I’ve always wanted to try making “The Amazing Chocoflan” that I keep seeing online, but the time never seemed right. Recently, however, I was invited to a last-minute potluck and it seemed like as good an occasion as any to give it a try!
That being said, I was kind of in a hurry and was actually (gasp!) short on flour, of all things, so I pulled out a chocolate cake mix to use as the base and never looked back. Besides, I figured that using an oil-based cake recipe was better for a cake that would be chilled before serving, since butter-based cakes tend to go a little stiff in the refrigerator.
Anyway, I doctored up the cake mix with a little sour cream for richness and some coffee for flavor, and in the end it turned out pretty well. The flan itself was absolutely amazing– the insulation from the water bath and the cake batter made it incredibly creamy, and it was perfectly sweet without being too sugary. It was definitely my favorite part of the dessert, and if I didn’t think that the cake batter played a major role in preventing curdling I’d try making it on its own… maybe I’ll try anyway, it was that good.
You can make this without the coffee in the flan if you don’t like the flavor, but I’d recommend leaving the coffee in the cake– it’s not noticeable as coffee and it deepens the flavor of the chocolate. You can also use jarred caramel sauce if you don’t want to make your own caramel, but I think the burnt-sugar flavor really adds something to the dessert.
Cake Mix Mocha Chocoflan
1/2 cup sugar
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, spread out the sugar and begin to cook on medium-high heat. Once it’s liquefied around the edges, scrape them towards the center and swirl until all of the sugar turns to a golden brown liquid. When it’s the color of amber, remove it from the heat and immediately pour into the bottom of a greased bundt pan. Set aside.
For cake layer:
1 heaping teaspoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and start boiling water for your water bath.*
1. Dissolve instant coffee in hot water. Combine all wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat on low speed until combined.
2. Add cake mix and beat for another 30 seconds on low. Then beat on high speed 2 minutes to aerate the mixture. Pour into the pan on top of the caramel. You may want to hold back about a cup or so to keep it from being too full.
For flan layer:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 heaping teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons hot water
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Dissolve instant coffee in hot water and set aside.
2. Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer until at least mostly smooth. Add the coffee mixture and continue beating– the heat from the water will help soften the cream cheese if necessary.
3. Add the condensed milk slowly to incorporate, then add the eggs one by one as you continue beating until combined. Finally, add evaporated milk and vanilla and finish beating. Doing it in this order really does help avoid lumps of cream cheese or streaks of egg in your flan batter, but if you’re really concerned about lumps you can strain it before using.
4. Pour over the cake mix in the bundt pan and cover with foil.
1. Place your filled bundt pan into a large roasting pan. Pull out your oven rack partway and put the roasting pan on it. Pour about 1 inch of hot water to the bottom of the roasting pan, then slide the oven rack back in. (this will minimize spilling)
2. Bake for about 1 hour, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the water bath and cool to room temperature, then chill completely.
When ready to serve, invert the bundt pan over your serving platter and jiggle slightly until it unmolds. If it doesn’t cooperate, try running a toothpick or knife gently around the edges of the cake section and then flipping again. Then step back and bask in the praise of your friends.