Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Flan Cake

Today is my seventh wedding anniversary and I think it's a good day to relate this story and recipe with you. My husband my not be super handy when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, but he is super handy in dealing with the fall-out of ME cooking in the kitchen!

I saw a recipe for a Chocolate Flan Cake online a few months ago that piqued my interest, so I copied down the recipe and tucked it away. Last week while going through my recipe box I stumbled upon it and couldn't believe it had taken me so long to try it out. I decided I would rearrange and substitute a few ingredients and techniques that made better sense to me and better suited my tastes so I wrote my notes in the margin of the recipe and went to work. Little did I know what I was in for.

First, I began to pull out all of the ingredients I would need. Gathering eggs, milk, vanilla, and so on I felt very organized and ready to go. As I reached into my French pantry to retrieve a can of evaporated milk, one of my dogs brushed up behind me and I faltered and knocked over a full jar of raspberry jelly. Broken glass and crimson jam speckled my kitchen floor...and my bare feet. I called for my husband to help me clean up the mess before the dogs began gulping down shards of raspberry flavored glass. We spent a good 10 minutes on our hands and knees sweeping up the jar fragments and the sticky jelly, and another 5 minutes mending my cut up feet.

Once we finished, I sent my husband away thanking him for his services and started again on the dessert. Making the cake batter went smoothly and it was on to the flan mixture. Since my mixing bowl still had the batter for the cake in it, I decided I would combine the flan ingredients in the freshly cleaned blender that was air drying near the sink. I added in my eggs, 3 types of milk and vanilla and blended away, feeling a little cocky at my ingenuity. I hit the pulse button one last time and removed the blender pitcher from it's base. Suddenly, the contents contained within came flowing out the bottom of the container in one big gush. Apparently, the piece that screws into the bottom wasn't tightened after it cleaned and I had missed it. Now I had an eggy mess all over my counter, my floor, and my cut up feet. A frustrated yelp and a few choice words brought my husband out of hiding and back into the kitchen. Dutifully, he was on his hands and knees again helping me wipe up my second mess of the day.

Exasperated and on the verge of tears from the clean up and hassle, I decided to give it one last go. I remade the flan mixture and went on my way. All I had left to do was put everything together in the bundt pan that sat in the back of one of my cabinets. Easier said than done. I reached into that cabinet and felt a sharp pain on the tip of one of my fingers. Quickly, I pulled my hand back to reveal a large laceration and blood pouring down my hand. Looking into the darkness of my cupboard, I noticed a glass baking dish that I frequently used was mysteriously broken in two. I obviously sliced my finger on it's rough edge. For the third time in an hour, I called for my husband. He helped me doctor my finger and wipe up the blodd that had stained my arm all the way up to my elbow. Before I made it back to the kitchen I already needed a new bandage since the finger was bleeding so profusely. We cleaned it up a second time and re-bandaged it, crossing our fingers that I wouldn't need stitches (well, I might of needed them but I never did get them).

At this point I was ready to give up on my adventure in baking. It seemed the fates didn't want me to complete this cake. After standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring up at the ceiling for a couple of minutes I came to the conclusion that I had gone through so much by then that I just couldn't quit yet. I knocked on wood figuring it couldn't hurt and set back to task. I was able to get through the rest of the process unscathed and the cake came out perfect. I literally shed blood, sweat and tears to make that dessert happen and I think it really did taste sweeter because of it.

After all of that, I would still recommend this divine confection. It is one of the moistest and most unique cakes I've ever had and worth every bit of trouble I went through!

Chocolate Flan Cake

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 can Cola (Coke, Pepsi, RC, etc)
1 can Evaporated Milk (12 oz)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz)
2 Tablespoons Milk (whole or 2%)
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1 cup Dulce de leche or Caramel Sauce(like Smuckers ice cream topping)

Make cake according to package directions, substituting cola for water. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute.

In a greased bundt pan, pour in the caramel coating the entire bottom. Add the cake batter then slowly pour the milk and egg mixture down one side of the pan. Set the bundt cake pan inside a larger one (a roasting pan works well), and add enough hot water to come about a third of the way up the bundt cake. This is a water-bath to help cook the custardy-flan evenly.

Place pan/s in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan.

When done cool the cake for 30 minutes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, run a knife around edges of pan loosening the cake. Place a serving platter or plate on top and invert cake pan. The caramel and flan will now be on the top and the cake on the bottom. The caramel will drip down the sides of the cake, this is normal. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, though after a night or so of being inverted the flan may begin to fall off the top of the cake.


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