Sunday, December 15, 2013

Magic Chocolate Flan Cake

The inspiration to make this comes from the mother of my wonderful friends, Dana and Reem. All three are so sweet, just like this cake. I've had the delicious opportunity to eat her cake twice and then I came across this recipe so I had to try making it myself! Their mom makes it with a luscious vanilla cake on the bottom, which I think I like better than the chocolate! Vanilla better than chocolate? Shocking, I know!

You would think that you would pour the flan into the bottom of the pan first and then add the chocolate cake batter on top, so that when you flip it over you get flan on top and cake on bottom. But funny enough, you do it the opposite and the cakes magically swap places while in the oven. Isn't that neat? 

Okay, now. I forgot to buy whole milk at the store when I was buying everything else for this cake. So during mid-baking and discovering that we only had 1% milk and its already late and I really don't feel like going back to the store at this hour, I had to stomp around the kitchen in frustration and decide to risk using the milk with hardly any fat. Hardly any flavor. Hardly any.. anything. How can you expect flan to come out alright with 1% milk? 

Surprisingly, the flan came out perfect. It was thick, creamy, luscious, and I daresay heavenly. My sister-in-law said it was the best flan she ever had! I know I am breaking my baking rule, and making this again. Soon.

I will note that I tried to make the flan in my kitchen aid electric mixer first. Thinking since it's such a magical tool, I don't need to use a blender. Wrong. It kept splashing the mixture out of the bowl. Use a blender. It helps break up the cream cheese into tiny bits and maybe it helps create air bubbles needed for the magic process. 

Chocolate Flan Cake 
Adapted from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup caramel sauce or topping (store bought or homemade)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (1 ounce) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan, taking care to get in all the nooks and crannies. Pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of the pan (the caramel sauce, if store-bought and thick, may need a quick warm-up in the microwave to be pourable).

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter and microwave at 50% power for 1-minute increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is melted and smooth, about 2-4 minutes. 

Whisk the buttermilk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the melted chocolate mixture until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour the chocolate batter evenly over the caramel.

2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk (when split: 1 can)*
2 1/2 cups whole milk (when split: 1 1/4 cups)
6 ounces cream cheese (when split: 3 ounces)
6 large eggs (when split: 3 whole eggs)
4 large egg yolks (when split: 2 egg yolks)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract (when split: 1/2 teaspoon)

*The original recipe says to add all the flan ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. I have a standard size (even a tad bit on the large size) blender and I have to process it in two batches because its too much. So split the above recipe in half, process in the blender, and then repeat.  

Slowly and carefully pour the flan mixture over the the cake batter. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour warm water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the bundt pan. Bake the cake about 75 minutesuntil a toothpick comes out clean in both the cake and the flan, or until the flan registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the Bundt pan from the roasting pan (the easiest way for cleanup is to leave the roasting pan and water in the oven until it has cooled) and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for 8 hours .

To remove the cake from the pan, fill a large bowl with hot water and place the bottom third of the Bundt pan in the water for 1 minute. Carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate or cake platter - I do this by putting the cake platter or plate over the Bundt pan opening and then, holding onto the edges of both platter and cake pan, I gently turn the pan upside down while flipping the cake platter. Slowly remove the pan letting the caramel drizzle over the top of the cake. Serve chilled.

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