I am by no means religious, but Easter is one of my favourite times of the year. Whatever form your spring festival takes, there is growth and new life happening all around. And what better symbol of all this fertility than the egg. The garden is in a state of disarray, jobs just started and not even half done, lists as long as my arm, trying to organise what planting to prioritise and where everything needs to go to make best advantage of mother nature… And now it’s raining, a blessing in the long hot summer days, with thirsty plants all fruiting around me, but right now, an inconvenience. However… with two weeks off school, and the sun peeking through, who cannot help but love Easter time.
I am posting this up today in celebration of the coming of spring, and the established laying of my first eggs from my flock in 2016. This cake is by no means vegan, and I very much doubt it could be replicated easily without the eggs (but I’d be very intrigued to see any vegans out there give this one a go – I know what magic you can work!) So it is a dish to honour my pampered birds with and to express my gratitude for their daily gifts. Buffy, Dorothy, Beauty, Punky, Marilyn, Pebbles and Margarita, this one is dedicated to you.
I saw a recipe for this and was amazed. Quite rightly this is called magic cake and it certainly is! So easy, but when baked it creates 3 separate layers, like a proper sophisticated desert (If I could be bothered to get out my best crockery and dress it up a little!) My first instinct was to make this dairy free, and in doing so I’ve changed the flavours slightly, the coconut oil adds a slight coconutty hint, which I’ve complimented with lots of nutmeg (my favourite spice to add to old fashioned ‘milky’ deserts.) Really this mostly reminds me of a traditional egg custard tart, but without the danger of the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’ and with a beautiful light cake layer on top.
Because this cake is some sort of divine alchemy I have altered very little and just tried to substitute the dairy and tweak the flavours slightly. This dairy free version works perfectly and results in a fudgy bottom layer, a thick wobbly custard layer in the middle and a soft light sponge layer on top. The basic recipe I borrowed from the beautifully written and photographed whiteonricecouple, but there are hundreds of slight variations on the web, and even a few wicked chocolate versions. I prefer to do the majority of this with an electric mixer, but it can be done by hand with a bit of extra effort.
- 4 fresh eggs from the back garden! (or £1.83 for organic supermarket eggs)
- 80g coconut oil – melted, to just liquid, lukewarm but not hot (£1.04)
- 150g of golden caster sugar* (33p)
- 1 tbsp of water
- 100g of plain flour (13p)
- 4 drops of white vinegar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract (18p)
- 1/2 a nutmeg, grated (32p)
- 580ml of plant milk** (78p)
- golden icing sugar for dusting (5p)
Heat the oven to 160 degrees c, and oil a baking dish or tin. I used a glass oval dish which is about 30cm by 20cm, but a 20cm (8″) square dish should also work.
First, separate the eggs. Set aside the whites in a small bowl with the drops of vinegar.
Beat the yolks with the sugar until creamy, add in the tablespoon of water, the oil and vanilla and continue to beat the mixture until smooth. Then mix in the flour and the grated nutmeg and combine the ingredients well.
Now whisk up the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and fold them into the rest of the cake batter. The resulting mixture is very liquid, don’t be alarmed, it will work!
Pour the batter into the oiled dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 45-60 minutes. Once cooked the cake with be a light golden colour with a fluffy spongy top, and should wobbly slightly when moved.
The cake should be cooled completely in the dish before it is cut and turned out. You will even be able to see the layer defining themselves as the cake cools.Once cool and ready to serve dust liberally with icing sugar before cutting.
The supermarket ingredients for this cake come to £4.66, which work out at around 38p for each small but very rich slice. Obviously, if you can source your eggs from a friend’s back yard you may well be able to cut this price virtually in half – just remember to offer a slice to anyone kind enough to share some fresh Easter eggs with you, and always say thank you to the hens.
* I have used granulated sugar and coconut palm sugar in this recipe and both have worked fine.
** I used unsweetenend soya, I’ve read that almond milk works well, I’m yet to try it with my favourite, oat milk.