There's nothing like a slice of homemade custard cake: layers of smooth vanilla custard in-between everyone's childhood favorite tea biscuits. And guess what? This is a no-bake recipe, which makes it ten times better. It's perfect for making ahead and I always bring this cake along for potlucks, dinner parties, and gatherings, and everyone LOVES it. They don't even know it only takes less than 30 minutes to make because it looks so fancy.
What I Love About This Recipe
I always like to make my own custard from scratch which is what I'll be breaking down for you step-by-step, it's ridiculously simple and only needs minimal ingredients that you probably already have laying around at home. If you prefer to use ready-made or powdered custard, just prepare it according to the instructions on the box and follow the rest of the instructions in this recipe.
- Tea Biscuits: Any tea biscuits will do. In Kuwait, where I grew up, we used to call them Marie biscuits. They're typically plain and slightly sweet butter cookies, but if you can't find Marie or any tea biscuits anywhere, you can also use something similar like digestive biscuits instead.
- Milk: Use skimmed milk, whole milk, half-and-half, or non-dairy milk for the custard layer. I usually like to use skimmed milk for this recipe, which you'll be sweetening and then thickening with cornstarch so it'll come out rich and creamy either way.
- Eggs: The custard layer will call for 2 whole eggs. If you like a more yellow-dish custard, then use only the egg yolks. I personally use the whole egg.
- Cornstarch: This ingredient is essential for making a rich and creamy custard.
- Sugar: Tea biscuits are already slightly sweet, so you'll only need a little bit of white sugar for the custard layer.
- Vanilla Extract: Liquid vanilla extract is what gives the custard its delicious flavor, and will get rid of any eggy aftertaste.
- Cocoa Powder: I like to sprinkle the cake with some unsweetened cocoa powder in the end, which goes beautifully with the simple flavors of the rest of this no-bake cake. It just balances out the flavors in the most delicious way. You can also use sweetened cocoa powder or hot cocoa mix.
- Instant Coffee: This part is optional, but I always grind around a teaspoon of instant coffee along with the cocoa powder before sprinkling them both on top of the cake. Trust me on this one.
You will also need:
- Small pot or saucepan
- 13"X9" serving dish (or similar size)
Tips and Tricks
- Mix the custard ingredients in the pot before you put it on the stove. Cornstarch doesn't dissolve in anything hot, so make sure you whisk it in with the milk, sugar, vanilla, and eggs before you put it in the stove. Otherwise it'll clump up and you'll get a lumpy custard.
- Whisk the custard continuously. In order for your custard to stay silky-smooth, make sure you whisk it almost continuously while it's on the stove. You want the eggs to cook evenly and not turn into scrambled eggs in milk.
- Arrange the biscuits evenly. If you want nice, equal layers, make sure you arrange each layer of tea biscuits as evenly as possible.
- Work while the custard is still hot. In order to be able to spread the custard in even layers, you want to work quickly while it's hot. It will start to thicken as it cools, which might make it a bit harder to spread.
- Crush the instant coffee with the cocoa powder. If you decide to use instant coffee, I like to crush it into the cocoa powder with the back of a spoon before sprinkling the mixture on top.
- Let the custard cake set before serving. This custard cake needs at least 3 hours to set properly.
- Dip your knife in hot water. If you want to get clean-cut slices, this trick will make sure your knife slices through the cake perfectly.
How To Make Custard From Scratch
- Whisk all the ingredients into a small pot or saucepan before you take it to the stove.
- Once on the stove, bring to a boil while whisking continuously.
- As soon as it starts bubbling, lower the heat and keep whisking until it thickens.
How Long Will It Keep In The Fridge?
Custard cake can be kept in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, which makes it the perfect dessert to make ahead of time. I actually think it tastes better the second day because the biscuits really have time to soak up the custard.
No-Bake Custard Cake
- 1-2 packs tea biscuits
- 4 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee optional
- Whisk the cornstarch, eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a pot until fully incorporated.
- On the stove, bring the mixture to a boil while whisking continuously,
- As soon as it bubbles, lower the heat and keep whisking until the mixture thickens.
- Arrange the biscuits in a single layer 9"x13" serving dish, then spread a layer of custard on top. Just enough to form a layer on top of the biscuits. Repeat this process two more times, the last layer being custard.
- Crush the instant coffee with the cocoa powder and sprinkle or sift on top of the cake.
- Let the custard cool then let set for 3 hours in the fridge. Slice into squares and enjoy.
- The number of biscuits you use will depend on the size of your pan and the size of the biscuits.
- You want to end up with 3 layers of biscuits and custard.