know you have someone who will make it so you can enjoy a small piece!

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  7. In the end, not following the rules in pastry is when many great recipes are created. This type of cakes that separate while baking I'm sure had a little of that too. This looks fantastic David!

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    1. Isn't that the truth, Paula! I am sure that is how chocolate lava cakes were invented!

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  8. Oh this looks magical David, love little desserts like this that are not too sweet. Growing up I used to hear children should be seen and not heard, oh was I a rebellious one. Just got back yesterday, the morning was lovely.

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    1. I love your rebellious side, Cheri! And you will love this cake!

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  9. This cake looks creamy and luscious, David! It's really pretty and definitely a dessert that looks like it's created with special attention. I'm bookmarking this one, I want to see if I can do it. :)

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    1. It looks creamier than it is, Marcelle - it's much more a custard, and it is soooo good!

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  10. This is really beautiful David! Good warning to follow the directions, especially for those of us who tend to take liberties!

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    1. It's funny, Inger - I take lots of liberties with cooking but never with baking. I like both, and so many people fall into one category or the other. I think you and I fall into both!

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  11. I had no idea this magic cake was Italian and neither did I know it was in the Silver Spoon. I have that huge book! Perfect cake to enjoy with fresh raspberries.

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    1. John - it isn't in the book, it was from their online newsletter. So maybe it is an Italian version of an Australian (or American or British or French) dessert. No matter where it's from, it's good!

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  12. ciao david
    good cake. Here in the UK there is a traditional warm pudding which is pretty similar and that goes under different names, generally it is referred to as Lemon surprise pudding: as it bakes, it splits into two layers: a lemon curd underneath and a more solid cake like topping - delicious
    I think the difference is in the quantities of flour and butter (more substantial in your version). I discovered it first in a 1930s book by english food writer Ambrose Heath and I have always found it delicious (albeit a little tricky to assemble becase the batter is really very, very thin and to incorporate beaten whites into it is rather tricky).ciao, stefano

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    1. Stefano - we have a similar lemon cake in the US, and this one is quite different. Sometimes it is called "cottage pudding." Thanks fro reminding me of that - I should make one soon!

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  13. Now I have two cakes to make, this and the Lemon-Lavender-Buttermilk cake. I don't always understand the science of baking, but I accept it and follow instructions. And I really want my layers to separate. So cool.

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    1. I am not one who loves the science of cooking/baking - I just want to know that it will taste great in the end! And, like you, I follow the directions!

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  14. I LOVE Cucchiaio D'Argento! There are so many recipes in that cookbook, I'm not surprised that I have yet to discover this torta magica! It sounds and looks wonderful, David! Now another recipe I want to try!

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    1. This was from their website, not form the book, Christina!

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