Life feels a little crazy right now because in two short months the manuscript for my second cookbook is due. As you can imagine, I've been spending all my time baking, testing, and washing loads of dishes. Most mornings I can be found in a quiet place, trying to connect my head and heart so I can articulate how much these recipes mean to me. I'm eager to share all the details with you, but for now I can only tell you that all of the recipes are brand new, except for three favorites from the blog - and the only reason those are being included is because they were the inspiration for the book. Are you curious? (smile)
Between all these working days that fly by too fast, life happens. My husband had a birthday yesterday, and even though there are cookbook sweets all over the house (on every flat surface and some balanced precariously on chair arms) I was determined to make him something special.
This was my first time making Magic Flan Cake, and let me tell you this: it is special. It may not win any beauty contests, but it's the kind of cake that makes you close your eyes after you taste it. And the magic part? That takes place in the oven. The cake batter get poured into the pan first, and then the flan mixture is poured on top of the batter. During baking the two switch places- pretty neat! My favorite part is how the flan infuses the cake batter with creamy goodness, so the whole thing is a glorious custard/pudding/cake masterpiece.
There are two important things you need to know about this cake. (1. start one day ahead, the cake needs to chill in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight, and (2. it requires a water bath. That might sound like a lot of work, but it's worth it. I repeat - It's SO worth it!
Magic Flan Cake
[click for printable version]
Yields 14 to 16 servings
Source: adapted from Cook’s Country
Prep: 2 hours 30 minutes
1/2 cup/155g prepared caramel sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons/60 g all-purpose flour
1/3 cup/46 g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons/85 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup/121 g buttermilk
1/2 cup/105 g sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
28 ounces (2 cans) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk!)
2 1/2 cups/598 g whole milk, room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with flour-based baking spray (such as Baker’s Joy). Pour the caramel sauce evenly into the bottom of the pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter; heat at 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring between heating until smooth. Add the buttermilk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the melted chocolate mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour the chocolate batter evenly over the caramel in the pan.
Add all the flan ingredients to a blender pitcher and process on liquefy (high) until smooth. Slowly pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan and then place it in the oven. Carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan (I used hot water straight from the tap) until it reaches halfway up the sides of the bundt pan. Bake the cake for 80 to 90 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging (mine took about 1 hour 40 minutes). Gently remove the Bundt pan from the roasting pan and place it on a cooling rack. Allow it to cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate the cake in the pan for 8 hours, or overnight.
To unmold the cake, fill a large bowl (or your sink) with hot water. Place the bottom of the cake pan in the water to warm the caramel/flan portion of the cake. This will help the cake release. Turn the cake out onto a large serving platter or a cake stand that has a lip. The caramel will drizzle down over the cake as you remove the pan. Store the cake covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.