I Made 4-Ingredient “Magic Cake” and It’s the Perfect Light and Fluffy Dessert

This popular magic cake has three distinct layers, and it only requires four ingredients to pull it off. Here's how to make it at home.

Magic cake, or gateau magique, is a delicate French dessert that is sure to impress. The cake is baked in a single pan, yet the batter produces three different layers while baking.

Made with just eggs, milk, sugar and flour, this four-ingredient cake is quick and easy to put together. And thanks to the surprising cake layers produced, it’s ideal for any occasion, whether you need a quick treat at home, or you’re bringing dessert to a summer potluck.

What Is Magic Cake?

Magic cake gets its name from the way three layers are produced while baking, without having to layer the batter or put together separate layers of baked cake. It’s just like magic—and it reminds us a lot of a Dutch Funny Cake.

The ingredients separate while baking to give the cake its distinct structure. The bottom layer is a firmer, custard-like texture. The middle layer is soft and creamy, while the top layer is an airy sponge thanks to the whipping of egg whites.

The overall texture is light, with a simple flavor and just a hint of sugar. It’s delicious on its own, or it can be topped with berries and powdered sugar. Another option? Add one teaspoon of pure vanilla, almond or even lemon extract to enhance the flavor further.

Magic Cake Recipe

Ingredients for making a magic cake measured out into four small bowlsMolly Allen for Taste of Home

This recipe for magic cake is from food blogger Kirbie’s Cravings. While many other magic cake recipes call for butter and other additional ingredients, this recipe only requires four ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 4 cold eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk

Directions

Step 1: Prep the batter

mixing flour, sugar, milk and egg in a glass bowl with a whiskMolly Allen for Taste of Home

Line a tall, square cake pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, egg yolks and a half-cup of milk. Whisk until smooth, and then mix in the remaining milk.

Step 2: Beat the egg whites

making magic cake in a metal stand up mixerMolly Allen for Taste of Home

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a clean mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.

Step 3: Fold and bake

baked magic cake still in the square baking panMolly Allen for Taste of Home

Fold a third of the egg whites into the thin batter, stirring gently to be sure the liquid at the bottom is incorporated. Fold in another third until fully incorporated, and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Be sure there is no liquid remaining at the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the light and fluffy mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Insert a tester into the middle to be sure it comes out clean. Let the cake cool fully for at least one hour before cutting and serving. Serve the cake at room temperature, or chill it in the fridge before serving.

Tips for Making Magic Cake

baked Magic Cake on a cutting board topped with powdered sugar and raspberriesMolly Allen for Taste of Home

  • It’s important to make this recipe with the correct pan size. Using a square cake pan with high walls is crucial to provide support and will help set up your layers for success.
  • Start the thin cake batter first, set it aside, and then beat the egg whites. While incorporating the batter and egg whites, split the whites up into thirds to be sure each third is fully incorporated. Otherwise, extra liquid from the bottom of the bowl will prevent the layers from forming.
  • The cake certainly needs a while to bake, and it’s best to leave it in the oven longer than to take it out early. The top will have a slight jiggle and should be entirely golden brown before removing the cake from the oven. It may not look like much straight out of the oven, but as the cake cools and settles, the layers will become more pronounced.

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Molly Allen
Molly Allen is a previous bakery owner and former event planner. Now, a freelance writer and editor focused on food and beverage, lifestyle, travel and parties, she brings her years of experience and industry knowledge to readers across a variety of platforms.