Magic Custard Cake with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Gang aft a-gley.

This phrase is from the 18th century Scottish poem “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns. It translates to “often goes awry.” John Steinbeck derived the title for his novel, Of Mice and Men, from these lines in Burn’s poem: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” Like the title implies, one of the main themes in OMAM is that plans often go awry.

I was reminded of this today. I thought I was going publish this nice little piece about how my world is currently free of AP and Blueprint stress and I’m just happy as a clam. That draft is currently lost in cyperspace somewhere. But, at this point, the blurb is stale and irrelevant, so it doesn’t matter anyways.  I also thought I was going to have my dream class schedule for junior year. That fantasy went out the window today.  Actually, it didn’t just “go out”;  it was defenestrated.

The only bright side to this unfortunate situation is that it has given me a big wake-up call. I have an opportunity to reconsider what I really want for the next few years and maybe make a few smart changes. Do I want to be that kid who takes three AP/honors classes (plus Blueprint, so really five APs), has no life, but has a good chance of getting into GOOD colleges? Or do I want to take it easy and lessen my chances of going wherever I want to go? Which will I regret more? Where are my priorities? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW.

Truthfully, even if I got my dream schedule, it wouldn’t be a dream at all. So there’s that.

I don’t know what I’m going to do at this point. I’m sure everything will turn out the way it should in the end. It will be okay. Everything happens for a reason. I just keep trying to tell myself that.

Gang aft a-gley.

Magic Custard Cake with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Recipe Notes: This cake is very unique; that’s one thing I do know. It separates into three “magical” layers: cake, soft custard, and a firm custard base! Check out Todd and Diane’s post for a chocolate version of this recipe. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but I’m sure it’s fantastic. If you like custard anything, I imagine you’ll enjoy this!

(For the Cake)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups reduced-fat  milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups (150g) confectioner’s (powdered) Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. (15ml) Water
  • 1 cup (115g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) Vanilla Extract
  • pinch of salt
  • extra confectioner’s sugar for dusting

(For the Sauce)

  • 1 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper


(For the Cake)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with buttered parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside to slightly cool. Warm the milk to lukewarm and set aside.
  3. Whip the egg whites and drop of vinegar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Whisk in the melted butter and the tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes or until evenly incorporated.
  5. Mix in the flour until evenly incorporated. Slowly beat in the milk, salt, and vanilla extract by hand until everything is evenly combined. Be careful, as the batter is very thin and will splash if mixed too vigorously.
  6. Fold in the egg whites, 1/3 at a time. Repeat until all of the egg whites are incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan; it will almost reach the top, which is fine. Bake the cake for 45-60 minutes or until the top is golden.The center will still jiggle a bit if shaken gently.  Allow the cake to cool completely. Using the sides of the parchment paper, lift the cake out of the baking dish and place it on a cutting board. Slice the cake into sixteen squares using a serrated knife. For clean cuts,  wipe the knife blade off with a wet paper towel after each slice.  Dust the squares with powdered sugar and drizzle with the strawberry balsamic sauce.

Directions for Strawberry Sauce

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the sugar dissolves; stir constantly.
  2. Add in the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. Cook the mixture for an additional 10-15 minutes until it is syrupy. Stir occasionally, and mash the strawberries a bit. Remove the finished sauce from the heat and cool completely.

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