Magic Custard Cake

Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač

Makes a 22×22 cm cake.

  • Prep time: 30min
  • Cook time: 1h
  • Total time: 1h 30min + chilling time
  • Difficulty: Basic

The most important aspect of this recipe is that all of the ingredients are at room temperature and that the milk is not too hot, or else the eggs will be scrambled. I used smaller free-range eggs than regular eggs. Use 500 ml milk if you have large eggs. If you don’t have a vanilla pod, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. It is also critical to gently fold the egg whites into the batter. The batter will be extremely runny, which is perfectly fine. When the cake has a slight jiggle in the center, it is done. Before serving, it must be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. It is best eaten the same day or the next. It then becomes very rubbery.


  • 480ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 medium eggs, separated
  • 130g confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 125g butter, melted and cooled
  • 115g all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • few drops of lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius. Set aside a square 2222 cm baking pan with butter. In a saucepan, heat the milk. Split the vanilla pod open, scrape out the seeds, and combine them with the pods in the milk. Turn the heat to medium and bring the mixture almost to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep until the milk has cooled. (it should still be warm, but not too warm).

Combine egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar, and water in a mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Mix in the melted butter until well combined. Sift the flour and salt together, then whisk it into the egg and sugar mixture. Strain the milk and whisk it into the batter until well combined. In a standing mixer, whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter gently, 1/3 at a time. Repeat until all of the egg whites are incorporated. The batter will be runny, which is fine.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, depending on the size of the pan. Cover the cake with parchment paper if the top begins to brown too quickly. The center of the cake should still jiggle slightly.

Allow the cake to cool completely before placing it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.


Also known as Pametni Kolač.

In my dictionary, the word “magic” means “supernatural.” Magical things are created by mysterious and unfathomable supernatural forces and are completely untouchable or controllable by humans. Things do not appear from nowhere. There is no magic involved, only good old-fashioned hard work.

Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač
Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač

This cake did not appear in my refrigerator. I made it from scratch, and it had nothing magical about it. The dirty dishes I was left with were also nothing magical. However, the cake is now quite popular on the Internet, where it is known as Magic Custard Cake. I have no choice but to address it by its given name.

Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač
Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač

I first heard about this cake a few years ago. It’s quite popular in Croatia, and you can find it on almost every recipe website. In Croatian, it is known as “pametni kolač” which translates as “smart cake.” That’s a great name! I might even go so far as to call it Ingenious Cake. That’s something I like.

Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač
Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač

The clever part of this cake is that you make one custard-like batter that separates into three layers while baking, giving you a cake layer on top, a custard layer in the middle, and another dense cake layer on the bottom. What a fantastic idea! The cake has a unique texture and the most incredible vanilla custard flavor. It’s soft and creamy, but also firm and jiggly. It’s strange, but in a really good way.

Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač
Magic Custard Cake | Pametni Kolač

Thank you!