Friday, January 30, 2015

Chocolate Flan Cake (AKA Magic Cake)

Photo from Something Quite Domestic
Dirk and I love trying flan at different Mexican restaurants in our area. It's fun to see the unique ways people make it and how different they all are. Two of my brothers introduced me to this cake. I never tried making it because it seemed too complicated and I didn't want to spend all day baking one thing. 

Oh, fear not! You do need to plan a little bit in advance because this cake tastes the best when it's chilled overnight, but it's easy to make. This cake preps in less than 30 minutes, bakes in about an hour and in a pinch you could chill it for a few hours before you serve it. 

Why do they call it "Magic Cake"? Because of science and chemistry the two layers switch places during baking. This cake is really fun to make with kids because when you put it in the bundt pan the chocolate batter goes in first and then the flan batter goes on top. During the baking process the flan sinks to the bottom and the cake rises to the top, all in 2 beautiful, distinct layers. Then when you plate it, the flan will be on the top and the chocolate cake on the bottom. It made for a fun experiment and lesson while we baked the cake and a great opportunity to discuss basic principles of chemistry. :)

The sky is the limit with this cake. You can experiment with different extracts, different flavors of cake, etc. 

So another thing, this recipe uses cateja which is caramelized milk. You can make your own or you can go to the Hispanic section of your supermarket and buy it already made if you are pressed for time. 

Okay. Here's what you need:

-Large bundt pan (at least 12 cup size)
-Large roasting pan
-1 can of cateja (can make your own as listed below or buy in the Hispanic section of most supermarkets)

-1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk

Place unopened can into a large pan and fill pan with water ensuring to cover can completely. Cover pan and bring water to a boil. Turn heat down to med-low and boil can for 3-4 hours. Add more water as necessary to cover can of milk. Remove can from hot water with tongs and allow can to cool. Open can and voila! You have cateja! You can do several cans at the same time so that you can keep some on hand.

-1/2 c. unsalted butter, plus 2 TBS at room temp
-1 c. sugar
-1 egg, at room temp
-1 tsp. dark rum
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
-1/3 c. cocoa powder (if you can find dark chocolate that works best)
-1 3/4 c. flour (best if you can use 1 c. cake flour and the rest all-purpose. I have used all all-purpose and it still works out great.)
-3/4 tsp. salt 
-3/4 tsp. baking soda
-3/4 c. baking powder
-1 1/4 c. buttermilk

- 1 (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
- 1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk (splurge for a good brand)
-3 large eggs, at room temp
-4 oz. of cream cheese, at room temp.
-1 TBS vanilla extract

-1/4 c. pecans, chopped
-1/4 c. cateja
-1 TBS whole milk

1. Fill roasting pan with 1 inch of water and place in oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bundt pan with 1 tsp. of butter. Warm 1/2 cup of cateja in the microwave and pour on bottom of the bundt pan. Try not to get on the sides of the pan.

2. Prepare the cake. Place sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to beat together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix to combine. Next add the rum, vanilla extract and melted bittersweet chocolate and mix until incorporated. In a separate bowl sift or use a wire whisk to combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/3 of flour mixture to bowl and half of the butter milk into the egg mixture. Repeat again. Add the last 1/3 of flour mixture and beat until incorporated. The batter will be thick. Carefully spoon the mixture into the bundt pan on top of the cateja. Be careful to avoid spilling the batter on the sides. 

Photo from Something Quite Domestic

Photo from Something Quite Domestic

3. Prepare the flan. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds until well combined. Carefully and slowly pour the flan mixture on top of cake batter in the bundt pan. Cover bundt pan with foil. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully place bundt pan into the water bath. Make sure that the water comes up at least an inch on the bundt pan. Add more hot water to roasting pan if necessary. 

Photo from Something Quite Domestic

4. Place roasting pan back into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the cake top bounces back or a toothpick comes out clean. Remove roasting pan from oven and remove bundt pan from water bath. Transfer cake to a wire rack and allow the cake to rest in the pan to room temperature, about 2 hours and then refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

5. After the cake is chilled, place 1/3 bottom of the bundt pan in a bowl of hot tap water for about a minute. Invert cake on to a cake platter. Microwave the cateja and milk for about 10-15 seconds. Stir until combine and add more milk if necessary to get the a good consistency so that you can drizzle it on the top of the cake. (You want it thick, but just thin enough to drizzle.) Drizzle the cake with cateja and sprinkle with toasted pecans. 

Photo from Something Quite Domestic

Enjoy a little slice of heaven! The cake is slightly dense and fudgy and the flan is creamy and delicate.

Photo from Something Quite Domestic

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Here's the printable recipe.


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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Christina! Hope you try it and enjoy! Happy baking! :)

  3. This is really a wonderful post.