Flan Imposible (Impossible Chocolate Flan)

  • Serves

    makes one 8" cake


This dessert, also called chocoflan, gets its name from a magical thing that occurs in the oven. You cover the mold with some cajeta, pour in the chocolate cake batter, pour a layer of flan on top, and cover it lightly. It goes into the oven in a bigger dish with some hot water, and when you check whether it's done a little while later, you find that the flan is hidden somewhere and all you see is chocolate cake! You wait for it to cool, unmold it, and there is the flan! This is a sticky, rich, sweet dessert that is not for the faint of heart. Although you can make it in individual ramekins, there is something quite exciting about slicing a full-size one. It never ceases to amaze me. This recipe is excerpted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson. Copyright (C) 2010 by Fany Gerson. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


For the Cake

  • 34 cup sugar
  • 34 cup all-purpose flour
  • 13 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
  • 12 tsp. baking soda
  • 14 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 12 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cajeta, (homemade or store-bought

For the Flan

  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-oz) can condensed milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 34 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts, for garnish


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan.

Step 2

Pour the cajeta over the bottom and sides of the cake pan using a brush or the back of a spoon (you can heat the cajeta very slightly in the microwave so that it is easier to spread).

Step 3

Make the cake: combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, whisking until thoroughly combined. Pour the cake batter into the pan and set aside.

Step 4

Make the flan: combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt in a blender and blend until there are no visible lumps. Pour gently over the cake batter.

Step 5

Cover loosely with foil, place in a large baking dish, and fill the baking dish with hot water so that it comes halfway up the sides. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Step 6

Remove the cake pan from the baking dish and allow to cool for at least 4 hours or refrigerate overnight. To unmold, lightly pass a warm knife around the edge, place a plate or dish on top, and carefully but rapidly flip over. Garnish with the toasted nuts. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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