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 thing in this recipe is that all of the ingredients are at room temperature and that the milk is not too warm, or else it might scramble the eggs. I used free-range eggs that are smaller than regular ones. If you have large eggs, use 500 ml of milk. If you don’t have a vanilla pod on hand, use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead. It is also crucial that you fold the egg whites gently into the batter. The batter will be very runny, but that’s perfectly fine. The cake is done when it still has a slight jiggle in the middle. It has to be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.  It’s best eaten the same or the next day. After that, it 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 oven to 165°C. Butter a square 22×22 cm baking pan and set aside.
Pour milk into a saucepan. Split vanilla pod open, scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk, together with the pods. Put the saucepan on medium heat and bring mixture almost to the boil. Remove from heat and let it steep until the milk cools (it should still be warm, but not too warm).

Beat egg yolks with confectioners’ sugar and water until light and fluffy. Add melted butter and mix until well combined. Mix flour with salt, sift to get rid of any lumps and whisk into the egg and sugar mixture. Strain the milk, pour it into the batter and whisk until well incorporated. In a standing mixer, beat egg whites with lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, 1/3 at a time. Repeat until all of the egg whites are folded in. The batter will be very runny and that’s fine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. If the top starts browning too quickly, cover the cake with a piece of parchment paper. The cake should still have a slight jiggle in the middle.

Cool the cake completely and then place it in fridge for at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.


Also known as Pametni Kolač.

Category: Cakes.

The word “magic” spells supernatural in my dictionary. Magical things come into existence by some mysterious and unfathomable supernatural forces and are completely bereft of human touch or control. Things don’t just appear out of nowhere. There’s absolutely no magic involved, just good old hard work.

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

This cake did not just materialize in my fridge. I made it from scratch and there was absolutely nothing magical about it. There was also nothing magical about the dirty dishes I was left with. However, the cake is quite famous on the Internet these days, where it is commonly referred to as Magic Custard Cake. I have no other choice but to call it by it’s name.

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

I’ve heard of this cake couple of years ago. It’s actually quite popular here in Croatia and you can find it on almost every recipe based website. It is known as “pametni kolač” in Croatian, which literally means smart cake. Now, that’s a good name! I would, perhaps, go even further and call it Ingenious Cake. Yeah, I like that.

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

What’s ingenious about this cake is the fact that you make one custard-like batter which separates into three layers while it bakes, so you get a cake layer on top, a custard layer in the middle and another dense cake layer on the bottom. How cool is that?! The cake has a very interesting texture and the flavor of the most amazing vanilla custard. It’s soft and creamy, but firm and jiggly at the same. It’s weird, but in a really good kinda way.

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

Thank you!