The thick layer of custard hidden in the centre of the cake:
“Custard” is one of those words that makes me smile and anticipate nice things. If given a choice I will always pick the dessert or cake that involves custard; there’s something so pleasing about it – the vanilla scent, the thick creamy texture, the satisfying density of it!
Last December I made an Apple Custard teacake and it remains one of my all time favourites. What caught my attention with today’s recipe is that it’s very similar to the apple custard teacake but without the apples. I rather liked the idea of a cake where the vanilla and custard got to be the stars of the show!
The cake batter also contains custard powder and I find that this makes the batter very yellow but also thicker than a normal sponge resulting in a denser more crumbly texture. The thick layer of custard in the cake means that it might sink a bit in the middle so don’t worry if this happens; having said that, mine didn’t (yay! I rule!).
How do you stop a skin forming as the custard cools? Lay some clingfilm onto the surface:
I served the cake with a cup of tea, but it would also make a lovely dessert cake served with some fruit – perhaps some baked apple?
I choose to make this in a paper case simply because it’s easier to move the cake. When you make the batter, you will think that there isn’t enough to enclose the custard and it is a tight squeeze, but by making it in a paper case you have more stability. My tips for spreading the batter over the custard – which is the trickiest part of the recipe, as you don’t want to have custard leaking out - is to take your time, use a knife rather than a spatula and be gentle. Here it is fresh from the oven; it’s worth taking your time to ensure no custard can leak out over the batter:
For the cake:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
110g self raising flour
35g custard powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the custard:
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 tablespoon caster sugar
160ml milk (whole or semi skimmed)
15g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line a 20cm round springform cake tin.
- Start by making the custard: place the milk, custard powder and sugar in a saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat until the custard is smooth and thick.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
- Place clingfilm directly on the surface of the custard to stop a skin forming, and place to one side.
- Now make the cake batter: Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg, then the flour, custard powder and vanilla.
- Spread half the batter into the cake pan. It will be a thin layer but make sure there are no holes as the custard will sink into them.
- Spread the custard onto the batter making sure that it doesn’t spread right to the edges – you want the custard to be enclosed in the cake batter.
- Carefully spread the remaining cake batter over the custard. I always leave a spoonful in the bowl so I have something in reserve for patching holes where I can see the custard seeping through. This takes some time and you need to be gently to ensure that you don’t disturb the custard.
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly from the edge i.e. where there is no custard. Mine took 40 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack. As there is so much squidgy custard in the cake it may sink on cooling – this is normal.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.