When I first saw this phyllo crinkle dessert on TikTok, I immediately knew that I had to make it! Not only it looked luscious, crispy and gooey, it also seemed super simple to put together!
The creator, @RamenaSaidWow, explained that this is a Middle Eastern sweet treat called muakacha, which means “wrinkled” in Arabic (and you can see why…), and this has been the all-time best-seller at her bakery.
So I have tested the recipe and can share with you the best tips to make this crunchy and buttery layers of pleated phyllo with a soft custard filling dessert.
To achieve the combination of crackling crispiness and bread-pudding texture, the dessert goes into the oven 3 times! Just follow the simple procedure and you will get a scrumptious cake, with crunchy, buttery layers and a soft custardy center.
Take it from me, this phyllo crinkle cake is definitely well worth the hype. It looks stunning and tastes heavenly!
What is Phyllo or Filo pastry?
Filo or phyllo is a very thin unloved dough used to make pastries in Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Filo-based pastries are made by layering many sheets of filo brushed with oil or butter; the pastry is then baked. The process is complex to achieve paper-thin sheet to dough. But we are lucky to be able to buy Phyllo / Filo pastry in the frozen department of most supermarkets. Please make sure to get Phyllo pastry, and not another type of pastry dough.
Tip #1: please make sure to leave the frozen Phyllo / Filo pastry on your kitchen counter for 3-4 hours before baking, for it to be completely at room temperature for easy handling. It it’s still frozen or even partially frozen, it will be very brittle, and you’ll end up with crumbs instead of neat pleated dough.
How to make this Phyllo Crinkle Cake?
The procedure is very simple as you can see from the following step-by-step pictures.
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180 C and grease a baking pan with melted butter (about 2 tablespoons) or line it with parchment paper. Here I’m using a simple foil tray like Ramena.
Open the Phyllo carton, unwrap and gently unfold the sheets of dough.
Take 2 sheets of phyllo dough and hold them together by both ends as you would hold a bedsheet before folding. Then with your fingers, start folding or scrunching both sheets into pleats, each fold should be around 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Scrunch the sheets up into a fluffy accordion about 1″ thick. You could watch the original video by Ramena, where she shows her technique to fold sheets of phyllo dough together like an accordion, then douses them with butter, sugar syrup, and a simple custard. .
Lay the scrunched phyllo pleats into a parchment lined or slightly greased 13×9″ baking pan – Make sure that the folds are facing upward. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and put them side by side in the baking pan until it’s full and all the phyllo sheets are used up.
Bake the phyllo tray for 10 minutes at 350° to get the dough slightly crispy.
In the meantime, put 2 sticks of butter in a microwave-proof container and heat on high for 90 seconds until melted.
To make the simple syrup: Heat 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup water in a pan and a teaspoon of lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the syrup for about 8 to 12 minutes until it’s semi-thick like the consistency of maple syrup. This syrup will be poured over the cake after baking, so make sure it’s slightly thickened, not liquidy, or the cake will be soggy. Set aside.
Tip #2: Instead of the simple syrup, you could drizzle salted caramel sauce, dulce de leche, chocolate sauce or strawberry coulis over the cake, for a different recipe twist.
This is how the phyllo dough looks after the first 10 minutes in the oven.
After 10 minutes in the oven, remove the baking pan and then pour the melted butter over the layers of phyllo dough, use a pastry brush to spread the butter evenly. Place the pan into the oven for another ten minutes.
During this second 10 minutes bake, in a medium bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup whole milk, 1 tbsp vanilla extract until smooth and well combined.
Tip #3: Use Whole Milk, not the 2% variety or other substitute
Tip #4: Instead of vanilla extract, you can use other extracts such as rosewater, lemon, orange, almond, or rum.
Tip #5: Beat the eggs first, then add the sugar and vanilla (or other extract), then gradually add the milk.
After the second 10 minutes bake, remove the baking pan from the oven and pour the custardy mixture over the phyllo sheets to cover evenly.
Return the baking pan into the oven and bake for another 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and crispy and the custard is set.
This is how the phyllo dough looks like after the last bake (around 35 minutes). The custard has set and the phyllo sheets are crispy and golden…
After the crinkle dessert is crisp and golden brown, drizzle the simple syrup over the dessert, sprinkle crushed pistachios over the cake and serve!
Tip #6: Instead of crushed pistachios, you can experiment with chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, almond slivers, coconut flakes.
To serve, cut into squares and either garnish with berries or serve the berries on the side.
Scrumptious Crinkle Cake
- Baking Pan
- Bowl and Whisk
- Medium Sauce Pan
- Microwave-safe container
- 2 sticks butter, each stick is 4 oz / 113 g
- 2 tbsp butter for greasing
- 1 box Phyllo pastry, defrosted
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
- 1/2 cup strawberries or mixed berries
- Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C
- Grease a baking pan with melted butter (2 tbsp) or line with parchment paper
- Unfold the defrosted phyllo dough. Take two sheets of phyllo dough and hold them together horizontally at both ends and let the sheets hang. Gently take your fingers from both hands and begin to fold the phyllo sheet from the top down like an accordion, to form a scrunched-up piece of phyllo dough. Place it against the side of the baking pan. Make sure the pleats are facing upward. Repeat with the remaining phyllo dough, and fill out the baking pan.
- Put the phyllo baking pan in the oven for 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, put 2 sticks of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 90 seconds, until melted.
- Make the simple syrup: In a medium sauce pan, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, over medium heat. Stir from time to time. Reduce the syrup to slightly thickened, like the consistency of maple syrup, around 8 to 12 minutes. Set aside.
- After 10 minutes, take the baking pan out of the oven and drizzle the melted butter over the phyllo pastry. Use a pastry brush to spread evenly.
- Return the baking pan in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the custard batter. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well combined, add the sugar, vanilla extract, mix well till smooth. Gradually add the whole milk, whisking to blend each time.
- After 10 minutes, take the baking pan out of the oven and pour the custard batter over the phyllo dough. Return the baking pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (check after 30 minutes) – Remove when the phyllo is golden crispy and the custard has set.
- Drizzle the simple syrup over the Crinkle Cake. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios
- Cut into squares or service size, serve warm or at room temperature, with sliced strawberries or mixed berries
Can this Crinkle Cake be made in advance?
It’s best to be enjoyed on the same day, either served warm or at room temperature, to enjoy the crunchy crispiness of the phyllo and custardy texture of the center.
We have refrigerated a few leftover pieces and enjoyed them the next day. It still tastes delicious and buttery, but has more the consistency of a cake.
Can this Crinkle Cake be made as single portion size?
Tip #7: You can also bake Crinkle Cake in individual ramekins or in a muffin pan. First slightly grease the ramekins with butter. If using a muffin pan, put a cupcake liner in each crevice. Fill the ramekins or muffin pan with scrunched phyllo sheets (same method as above) in a circular pattern.
Follow the same recipe step-by-step.
Instead of using simple syrup, a salted caramel sauce is drizzled over the individual cakes.
The individual Crinkle cakes can be served in the ramekins, or plated.
This viral Tik Tok Crinkle Cake is absolutely to die for, yet so simple to make thanks to Ramena’s genius technique!
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