When I first was teaching myself to cook I came across my now favorite flan recipe. I made a batch in a big oval casserole dish and plopped it down on the coffee table late in the evening for my mom and I to eat. There was no need for separate plates since it was just the two of us, but looking back that might have been a good option because… oops, we ate most of it, just the two of us, in one go.
I got inspiration for this dish from Hot Thai Kitchen, the only problem I have with her recipe and others like it is the use of sweetened condensed milk and condensed milk in the flan. My favorite flan recipe uses simple whole ingredients, why bother using canned milk when you don’t have to. I was slightly skeptical at how it would turn out, if the cake would really stay floating on top of the flan in a mysterious manor or if the cake would end up sinking below the liquid custard. But some how it worked, the cake is light and full of air so it stays floating on top of the silky custard as they bake in the oven.
I could have eaten the whole pan of this luscious dessert all by myself, but at the same time it was far too good not to share with others. When you flip the custard and cake out of the baking vessel the golden caramel syrup trickles down the sides of the cake and pools at the bottom of the dish. The great thing about combining cake and flan is that there is something to soak up the dark caramelized sauce so you don’t have to lick it from the plate in a dark corner of the kitchen. The flan is lightly scented with cinnamon and vanilla while the cake is rich and chocolaty, it’s like having a creamy velvety frosting on a cake.
Preheat the oven to 325F and check that a deep 9x13” pan will fit into a roasting pan, place a kitchen hand towel in the bottom of the pan and heat up some water for the water bath.
Place 1 cup of sugar into a non stick medium sized pan, melt on medium heat, do not stir, shake the pan to move the sugar around occasionally, cook till dark golden brown and all the sugar is dissolved. Quickly pour the hot sugar into the bottom of your 9x13” pan and swirl around to spread the caramel out to all the corners, it helps to have someone else pour while you swirl.
Heat the milk with cinnamon sticks till steaming in a large pot, let steep for at least 10 minutes until the cinnamon stick starts to uncurl.
In a separate bowl whisk the 8 eggs and reaming ¾ cup of sugar, slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture stirring constantly, add vanilla extract.
Pour the custard through a mesh strainer into the prepared caramel lined dish and set aside.
Chocolate chiffon cake
In a small bowl combine cocoa powder and hot coffee, stir till smooth, set aside and let cool.
In a separate large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
Separate the eggs, the whites into a large clean mixing bowl to whip and the egg yolks into the cocoa mixture along with the oil and vanilla.
Add the cocoa and egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix till almost combined, it’s okay if there are lumps, you’ll be folding egg whites into it soon.
Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks and fold into the cake batter until there are no white streaks.
Gently pour the cake on top of the custard, it floats! Place the cake pan in the roasting pan and put it into the preheated oven, pour the hot water into the roasting pan so it comes up about half way on the cake pan.
Bake at 325F for 40-50 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted half way comes out clean, you want to make sure you don’t touch into the custard layer because it may give you a false reading. Remove the cake pan from the water bath, slide a knife around the edges of the cake to release it, it’ll jiggle a little because of the custard layer hidden underneath, chill at least 6 hours.
When ready to serve run a knife around all the edges down to the bottom of the pan, place a large serving platter upside down on the cake and flip the whole thing over.
I’m a tall ship cook, I prefer to cook with water beneath me, no land in sight and lots of mouths to feed. I like to play with bold flavors, pushing people’s taste buds in new directions and using a recipe as a guideline, my hands are my measuring spoons. Read More about “About Me”…