Super moist and fudgy chocolate cake on the bottom and silky vanilla flan on the top, this Chocoflan recipe might seem complicated but it’s actually pretty easy to make. It just might be our favorite Mexican dessert ever!
Have you heard the saying, “it only seems impossible until you do it”? Well for years I was afraid to attempt one of the most the classic Mexican desserts, Chocoflan, because it looked way too complicated. The fact that its other name is Pastel Imposible or Impossible Cake didn’t help matters.
I mean somehow you have to get the two batters to invert inside the cake pan while it’s baking and then unmold the whole thing without it sticking or breaking or ahhh! I’m getting anxiety just thinking about it.
But you know what? Pastel Imposible is not so impossible after all. The magic happens on its own and the cake batter and flan mixture both come together with a simple bowl and whisk. It actually is a super fun recipe to make and looks incredibly impressive. You don’t need to tell anyone how simple it really is.
If you’re looking for a more traditional flan recipe, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make authentic flan.
What is Chocoflan?
Chocoflan is a combination of rich chocolate cake and vanilla flan layered on top of each other in one magical dessert. It is a dessert that gives a nod to the French and Spanish who brought introduced créme carmel and chocolate pastries to Mexico.
You layer Cajeta (a goat’s milk caramel), chocolate cake batter, and flan in a single bundt pan and bake it. As it bakes the chocolate cake floats to the top and the flan sinks to the bottom so when you flip it out of the pan the layers are reversed!
Why You Should Give This Chocoflan A Try
Many Chocoflan recipes have cinnamon in the chocolate cake layer and it’s good but this cake has espresso powder and coffee in the batter which doesn’t make it taste like coffee but enhances the chocolate flavor, making it more rich and decadent.
Another thing I love about this recipe is there’s no mixer needed. The cake has vegetable oil instead of butter which not only makes it fluffier but also means you can easily whisk it all together in one bowl.
As for the flan mixture, most Chocoflan recipes have cream cheese but I decided to skip it. The flan layer in this recipe is super silky and smooth and again can be either whisked together in a bowl or blended in the blender.
- Cajeta. Use store-bought cajeta or make your own. You can also substitute dulce de leche or even caramel sauce.
- Large eggs
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Evaporated milk
- Vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- All purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Espresso powder
- Vegetable oil
- Brewed strong coffee
How To Make This Recipe
Prep the pan. Generously grease a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Heat the oven to 350°F and put a kettle of water on to boil.
Pour cajeta into pan. Drizzle cajeta into the bottom of the pan.
Blend dry ingredients for cake. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Whisk to break up any lumps until it is evenly mixed.
Add wet. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, and coffee. Whisk until just combined, don’t over mix.
Mix flan. Whisk all the ingredients for the flan together in a separate large bowl. Whisk very vigorously so the egg incorporates completely and there is no streaks of egg yolk or egg white. You can also blend them together in the blender.
Scrape cake batter into pan. Evenly layer the cake batter over the cajeta in the bundt pan. Smooth the top.
Pour flan mixture on top. Gently pour the flan mixture over the back of a large spoon on top of the cake batter. The spoon keeps it from disturbing the cake mixture too much but if some does break off and float to the top that’s okay, it will settle back down.
Create a water bath. Set the bundt pan in a large roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold it. Pour the hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan until it reaches about an inch up the side of the bundt pan.
Cover with foil and bake. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the bundt pan with it. Bake in the middle of the oven until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Let cool. Remove from the roasting pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. The bottom of the pan should feel cool to touch or at least feel room temperature, not warm. If it is not cool enough it can fall apart when you take it out of the pan, so don’t skimp on this step.
Remove from pan. Place a large platter or cake stand with a lip over the bundt pan and invert the Chocoflan onto the platter. Give it a little jiggle until you feel it sliding out. Scrape any leftover Cajeta on top of the flan. Serve room temperature or put in the refrigerator until it is cold and completely firm.
Why did my Chocoflan fall apart? The main reason your Chocoflan fell apart was that you probably didn’t let it cool long enough. Don’t worry that it won’t come out of the pan—it will. It is more important that the flan has time to cool completely before you unmold it.
What can I use if I don’t have a bundt pan? You can use a standard 10-inch round cake pan. The Cajeta will absorb a little unevenly though, so you will want to have more on hand for drizzling.
How long does Chocoflan last? This is one of those desserts that gets even better as it sits. You can make it up to 3 days in advance and keep covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
More Dessert Recipes You’ll Love
- Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Pineapple
- Soft Ricotta Banana Bread
- Authentic Tres Leches Cake
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies (from our sister site, Kate’s Best Recipes)
- Strawberry Tamales with Horchata Sauce
- The Best Apple Pie From Scratch (again, from Kate’s Best Recipes)
- Coconut Tres Leches Cake
Are You Ready To Try The Impossible?
Of course you are! Let me know when you make it, I always love hearing from you. Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
Super moist and fudgy chocolate cake on the bottom and silky vanilla flan on the top, this Chocoflan recipe might seem complicated but it's actually pretty easy to make. It just might be our favorite Mexican dessert ever!
For the Pan
- Cooking spray
- 1/4 cup Cajeta, dulce de leche or caramel
For the Chocolate Cake Layer
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¾ teaspoon espresso powder
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup brewed strong coffee
For the Flan Layer
- 4 large eggs
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Prep the pan. Heat oven to 350°F and arrange rack in the middle of the oven. Spray a 12-cup bundt cake pan well with cooking spray. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
- Layer cajeta. Spoon the cajeta over the bottom of the pan and set aside.
- Start the chocolate cake. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Whisk to break up any lumps.
- Add the wet ingredients. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the oil, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and coffee. Whisk to break up the eggs and then combine the wet and dry just until everything is evenly moist. Don't over mix.
- Mix the flan. In a separate large bowl or blender, combine the egg, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt for the flan. Make sure there are no streaks of egg.
- Add chocolate cake to pan. Spoon the chocolate cake batter over the cajeta in the bundt pan. Smooth the top.
- Top with flan. Gently pour the flan mixture over the back of a large spoon on top of the chocolate cake batter being careful not to disturbe it too much. Grease a piece of foil and cover the bundt pan with the foil.
- Make a water bath. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with the hot water until it reaches about an inch up the sides of the bundt pan.
- Bake. Bake Chocoflan in the oven until the cake is firm and springy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about an hour. Do not open the oven door during this time to keep all the steam in the oven.
- Cool. Remove the bundt pan from the water bath and set on a wire rack. Remove the foil and let it cool completely to room temperature. The bottom of the bundt pan should not be warm at all. This will take about 2 hours.
- Remove from the pan. Place a large serving platter or rimmed cake pan over the bundt pan and invert the Chocoflan on to the platter. Give a little jiggle until it slides out. Scrape any leftover Cajeta on top of the flan.
- Serve. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until cold. Slice and serve!
- Don't worry if some of the chocolate cake batter floats to the top when you pour in the flan mixture. It will settle back down as it bakes.
- Let the Chocoflan cool completely before unmolding. At least 2 hours.
- Cajeta is goat's milk caramel. You can make your own, buy it at a Latin market or substitute dulce de leche or caramel sauce.
- Make the Chocoflan up to 3 days in advance, unmold and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Chocoflan can not be frozen.
- You will need a 12-cup bundt cake pan and a large roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold the bundt cake pan.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 102mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g
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