Thursday, February 17, 2011

Personal Size Chocoflan

I’ve been experimenting with Mexican desserts lately and I’ve learned a lot.  There’s more than the traditional empanadas & fried ice cream.  I’ve enjoyed flan before, but never paired with Mexican chocolate cake.  It’s really interesting watching the layers “reverse” as they bake.

If you were born and raised in the US, you may have never heard of “Chocoflan”.  It’s very popular in Mexico - especially for birthdays, and is also on the menu at restaurants.  It’s referred to as “Impossible Cake”.  

I recall a trend back in the day (when Bisquick was all the rage) many recipes popped up with the word “Impossible” in the title (ever heard of “Impossible Pie”?)  They often started with a quick bread batter combined with more liquid ingredients (such as a stew or fruit-based cobbler).  As it baked, it formed two layers - one with the cake or bread, and the other forming the stew or sauce.  
There’s a similarity in this recipe.  The cake batter begins on the bottom - but rises to the top.  The flan, on the other hand, sinks to the bottom.  It makes for one beautiful presentation.   

Apparently it is traditionally served chilled for 24 hours prior to serving.  But I preferred it warmed briefly in the microwave, which really made the flavors stand out.  These store well in the refrigerator, and are so convenient to take out and warm on the spur of the moment for a really classy dessert.  

What makes it taste “Mexican” you ask?  First - Mexican Vanilla.  It really is unique in it’s flavor (it’s not my favorite, but it gave this some character)  Be careful though when purchasing this flavoring, as some brands contain Coumarin (dangerous for those taking blood thinners).  Be sure to read the label and avoid any made from beans from the tonka tree (which contains Coumarin).  The next unique ingredient is Cajeta - a caramel-like sauce made from half goat’s milk and half cow’s milk.  When it came to Cajeta - I had no problem with substituting my own good-quality caramel from a jar.

This may appear complicated, but it's really very simple.  You'll find the complete recipe with my adaptations at:


  1. Thanks for another great looking recipe. I have printed out more recipes than I think I can count and have already tried a whole bunch of them. You always have such great ideas and the way you go about them is amazing. I was talking to my mom about you the other day telling her how amazing you are. She loves a new recipe every bit as much as I do because we both share our ancestors love of cooking and creating in the kitchen. I was telling her how great you are with your grandkids always creating something new and spectacular and are always being so festive. I suggested that sometime she go find you and introduce herself to her. She just lives on the North West corner across from the conference center. We lost my father 5 years ago to pancreatic cancer. She is currently the primary president in her ward (at 72) and loves her mission of serving over at the geneological library on wednesdays with my sister. She goes to the temple 2-3 mornings a week at 5 and is always on the go doing one thing or another. I told her she should trot on over and introduce herself. I told her that she could check out your blog since I have your thumbnail on my blog. Thank you for all your beautiful recipes, your beautiful spirit, and your obedient service. I hope your missionary as well as the rest of your wonderful family is doing well. Many more happy recipes.
    Merinda Crane

  2. Great post! I have never heard of this dessert before. It looks amazing!

  3. Merinda -
    You are certainly kind. It's nice to know this little site has a few people who can use at least a portion of it. I would love to meet your mother - she sounds like my kind of (busy) person. Good luck sending off your son - what a sweet experience for your family.