Chocoflan, a combination of chocolate cake on the bottom with flan on the top, defies baking logic. It goes into the oven with the flan on top, and comes out of the oven with the flan baked on the bottom, out of sight. Invert the cake pan on a plate, and there is the flan again, now on the new top.
Normally, flan is baked on a base of caramelized sugar. Chocoflan, marching to its own drum beat, uses a base of cajeta, a sweetened, caramelized concoction made with leche de cabra (goat milk), famous throughout Latin American countries and designated as this year’s Bicentennial Dessert of Mexico.
A caja is a little box, and cajeta can still be purchased in little pine boxes in and near the city of Celaya in Guanajuato, Mexico. One of our long-ago travel memories is stopping to buy a number of small boxes of cajeta to take home as gifts, only to immediately lose all will power and eat every single bit with the tiny plastic spoon supplied with each box. I can still picture those elegant little boxes, decorated with a colorful goat picture and tied with yellow string.
David Lebovitz recently baked a Chocoflan on his blog, also called Pastel Imposible (Impossible Cake), and since I read his blog, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Plus, Cooking in Mexico could use some more readers and there is nothing like a recipe with chocolate to bring the Mexican foodies to my blog’s doorstep, hoping for a few morsels.
- 1/2 cup ( 5.4 oz./154 grams) cajeta
- 2 large eggs, cool room temperature
- 6 oz. (180 ml.) evaporated milk
- 6 oz. (180 ml.) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) Kahlúa
- 1 3/4 cups (7 oz./200 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (7 oz./200 grams) sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1.2 oz./33 grams) cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz/114 grams) butter at cool room temperature
- 9 fluid oz. (260 ml.) buttermilk (or equivilent amount of plain yogurt thinned with milk to buttermilk consistency)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoon (45 ml.) Kahlúa
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F. (180 C.). Butter a tube cake pan (8″ across and 4″ high/200 mm. x 100 mm.) and spread cajeta on bottom of pan.
- Heat a small sauce pan of water for hot water bath to pour into a pan larger than cake pan.
- Prepare flan mixture by blending 2 eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk and 1 tablespoon Kahlúa. Set aside.
- In standing mixer (or use a hand-held electric mixer), mix butter and sugar for 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down sides of bowl, and add 1 egg and 3 tablespoons Kahlúa. Beat for 30 seconds.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Add half of dry ingredients, alternating with half of buttermilk, until all is incorporated into butter mixture. Beat for 1 minute on medium-high speed.
- Spoon batter into cake pan over cajeta, and level with a spatula. Pour flan mixture over cake batter, pouring over a spoon to gentle the pressure (see photo below).
- Set cake pan in a larger pan, and place on oven rack. Add boiling water to large pan to a depth of 1″.
- Bake 50 minutes, or until cake tests dry with a wooden toothpick. (Cake will pull away from sides of pan after it is removed from oven.)
- Remove from water bath and cool on a rack to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, run a thin knife around inside of pan sides and invert onto cake plate. If any cajeta sticks to the pan, spread onto the cake.
- Don’t use an angel food pan with a removable bottom because the flan mixture will leak out all over the floor of the oven. I know this, because one of my readers tried it and reported the unsatisfactory results. She said she was left with an inch of flan on the cake, but she did have the presence of mind to put a baking sheet underneath to catch the leak.
- This recipe was inspired by David Lebovitz and based on a recipe by Rick Bayless, with a few changes to his recipe. I halved the flan recipe (not the cake batter recipe), since I did not have the 10″ x 3″ round pan called for in his recipe. The proportions of cake to flan turned out to be perfect, as I would not have wanted twice the amount of flan.
- Dulce de Leche is very similar to cajeta, the latter being made from goat milk.
- If you have left-over cajeta, treat yourself to Crêpes with Cajeta, Nuts and Chocolate Sauce.
- David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Dulce de Leche Flan (davidlebovitz.com)
- Rick Bayless’s Impossible Cake (rickbayless.com)
- Mexican Cajeta (Wikipedia)
- Crêpes with Cajeta and Chocolate (cookinginmexico.com)
- Alfajores, South American cookies for Christmas (cookinginmexico.com)