The Not So Impossible Cake

Chocolate, flan, coffee... How could I resist? I am not big on everyday desserts, but I am a big fan of homemade desserts. That perfect slice or piece of cake with a hot cup of coffee, sometime after lunch, but before dinner, oh yeah! When I first heard of chocoflan cake, I was thinking I would never attempt to make it. Believe me, I avoided it for a good year, ha, ha. I have several Mexican cookbooks and have tried several recipes, some I liked more than others. So after learning the basics, I ended up with this recipe, adding my own touch, of course. I encourage cooks to always make a recipe their own and add flavors that you like. The once "Impossible Cake," or "Pastel Imposible," is not so impossible after all.

The Not So Impossible Cake ( Chocoflan )

Yield: 12 servings


For the Pan:
1 cup of dulce de leche or Mexican cajeta
Butter and flour for pan
You will need a 10-inch round cake pan with 3-inch high sides or a bundt cake pan
A deep pan that is larger than the cake pan

For the Cake:
  • 6 ounces of butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons Nescafe dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

For the Flan:
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

For the Cake Toppings:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup dulce de leche or Mexican cajeta

Make sure you soften the cajeta or dulce de leche so it spreads more easily in the pan


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack to the middle. Generously butter the entire pan and sprinkle with flour. Tip the pan and tap out excess flour; set aside. Warm the cajeta or dulce de leche slightly to soften, then pour it over the bottom of pan to coat evenly. Warm 6 cups of water over medium-low heat while you prepare the cake.

For the cake, in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light in color. Scrape the bowl. Beat in the egg and Nescafe. Sift together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cocoa. With the mixer on medium-low, beat in about 1/2 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk. Repeat. Scrape bowl, then raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute.

For the flan, in the blender, combine the two milks, the eggs and both extracts. Blend until smooth.

Scrape the cake batter into prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Using a ladle, slowly pour the flan mixture over cake batter. Pull out the oven rack, set the cake into larger pan, then set both pans on rack. Pour hot water around the cake to the depth of 1 inch. Carefully slide the pans into the oven and bake for about 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the water bath and cool at room temperature for 1 hour.

To unmold cake, it's easiest if you refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Carefully run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the cake to free the edges. Invert a rimmed serving platter or large plate over the cake pan, grasp the two tightly together, then turn them upside down. Gently jiggle the pan back and forth and let the cake release and drop. You may have to show some patience and give it a minute to release. Drizzle the reserved cup of cajeta over the cake and sprinkle with pecans.

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