Kirbie's Cravings

4 Ingredient Magic Cake (No Butter or Oil)

This magic cake is a fun and unique cake to make. The cake is made with just 4 ingredients and doesn’t require butter or oil. You only need to make one cake batter but it magically becomes a 3 layer cake when it is done baking. There is a light sponge cake on top, a creamy filling in the middle, and a firm flan layer on the bottom.
a slice of magic cake.

This is my favorite cake to make right now. It is such a delicious and fun cake to serve to friends and family. I made this cake in many different flavors a few years ago. This version I’m sharing is actually a simpler version with fewer ingredients. The batter only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.


  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Milk

Eggs: The egg yolks and whites will need to be separated. The egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks and folded in which is what creates the structure for the cake.

Flour: This recipe uses regular all-purpose flour.

Sugar: This cake is sweetened with regular granulated white sugar.

Milk: I used 1% low fat milk. Other milks and dairy milk alternatives should work.

Normally magic cake also contains butter and vanilla and sometimes a few other ingredients depending on the recipe. I found that the cake still turned out well without butter or oil. I also was able to achieve a much thicker and fluffier sponge layer by eliminating the butter. And you can add vanilla for more flavor but it is great even without it.

What is Magic Cake

Magic cake is a French dessert known as gâteau magique. It is a cake that forms three layers when baking: a sponge cake on top, a cream layer in the middle and a custard/flan on the bottom. The cake became quite popular a few years ago in the US.

The cake can be eaten the same day it is baked or served chilled the day after. If you eat the cake soon after it is baked, the layers are as described above. If you eat the cake cold or the next day, the bottom two layers become more firm. The cream layer becomes a creamy thick custard. And the flan layer becomes firmer, almost like a pie crust.
a piece of cake with the rest of the cake in the background.

How to Make Magic Cake

The egg yolks, flour, sugar and part of the milk are added together and beaten with an electric mixer until smooth. Once you have a smooth batter you add in the rest of the milk.

The egg whites are beaten separately until stiff peaks form. They are then folded into the batter. The batter is then poured into a square cake pan and ready to go in the oven to be baked.
a slice of magic cake on a small white plate.

More Unique Cake Recipes

4 Ingredient Magic Cake

Servings: 12 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
This magic cake is very unique. It only requires 4 ingredients to make the batter. When the cake bakes, it separates into three different layers. It is a delicious and fun cake to serve to family and friends.
4.68 from 25 votes


  • 4 large eggs, separated straight from fridge
  • 3/4 cup (96 g) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (148 g) granulated white sugar
  • 2 cups (16 oz) low fat milk I used 1%


  • Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, add egg yolks, flour, sugar and 1/2 cup (4 oz) of milk. (Make sure to only add 1/2 cup right now. If you add all of the milk you will not be able to mix your batter.) Beat on high speed until batter is smooth and no flour lumps remain. Once batter is smooth, add in remaining milk (1 1/2 cups). Reduce speed on mixer and mix until milk is incorporated into the batter. Your batter will be very thin.
  • In a separate clean mixing bowl, add egg whites. Beat egg whites on highest speed until stiff peaks form. Your mixing bowl and mixer must be completely clean before adding and beating the egg whites, otherwise the egg whites will not turn into stiff peaks. See notes section for more tips on beating egg whites.
  • Gently stir and fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter with a spatula. Because the cake batter is so thin, you do need to swirl and fold to make sure the egg whites are fully incorporated. Make sure to fold all the way from the bottom of the bowl, otherwise the liquid batter at the bottom won't get fully mixed with the egg whites. Fold until no egg white streaks remain. Repeat with the next 1/3 and then final 1/3. For the final 1/3, you do not need to mix until no egg white streaks remain. It's fine to have some small lumps of egg whites in your batter. Your batter should look very light and airy.
  • Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until cake is done (mine took 45 minutes). If you are unsure if your cake is done, it is better to bake a little longer (5 minutes or so) to make sure it is done so that your cake does not deflate. When the cake is done, a cake tester should come out clean. The top should be evenly browned. Let cake cool before removing and cutting. As the cake cools it will deflate a little around the sides. That is normal.
  • Cake can be served the same day it is baked or the next day. See notes for the difference in texture. If serving the same day, let cake for 1-2 hours before cutting and serving. If serving the next day, store cake in fridge overnight. Before serving cake, you can dust cake with powdered sugar.


  • Make sure you don't beat your egg whites until after the rest of your cake batter is ready. You need to fold them in immediately.
  • In order to get your egg whites to reach stiff peaks, you need to make sure your mixing bowl and beater are completely clean. I used the stand mixer to mix the cake batter and a hand mixer for the egg whites. You can also do the reserve. If you are using a stand mixer to beat your egg whites, use the wire whisk attachment.
  • If you only have one mixer, make the cake batter first. Then pour your cake batter into a different bowl and thoroughly clean your beaters and mixing bowl before making the egg whites. Do not make the egg whites first.
  • The texture of the cake does change a little. When it is first baked, you have a light sponge on top, a cream filling in the middle and a firmer flan layer at the bottom. If you let the cake settle overnight, the bottom two layers firm up more. The middle layer becomes a creamy custard. The bottom layer becomes something like a pie crust. The cake can be served at room temperature or cold. Any uneaten leftovers should be stored in the fridge.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 114kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 42mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, NET CARBS: 19

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

172 comments on “4 Ingredient Magic Cake (No Butter or Oil)”

  1. What a gorgeous cake! Mine cracked a lot on top, but it’s still cooling so I haven’t cut it yet. Could I have over mixed the egg whites or batter in general?

    • Hm, if it was cracked on top the oven temperature may have been too high. The cracks happen when the top of the cake cooks faster than the inside – as the cake puffs up inside, it pushes through the top creating cracks. Maybe double check the oven temp was correct? If it was, your oven may run hotter so adjusting the temperature may help.

  2. Made this twice now. First time, I followed directions exactly and it was perfect! Second time I doubled the recipe in the same bowl and baked in two 8×8 pans. Came out just as perfect as the first time. I don’t know if I was taking a big chance doing it, but it worked! Both occasions my bake time was 45 minutes. The only problem I have with this recipe is keeping my family away from it for the hour it needs to cool down! Thanks 

  3. My cake layer turned out very very thin, though the bottom two layers were fine. Found it hard to incorporate the egg whites without taking out all the air, given the liquidity of the batter. Be great to see a video of how you incorporate the egg whites so I know I’m doing it right. Love the idea, but my result was basically unsuccessful.

    • We’re sorry you had trouble – it does sound like your egg whites deflated. Our best advice is to take your time folding them in, folding and lightly swirling them into the batter will help incorporate them without too much deflation.

  4. Can this recipe be made using a cupcake pan rather than an 8×8?

    • We haven’t tried it in a cupcake pan so can’t say for sure how it will work. Let us know if you try it!

  5. Help.
    I made this 3 times
    The first and 3rd time the top was soft but the bottom two layers merged into this weird dense thing. The 2nd time I made it it was perfect. What am I doing wrong

  6. Love the easy recipes haven’t made any yet just came across your recipes

  7. Can you use whole milk ?

  8. Followed the recipe and measurements exactly but i don’t know what went wrong it took me 1hr30mins for it to be fully baked

  9. I love to make this cake with matcha flavor. How do I go about adding Matcha powder to this recipe and will it affect the end result?

  10. I made this yesterday and it came out ok. First my pan was a bit to big so it never had the three layers only two which was ok. I added vanilla to it though. The taste? Well, I let it cool for a few hrs and it tasted like bread pudding I let it chill in the fridge overnight and it tastes like sago pudding. Giving it three stars because the egg taste was a bit much for me.

    • As discussed in the post, the texture does change after the cake is chilled. It shouldn’t taste eggy though, so not sure what would have caused that. We haven’t experienced that and other readers have made this recipe with success.

  11. This turned out great!! Made it for my parents and they loved it.

  12. Wouldn’t cook so I was left with a raw cake, tried many times to cook it but failed, 1 star

    • We’re sorry you had trouble – are you sure you had the oven temperature set correctly? It sounds like either your oven wasn’t working right or you made a mistake with the ingredients, perhaps not enough flour or too much milk. As you can see by the comments left by others, the cake works. And this is the first time someone has complained about the cake not baking.

  13. I love the concept and flavor, not overly sweet.  The bottom layer is  chewy/ rubbery. What did I do to ‘create’ that? 

    • The bottom layer will firm up after the cake is chilled, but it shouldn’t be rubbery. It’s hard to say what might have happened – maybe it was overbaked?

  14. Loved this magic cake, added 1 tsp vanilla to the egg yoke mix. Will try again with lemon or almond flavor.


  16. How much vanilla can I add to the recipe and when should it be added?

  17. One recipe I read said you needed a deep 8×8 pan. Is that the case? I have a standard 8×8 pan and really want to make this cake.

  18. this would be so nice with lemon flavour, can lemon juice be added somehow without the lemon curdling the milk?

  19. I need to make a dessert (9″x13″) for a potluck. Can the recipe be doubled and cooked in a large pan or better to make two different cakes?

    • We haven’t tried doubling the recipe. It may be difficult to do because of how liquidy the batter is already which could result in issues trying to incorporate the egg whites. Also, a 9×13 pan would result in a much thinner cake. Since the original is made in a 8 x 8, if you did make double, you’d want to make it in an 8 x 12.

      • The size when doubling an 8×8=64×2 128 sq”
        a 9×13=117 sq” so an 11 sq” difference, negligible

        8×12″ = 96 sq” or 32sq” less than 2 8″ pans by 128-96=32 sq”

        so if the mixing isn’t a problem, then either 2 separate 8×8 or one 9×13 should work. An 8×12 would be undersized.

      • Since we haven’t tried doubling the recipe, we can’t say for sure that it will work well in a 9×13″. We appreciate your tips – if you try doubling it and using a bigger pan, let us know how it turns out for you.

  20. Can u freeze cake. Is your all purpose flour our plain flour. Want to try soon.

  21. Do you have to use the parchment paper in the pan? I found it to be a bit awkward.  Was also wondering if you could use extracts for flavoring?

    • We use parchment to make it easy to lift the cake out for slicing – you can grease the pan instead. Also, extracts would work well in this recipe!

  22. This wS so easy I did not cut my parchment paper so it was harder to cut. Silly me. It is great. Thanks so much for sharing

  23. Loved! My only problem was the cake stuck to the parchment paper and was hard to remove. A lot of the bottom layer was lost. Any suggestions?

    • We’re sorry to hear that – we haven’t had that problem, but it may be the parchment paper you are using. You want to use a good brand like Reynolds.

  24. I made this with cake flour (a very awkward 13.5tbsp per the 1c2tbsp cake flour to 1c all-purpose flour conversions) in a glass 9×7″ pyrex that I greased, and it turned out amazing! Beautifully distinct layers. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  25. Fun to make. Worked well on my first try. Like the ‘magic’ element. It was very tasty and you wouldn’t guess no fat was added. We iced it, which probably made it a bit too sickly but for a birthday alternative worked well and looked great! Would recommend for anyone looking to switch up a normal cake. 

  26. Will it work with gluten free flour and a dairy free alternative?

    • The dairy-free alternative should be fine, but not sure about gluten-free flour. Maybe cup for cup will work – let us know if you try it!

      • I made it with 1:1 gluten free baking flour. It didn’t rise as much, but it had 3 layers and it was delicious.

      • Thanks for letting us know! Glad it worked for you.

  27. I made it as directed but for whatever reason it is not coo,ing on oneside its watery

  28. Can you use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar? Will it tuen out the same? That’s all I have on hand, I was trying not to go to the store lol

  29. Does this work with coconut palm sugar? X

  30. Niiiiceee@yummmy

  31. This is amazing!! We’ve made this cake twice in the past week- it’s Delicious! It’s so cool how it separates into layers. Followed the recipe exactly, and came out beautifully both times. It’s also good with a dollup of whipped cream! Thank you for another fabulous recipe!

  32. Making the cheese cake now , so excited!

  33. this sounds so gd in add this to my recipe collection ? my mom in law and watch our butter in take so she be happy make this for us tku for sharing ?

  34. Your recipes look fabulous, I’m definitely going to make it tomorrow. Thank you do much for sharing. ?

  35. Hi! At what temperature should this be baked? Really looking forward to make this. Thank you

  36. I can’t wait to try is coming tomorrow and this seems like the perfect desert.

  37. Very easy to make and a very light sweetness. The top reminded me of angel cake, the middle was similar to Chinese egg custard, but the middle was a bit too firm for me (very different than flan, and I love flan). I am curious what other flavors this could be made in and how to add those flavors.

    • Yes the bottom layer is very firm once the cake cools. If you eat it soon after it is baked it is like a flan but once it cools it becomes more like a pie crust, which I discuss in the post. I’m glad you enjoyed most of the cake though! I’ve seen chocolate and lemon versions, though I haven’t made those flavors yet.

  38. Can you floor this? (Lemon juice/zest, etc.?)

    • You could try adding an extract like lemon extract or vanilla extract. Lemon zest might work, too but we wouldn’t try lemon juice. We haven’t tested these ideas so let us know if you do and how it worked!

  39. I baked it exactly like the recipe. It was easy to make and fun to eat. Keep sending 4 ingredient cakes. Love it.

  40. ? Great, easy to mix even the smell is healing!
    I have limited mobility, all to often cakes have long list of steps. which I can’t stand for. This was easy & fast. I love cutting it to surprise everyone with the different layers. Such a smooth refreshing taste, you don’t miss the frosting at all.
    I do wonder if u could make it as cupcakes?
    thanks, Kimberly 

  41. Is it needed to have a 8 by 8 baking pan

    • We’ve only tried it in an 8×8″ pan. You could try a 9″ square pan if you have one but you may need to adjust the baking time.

  42. I love to read your recipe some time I trythem

  43. Does this have to be low fat milk?

  44. Sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to try it….Thank you for sharing.

  45. Can you use diabetic sugar for this?

  46. 5 stars

  47. Can I use butter to make it a little richer

  48. Recipe measurement please xx

  49. Any modifications for high altitude? I’m at 6400 fr elevation.

    • Sorry, we haven’t tested the recipe at high altitude.

    • Hi Daniela, 

      I’m at 7250 elevation and wondered if you tried to make this and if yes, how did it come out?

      Angela B

      • I am at 7200 ft. The cake tasted delicious, however no magic – no layers. I followed the directions, no deviation, the  rose in the oven as it should’ve, but fell when I took it out.

  50. Can you make this recipe with a different flour for lower carb?
    Thank you.

  51. Can I substitute soy/almond milk?

  52. This turned out exactly like the picture!! I baked mine for about 47 minutes, and dusted the top with powdered sugar. Simple and yummy! Definitely a keeper.

  53. My roommate told me her mother used to make a cake very similar to this recipe. I’m going to make it for her. I hope it’s the same as her mother’s.

  54. It sounds delicious! Can other flavorings, such as lemon, be added without spoiling the cake?

    • You could try adding an extract or lemon zest – we haven’t tried it, so let us know how it works.

  55. Have you tried this with plant based milk? Do you think it would work?

  56. What can I use to beat the egg white if I don’t have the electric mixer?

    • You can’t do it by hand with a large bowl and whisk but it will take longer and it’s harder to do.

  57. Interested

  58. Well done

  59. Great recipe but nothing new.  I’m 82 and my grandmother use to make it all the time.  We loved it!  You will, too…just be sure to add lemon zest!

  60. I’m giving this recipe 5 stars on potential. I made this following the directions except: I used King Arthur whole wheat flower because I didn’t have white and I didn’t back it long enough I baked it for 45 minutes. The top third was excellent but the bottom was all “custard.”
    The flavor was excellent and I’d strongly suggest you make it as directed. I wish there were more reviews.
    Tha ks

  61. Can I use non dairy milk for this instead of low fat milk 

  62. Looks delish! Do you know if this can be made with gluten free flour?

  63. Is it possible to add cocoa or replace some of the flour with cocoa to make a chocolate version?

  64. I’ve tried three now my husband and I loved them all. Can you please find a recipe for people like me a diabetic looking forward to seeing what you can do. 

  65. Hi. Can you make this recipe without sugar? Without adding sweetners? Perhaps more vanilla,?

    • I haven’t tried making the cake without any sugar or sweetener. Removing the sugar will likely affect the textures of the layers and I don’t think it will taste very good. It will probably taste very eggy

  66. Hi! Can I sub some of the flour out for cocoa powder? Thanks!

    • It’s possible to make a chocolate version, but without testing it, I can’t tell you the exact changes. You would also likely need to increase the sugar.

  67. This sounds fascinating and yummmmmmy. I will try it soon!

  68. Marvelous recipe esp. when you may be out of butter or oil.

  69. Has anyone tried this with flax eggs?

  70. Can you add an extract like lemon or almond?

  71. I just found this recipe and have to say it looks just amazing and simple that I will try it probably tomorrow and its even more exciting because the explanation of the recipe is so perfect and that all the possible questions are answered right away. Thanks so much for sharing Kirbie!
    Definitely excited to check your website! ??
    Giving 5 stars for such a great instruction and I will come back to comment after my family will try the cake and it will go through the test of my kids sweet tooth.  

    • I hope the cake turned out well for you! I’m glad you found all the explanations helpful. I try to anticipate as many questions as possible when writing my posts.

  72. Thank you so much for easy recipes

  73. Can this cake be made with gluten free flour?

  74. Has anyone subbed the milk with nondairy milk or used gluten free flour?

  75. I cannot wait to make this, it sounds so delicious…mmmmm… thanks for posting it… I think I’m gonna subscribe and get a lot more of these recipes…(OH YEAH)…

  76. Is there a lemon flavoured Magic Cake recipe? Do I just substitute a third of a cup of milk for lemon juice?

    • You can make a lemon flavored version. I haven’t tried making one so I don’t know the exact changes that need to be made without testing it myself.

  77. Awesome! Thank you for this recipe! Will try it tonight?
    Afterwards will give you the results!?

  78. I’m really anxious to try this recipe for this cake. I’ll try different things to this cake to make it with fruit instead of plain. But plain will work nicely for coffee with my group. Thanks for sharing recipes. I’ve tried several of your other goodies and everyone liked them.

  79. I made your recipe for the 3 ingredients cookies and for 35 calories each, they are the best.  I like them because they are chewy plus I added a small handful of chopped walnuts.  Joan ?

  80. fantastic!