Chocolate Flan Cake Recipe

Chocolate Flan Cake Recipe

The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Cool: 3 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Yield: 1 (10-inch) tube cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
457 Calories
17g Fat
66g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 457
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 97mg 32%
Sodium 457mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 66g 24%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 52g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 303mg 23%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 326mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chocolate flan cake recipe, also known as chocoflan, is fun to make, as there is a kind of baking "magic" involved. You add both cake batter and flan ingredients to a Bundt or tube pan, all mixed up, and they magically sort themselves out in the oven into a rich chocolate cake topped with a creamy caramel flan. Cake and flan in every bite, drizzled with dulce de leche caramel sauce.

There are a few tricks to ensure success, the most important one being to allow the cake to cool completely (or even chill it) before inverting it out of the pan, no matter how tempting it might be to check it as soon as it comes out of the oven. The flan needs to cool to set completely, or it will crack and break when the pan is inverted. Traditionally this cake, like flan, is served cold, but it's also very good when warm, or at room temperature. You could heat a slice gently in the microwave, but make sure it's cool when you try to flip it out of the pan.

You will need a 12-cup Bundt, tube, or angel food cake pan for this recipe, and a roasting pan that is large enough for the baking pan to fit inside (for the water bath).

It's a good idea to grease your baking pan well and even better to use a nonstick pan if you have one.

"For a moist, delicious cake that looks like a masterpiece, it was surprisingly easy to prepare. Make sure it has completely cooled before you unmold it and store it in the refrigerator. If some of the caramel topping stays in the pan after unmolding, just spoon it back over the top of the cake." — Diana Rattray

chocolate flan cake (chocoflan)
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • Butter or vegetable shortening, for the pan

  • 1 box devil's food cake mix, approximately 15 to 16 ounces

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/3 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch salt

For the Flan:

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

  • 12 ounces evaporated milk

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche

  • 3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

  • Chocolate sprinkles, for optional garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 F. 

    Chocolate Flan Cake Recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  2. Grease a 12-cup Bundt, tube, or angel food cake pan generously with butter or vegetable shortening.

    greased bundt pan

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  3. Place the cake mix in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add cocoa powder, milk, sour cream, vegetable oil, 3 eggs, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and a pinch of salt, and mix well. 

    batter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  4. Place the condensed milk, evaporated milk, 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a blender and pulse until well blended.

    flan mixture in a food processor

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  5. Gently warm the dulce de leche in the microwave to soften it and then mix it with the caramel sauce. Place half of the caramel and dulce de leche mixture in the bottom of the baking pan. Reserve the remaining half. 

    flan mixture on a bundt pan

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  6. Pour the chocolate cake batter into the pan. Pour the blended condensed milk and egg mixture into the pan over the chocolate cake batter—do not mix. Cover pan with an oiled piece of aluminum foil. 

    batter in a bundt pan

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  7. Set the baking pan inside a roasting pan. Place the pans in the oven, then carefully fill the roasting pan with 1 to 2 inches of hot water.  

    batter in a bundt pan on a baking sheet, water in a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  8. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch. Carefully remove the cake and roasting pan from the oven (avoid sloshing/spilling the hot water). 

    baked cake in a bunt pan covered with aluminum foil on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  9. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate for 2 hours or until completely cooled.

    cake on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  10. Remove the foil from the pan, and gently tap the pan on the counter. Gently loosen the edges of the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert a large plate over the top of the pan, then flip it so that the cake can slide out and onto the plate. 

    Chocolate Flan Cake on a platter

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  11. Heat the remaining caramel sauce and dulce de leche mixture and then drizzle it over the cake. Decorate the cake with chocolate sprinkles, if desired. 

    Chocolate Flan Cake on a cake stand

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Tips

  • If some of the caramel sauce mixture stays in the pan when you unmold the cake, spoon it back over the top of the cake. If necessary, warm it slightly.
  • To heat the reserved caramel topping, microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl or cup, stirring after every 20 seconds, until it is just warm.
  • Make sure to grease the pan thoroughly with butter, shortening, or cooking spray—if it's a fluted pan, make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. If the pan is not nonstick, dust it with flour or use a baking spray with flour.

Recipe Variation

  • Top the cake with a few tablespoons of toasted coconut flakes or chopped toasted pecans for a crunchy finish.
  • Try substituting some of the vanilla extract with coconut extract.
  • Use cajeta in place of the dulce de leche. Similar to dulce de leche, cajeta is made from goat's milk and is traditionally used in this cake.

How to Store a Chocoflan

  • Chocolate flan cake is part cake, part custard, so it must be stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to keep leftovers refrigerated. Eat the cake within four days.
  • The sliced cake may be frozen for up to one month. Wrap slices well and freeze them, then place them in a zip-close freezer bag. Defrost frozen chocoflan slices in the refrigerator, then let them come to room temperature before you remove the wrapping.

Why is chocoflan called impossible cake?

Chocolate flan cake is also called impossible cake (pastel imposible) because the chocolate cake and flan layers seem to magically reverse positions during baking while still maintaining two distinct layers.

What is the origin of chocoflan?

Chocolate flan cake or chocoflan is a Mexican dessert. There is also an Arabic version called kodrit kadir.