Prajitura Desteapta. Nope, it’s not a disease or some Amazonian jungle plant. It’s actually a Romanian custard cake. I had to bring dessert to my sister Helen’s house for dinner last night so I went searching through my recipe box for something to make. I wanted to bring something different. Maybe make something I hadn’t made in a long time. Lo and behold, I came across this recipe that was given to me years ago by my friend, Lyudmila.
According to Lyudmila, “Prajitura Desteapta” means “Smart Cake.” I guess they call it that because it’s super easy to make which is pretty smart in my book. The ingredients are all things you usually have in your fridge and pantry. While it’s baking, the cake separates into two layers – a thick, cake-like layer on the bottom and a softer custard layer on top. Lyudmila’s original recipe gave metric measurements for the ingredients. I’ve noted the American equivalents for those who want them. By the way, in America, this cake is called “Magic Cake” and it’s easy to understand why.
PRAJITURA DESTEAPTA (SMART CAKE)
- 250 gm butter or margarine (1 cup)
- 8 eggs, separated
- 300 gm sugar (1½ cups)
- 2 packets vanilla sugar (1 tsp. vanilla extract)
- 225 gm flour (2 cups)
- 1 liter warm milk (4 cups)
- powdered sugar, for dusting on top
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9×13 rectangular pyrex baking dish.
- Melt butter in microwave and set aside to cool.
- In an extra large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add melted butter and vanilla and continue beating.
- Beat in the sifted flour until well blended.
- Slowly add milk, beating on low speed. Batter will be very thin and watery.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Carefully fold beaten egg whites into the batter just until incorporated.
- Pour into prepared pyrex baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes. Do not open the oven door while baking!
- Cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator to chill.
- Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.
- Cut into squares and serve.
- It’s better if your eggs are at room temperature when you start.
- The butter should be melted but not hot. Make sure to cool it to room
temperature before using.
- Vanilla sugar is a very popular baking ingredient in Europe. Dr. Oetker is a very
well-known brand, but unfortunately is not easy to find in the U.S. However, you
can easily substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla sugar in this recipe.