Esteban Castillo's Dulce de Leche Chocoflan Cake

May 28, 2020
16 Ratings
Photo by Esteban Castillo
  • Prep time 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

Chocoflan is one of my favorite desserts to make for a birthday party or a get-together because it takes no time to put together and you get to have two desserts in one. Often referred to as el pastel imposible, or the impossible cake, chocoflan is made of a creamy flan layer and a fudgy chocolate cake bottom layer. The real magic happens during the baking process: The chocolate cake goes into the pan first and then you ladle the custard mixture over it, and while it bakes, the chocolate cake trades places with the flan and floats to the top, and the flan sinks to the bottom.

Reprinted from Chicano Eats. Copyright © 2020 by Esteban Castillo. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Esteban Castillo. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.Food52

What You'll Need
  • Flan
  • 1 (13.4 ounce/380 g) can La Lechera dulce de leche (1½ cups/355 ml)
  • 1 (12 ounce/354 ml) can evaporated milk
  • 4 ounces (113 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • Chocolate Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For serving (optional)
  • Dulce de leche
  • Chopped nuts
  • Whipped cream
  • Ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180°C).
  2. Make the flan: In a blender, combine the dulce de leche, evaporated milk, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and salt and blend until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds. Pour in the eggs and blend for another 10 seconds until smooth.
  3. Make the chocolate cake: Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon directly into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on the lowest setting until just combined, then add the softened butter and continue mixing on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the coffee, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract, then slowly pour it into the flour-butter mixture with the mixer running on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the mixture on high for a full minute.
  5. Liberally coat a 10-cup (2.5 liter) Bundt pan with cooking spray. Add the cake batter, smoothing out the top with an offset spatula or spoon. Carefully ladle in the flan so you disturb the cake batter as little as possible. Transfer the Bundt pan to a roasting pan or baking dish large enough to fit the Bundt pan. Grease a piece of foil and place it greased side down onto the Bundt pan, folding it over the edges to loosely seal it. Transfer to the oven, then pour water (from the tap is fine) into the roasting pan or baking dish to come up 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm).
  6. Bake for 2 hours to 2 hours 15 minutes, checking for doneness after 1 hour 45 minutes, using a skewer inserted into the cake to make sure it’s baked through, with little to no crumbs sticking to the skewer when you pull it out.
  7. Carefully remove the Bundt pan from the roasting pan and let it cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to cool completely, at least a couple of hours.
  8. Once you’re ready to serve, carefully run a knife around any edges that are still sticking, then invert onto a serving platter, gently shaking it up and down if it’s being difficult (if it was greased properly, you shouldn’t have any major issues).
  9. If desired, serve with dulce de leche and a sprinkle of chopped nuts or with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • Laura JW
    Laura JW

6 Reviews

Lauren W. May 17, 2022
This looks impressive, I love the idea of it, and it’s easy and quick (aside from all the waiting), which makes me want to try tweaking it before moving on. The weaknesses are that a) the cake is bland — I’d like to up the chocolate and sugar but don’t want to wind up with something overly dry, and b) getting the thing out of the mold was ridiculously hard given that I couldn’t possibly spray it more. I set it in warm water for a few minutes and still needed to pound the hell out of it. Is there a better way to coat the mold? (Mine is the same as in the photos.)
Nancy Y. October 29, 2021
I’m not sure how this has so many good reviews. I made it exactly to recipe, it looked like the picture… but the flan was dense and wet at the same time. When I think flan, I think light, creamy and almost runny. The flan on this was stiff, eggy (too many egg whites I think), and just oddly textured. The cake part turned out fine. Major disappointment and I served it as a birthday cake.
Laura J. August 16, 2020
I made it yesterday following the recipe exactly. It was done at an hour and 45 minutes. After cooling to room temp I refrigerated it overnight. It was a little resistant to coming out of the pan so I dipped it in a sink of warm water for a few minutes and it came right out. It was a big hit and impressive looking!
Erica B. July 25, 2020
My Latín family was very critical. I followed the recipe, it was ready at 1hour and 45min. My family LOVED it!! This is seriously the BEST Choco-Flan we have ever had!! The flan is not wet or runny. I shared the recipe with all my sisters. It was a huge HIT!! Thank you for posting this recipe. I will making this again! ;)
sydster July 19, 2020
I thought there was a typo with this recipe (Step 5: cake batter then flan) but follow the recipe! Magic happens and flan ends up on the bottom which then becomes the top once you remove from the pan. This recipe was easy to make but super impressive when you share photos with your friends and family. I highly recommend if you're a fan of chocoflan!
biophilist July 7, 2020
So delicious and very fun to make. Followed the recipe exactly, baked for about 2:30 (I think I over baked it by a smidge, was worried the flan wouldn’t be set). Delicious cake, creamy flan, and so so pretty. Will definitely make it again!