Magic Chocolate Flan Cake

In all my years of baking treats for family, never, I repeat never, have I ever had a reaction as glorious and overwhelmingly ecstatic as when I made this Chocolate Flan Cake over the holidays. I mean, it bordered on the ridiculous (read: my dad, brother-in-law and husband literally arm wrestling for the last piece – there may or may not have been subterfuge involved as each tried to hide the others dessert in order to enjoy it for himself). Even the kids, while devouring their own pieces with protective hands, were looking at these grown men as if they had grown horns and green fuzz.

I can’t blame the guys, really. This cake is terribly outstanding. And talk about gorgeous – it is elegant and eye catching to say the least (although you can bet the men in the house could have cared less how it looked, as evidenced when they each scrambled to claim the piece that fell off the serving spatula into a messy heap on the counter).

My friend Angela converted me to flan right before we moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota. My experience with flan hasn’t been great in the past. I don’t love the texture or extreme egginess of true vanilla flan. But cream cheese flan? Yeah, I’m all over that. The flan layer of this cake incorporates a bit of cream cheese which makes all the difference between “ew” and “love” in my book. Creamy, silky, smooth and drizzled with caramel – flan is my new BFF, especially when it rests on a bed of rich, moist chocolate cake. Honestly, this cake is unreal in it’s deliciousness.

Magic Chocolate Flan Cake

If you aren’t convinced already, here are a few other reasons why this cake should be made as immediately as possible:
a) You can claim it as a science experiment for the kids, if you have them (or for yourself if you don’t) – the chocolate cake batter goes into the pan first and the milky flan mixture is poured over the top but as it bakes (get ready for this), the layers swap places and the cake ends up on top while the flan settles to the bottom. I know, get out, right? It has something to do with gas and physics and chemistry and magic and maybe baking soda. I’m not sure.

b) While it looks absolutely stunning, this cake is beyond simple to make. The flan ingredients all get thrown in the blender, for goodness sake, and the chocolate cake is easy as can be.

c) You can make it up to a day in advance and if that’s not a majorly redeeming factor, I don’t know what is.

d) One taste and you’ll wonder where Chocolate Flan Cake has been all your life.

This cake will make your life better. Promise. I can’t guarantee it won’t strain inter-family relationships while fighting over slices but you’ll have to figure out a way around that (there is a high possibility your family is more mature than mine which means you won’t have any fighting-over-flan issues at all).

Magic Chocolate Flan Cake

One Year Ago: Delicious Braised Brisket with Mushrooms
Two Years Ago: Heath Bar Cake
Three Years Ago: Balsamic Chicken Noodle Bowl

Chocolate Flan Cake {i.e. Magic Chocoflan!}

Yield: Serves 8-12

Chocolate Flan Cake {i.e. Magic Chocoflan!}

Note: Plan ahead because the cake needs to chill for at least 8 hours before it can be turned out of the cake pan (perfect for making a day in advance!). Take note, also, that the cake needs to be baked in a water bath so you'll need a large roasting pan of sorts - I just used a disposable aluminum roasting pan. Also, a 12-cup bundt pan is called for in the recipe; however, when I made it at my mom's house she only had a 9-10 cup bundt pan (which I didn't realize until I had already poured in the chocolate batter). I simply added the flan on top until it was about 1/2-inch from the top and discarded the rest of the flan mixture. It probably made for a slightly less thick flan layer but we absolutely loved it anyway.


  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce or topping (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flan:
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup nonstick bundt pan, taking care to get in all the nooks and crannies. Pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of the pan (the caramel sauce, if storebought and thick, may need a quick warmup in the microwave to be pourable).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter and microwave at 50% power for 1-minute increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is melted and smooth, about 2-4 minutes. Whisk the buttermilk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the melted chocolate mixture until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour the chocolate batter evenly over the caramel.
  3. Add all the flan ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Slowly and carefully pour the flan mixture over the the cake batter. Place the filled cake pan in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour warm water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the bundt pan. Bake the cake until a toothpick comes out clean and the flan registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 75 to 90 minutes (mine took the longer amount of time). Remove the Bundt pan from the roasting pan (the easiest way for cleanup is to leave the roasting pan and water in the oven until it has cooled) and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for 8 hours (or up to 12).
  4. To remove the cake from the pan, fill a large bowl with hot water and place the bottom third of the Bundt pan in the water for 1 minute. Carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate or cake platter - I do this by putting the cake platter or plate over the Bundt pan opening and then, holding onto the edges of both platter and cake pan, I gently turn the pan upside down while flipping the cake platter. Slowly remove the pan letting the caramel drizzle over the top of the cake. Serve chilled.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2013

73 Responses to Chocolate Flan Cake {i.e. Magic Chocoflan!}

  1. Patrick says:

    Hi mel came across your recipe, i tried it, it was good! But my flan and cake layers didnt separate nicely…. what do you think was the problem? Thanks

  2. This chocoflan is SOO cool! Based off of your experience while making this, how’d you think this would work out if I tried these in cupcake form?

  3. MrsSumner says:

    Help! This is the third time I have made this cake and the last two times I’ve made it the cream cheese has separated from the flan mix and is dispersed throughout the cake. I can’t seem to get the flan mix smooth. What am I doing wrong?

  4. megan says:

    Could you use a box mix for the cake? I’m worried that it wouldn’t turn out the same way.

  5. Angel says:

    Mel, this sound amazing! I want to make this for a friends birthday so I’m going to have a trial run, having never made Flan before. This should be interesting because I’m teaching my 15 year old son how to bake and we will be taking this adventure together! Lol…. I do have one question, I’m wondering if a blender is a must or can I use a mixer? We’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks!!

    • Mel says:

      HI Angel – your son is a lucky kid! I hope it’s a fun project. I would definitely recommend a blender – you want that flan filling very smooth.

  6. Jane says:

    Hi Mel,
    I’m wondering if this recipe can be made with gluten free cake. My concern is, will the texture/consistency of the cake hold up and swap positions with the flan? This recipe sounds amazing so I’m hoping you will give me the ‘go-ahead’!
    Thank you!
    PS. I just discovered you now and I think I am hooked! Your description of this cake had me laughing and drooling simultaneously.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jane – that’s a great question but unfortunately I don’t know. I’ve only made a few gluten-free chocolate cakes in my day and the texture is a bit different than the cake in this recipe. I’m not sure I can say 100% it would work. Good luck if you experiment!

  7. delaine pollock says:

    Hi Tried this twice. Both times the cake was to dry. Comes out picture perfect and
    taste is wonderful but the cake is iffy. Cut back the oven time the second time but to
    no avail. Still dry and hard. How about more oil. Plan to make the flan and skip the cake but do love cake. HELP!!!!

    • Mel says:

      Sorry to hear your cake is turning out dry, Delaine. Others have said the same thing although I haven’t experienced that. Maybe try adding less cake batter to the pan and cutting down the baking time just a bit.

  8. Tina says:

    Just pulled out of the oven. Looks like the cake bled through the flan, darn!! Hope it taste good .. Try try again.

  9. Theynine says:

    I did one of these a few days ago. After reading the ‘dry’ comments about the cake layer, I would have to say that the cake layer is more like a ‘brownie’ layer. Its not as fluffy as chocolate cake, its much denser. Reminds me of the cake layer thats in my triple layer choco mousse cake. Denser. A mushier basic cake layer would make the whole thing… uh, mushy. The cake is already precarious enough, just a slight slam to the table will render the entire thing into a custard puddle. I think this brownie bottom takes the cake above and beyond, and adds as a stable platform for that flan to sit on.

  10. Nandz says:

    Hi Mel,

    Looks yummy and delicious.. can’t wait to try it out….By any chance can this be made in a microwave ??

    Thanks alot for the recipe!!

  11. Colleen says:

    I’m hoping to make this for my office for Cinco de Mayo. My blender’s pretty small but I have a 12-cup food processor; could I blend the flan mixture in my food processor?

    • Mel says:

      Colleen – If you have used your food processor before and it gets wet mixtures really smooth then it should work fine, I just worry a little bit that it won’t process it quite as well as a blender.

  12. […] Chocolate Flan Cake from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  13. Mabel says:

    hi! so i just made this chocoflan last night….it looks amazing!!! Unfortunately I’m sick but my parents both tried it and both have commented that the cake is too dry…is there a way to fix this? they love love love the flan part but wish the cake part was just a bit more moist. any suggestions would be appreciated! thanks!

  14. Frank says:

    The Spanish do this cake but they put flan mix in first n cake mix over flan n it comes out moist. It’s called Pastel impossible

  15. Sara says:

    Hi Mel – all I can say is “duh” – I didn’t read through your blogpost…the cake FLIPS and it un-frigging-believealby delicious!

  16. sara says:

    in the oven now… confused though: in the recipe, the caramel goes in first, then the cake, then the flan – but in the picture, it looks like the caramel went in first, then the flan, then the cake. Am I right?

  17. Deb says:

    Divine! Super decadent, but worth every calorie. I love the combo of the chocolate and the creamy custard. I baked mine 70 minutes but when I make it next time, I will probably go more like 60-65 because the cake layer was the tiniest bit dry compared to how luscious the one in your picture looks. I was surprised how easy it came together and ends up looking so fancy. Thanks Mel!

  18. Pat says:

    Follow – up to my earlier post…. The desert was a big hit at dinner last night! After reading all the comments, I only baked it for 70 minutes. The cake was more “brownie” like, but very tasty and enjoyed by all.

  19. Pat says:

    My ChocoFlan is in the oven…. Sounded too good not to try. I did have to prepare the Flan batter in two batches due to the size of my blender. However, it did all fit in my Bundt pan – didn’t have to discard any. Looking forward to tomorrow’s party so I can taste this creation.

  20. Mel says:

    Becky – I was at my mom’s house when I made it so I’m not sure of the Blender size but it was probably around an 8 cup blender. It was very full but not overflowing.

  21. Becky says:

    Ok it’s in the oven, but this seems weird to me. I have checked and double checked to see if I measured wrong, but I’m confident I used the righ amounts in the custard recipe. I couldn’t use my blender because it was overflowing before I even put in the eggs!! I tried moving it to my food processor, and overflowed that. I have custard everywhere!! Did anyone else have this problem? I thought I had a normal sized blender. If this turns out, I’ll definitely make the custard in two half batches next time. Also, I discarded alot of custard batter. Mel, what size is your blender pitcher? You might want to make note of the size required to hold the custard in your recipe, as you did the bundt pan. My fingers are crossed that this will turn out – it’s such a beautiful dessert!

  22. amber says:

    Made my cake and it was fabulous! I do agree about the dry cake though, and I used an oven thermometer to test doneness, so I don’t think I was overbaking it. It was still delicious, even with the dry cake.

  23. Tami says:

    My oven cooks hot so I checked it at one hour. I was worried about overcooking it so I stuck my meat thermometer in and it read 180 so I pulled it out. Only 60 minutes of baking and the cake was still a little dry. Next time I will cover with tin foil around 45 minutes in. It was still a hit and very delicious. I used a store bought caramel sauce and didn’t really like the flavor of it. Next time I’ll use a homemade sauce or a good quality (Mrs. Richardson’s) caramel sauce. But there will be a next time. Loved the flan layer especially.

  24. Jennifer G. says:

    I still liked the cake a lot and want to master it before my son returns home from his mission in Mexico City. He said it’s his favorite. I am going to reduce oven time by 10 min and also cover with foil earlier to see if it helps. I will let you know how it turns out.

  25. Mel says:

    I’m surprised the cake is turning out dry – that’s such a bummer because it was my favorite part! Moist and fudgy. I definitely think if that is happening then the baking time needs to be decreased, possibly even by 5-10 minutes. My flan layer was definitely on the softer side but after it is chilled, it sets up just fine. Perhaps the oven at my mom’s house I was using was light on temperature and it helped my cake layer not get overbaked. I want you to love it so if you dare try again, I’d decrease baking time and see how it fares.

  26. Jennifer G. says:

    I made this yesterday and had results similar to others. The flan part was absolutely delicious. The cake part was hard and nearly dry. Almost like an overcooked brownie. Is the cake supposed to be softer and more cake like regular cake? I would really like to master this recipe but don’t know what if the cake is supposed to be soft or harder and firmer. I did cover it with foil the last half hour but I think it was already quite firm and starting to dry out by that point.

  27. Stacie A. says:

    So I wanted to give an update on how it turned out. The flan part was delicious!!! The cake part was dry though, so I was sad about that. I’d love to make it again, but I’m not sure how to adjust it to make sure the flan cooks enough without leaving the cake dry…

  28. Nan says:

    I live alone so I never need 8-12 servings of anything! I’m going to try it in a loaf pan then slice it to serve. I don’t have an instant read thermometer so timing will be trial and error.

  29. Amber says:

    Just put mine in the oven! I have a 12 cup bundt pan and all my flan mixture fit in the pan with 1/2 inch to spare! Thanks Mel!

  30. Mame M says:

    Ok ladies – it did work out. I will say I think I cooked it just a tad long bc the cake was a tad dry, but the flan was a good in between for those people who don’t like the original texture of flan. It’s a pretty easy recipe, and quite “impressive” looking. I filled my bundt pan to nearly the top, leaving only about a 1/4″, had to throw away about 1/2 cup of flan, but it all worked out great. Ended up cooking for about 75 min. oh! and the coolest trick I learned, because I wanted to eat it that night. If you want to cool it down faster than the fridge will let you, but don’t want to put it in the freezer in fear of what it will do to the dish, let it cool to room temp-ish (I put it in the fridge to get to that part) and then put it in a sink with ice, and then fill up the sink with water so it’s in an “ice bath” … it was COLD in about 4 hours I believe. + the hour to get to room temp. Thanks Mel for all your great work.

  31. Mel says:

    Sarah – the flan layer is more reminiscent of cheesecake than flan, although the texture isn’t quite as sturdy and thick as cheesecake. I’m not a flan fan, as I mentioned in the post, but I would eat cream cheese flan (like in this recipe) any day of the week.

  32. Sarah says:

    Does the flan layer taste like cheesecake with the addition of the cream cheese? I don’t like flan but do love cheesecake so I’m wondering if I will like this.

  33. Stacie A. says:

    I’m with Jenny. I made this this morning and had to throw out about 2 cups of the flan batter. 🙁 My bundt pan works well with all other bundt recipes I have. And I cooked it for 75 min and I’m worried that the cake is going to be dry. I was at the gym (you know, so I could justify eating this beautify!), so I had my hubby take it out at the 75 min time to check it and he said the toothpick was “definitely clean”. I am crossing my fingers it still turns out delicious! I’ll keep you posted!

  34. Mel says:

    Mame – I think it will work out! When I poured in my flan mixture on top of the cake batter, parts of the cake batter looked like it floated to the top. I thought it had failed…but it baked up perfectly!

  35. Mame M says:

    Ok, I just made this, and I am so nervous! I made my own caramel sauce and it didn’t come out just right, but I used it anyways. And when I poured in the flan batter parts of the chocolate cake batters started to float? But this looked so good and I want emit for tonight!!! And your stuff always comes out great! I’ll check back in and tell you how it goes.

  36. Mel says:

    Jennifer – if you have an instant read thermometer, the best test is to follow the recipe and bake it until the flan registers 180 degrees. But overall, yes, you probably will bake it for less time.

  37. Janelle says:

    I can’t stand flan because of the heavy egg flavor, but you had me at cream cheese! If you also don’t like flan because of the egginess, but you love this, I’m willing to give it a try!

  38. Jennifer says:

    Do you bake it for less time if you use the smaller bundt pan? Is there any way to know if it’s done? Making this for a dinner party tonight! It’s in the oven and smells awesome!

  39. Well, it still turned out great! But I was going to throw out a lot more than a 1/2 a cup of flan. I don’t know why I had so much. I just put it in a pan on its own and baked it along with the cake. Even with my mistakes, it still turned out pretty dang awesome. The cake wasn’t as moist as I would have liked, but that’s because of the hot water bath that I messed up on. I will definitely be making this again!

  40. Sally says:

    I heard of chocolate flan (chocoflan) for the first time over the weekend on a cooking show on PBS (not Cook’s Country). While the recipe was different, the technique was the same. It was a smaller recipe, too, and was baked in ramekins.

    I’ll put this on my list of recipes to try, but most desserts never see the light of day in my house!

  41. grace says:

    brace yourself–i’m not a flan fan! it has so much going for it, but it was forever spoiled by a nasty experience many years ago. pretty creation, though!

  42. Mel says:

    Jenny – I definitely wouldn’t cut the flan in half. I only discarded about 1/2 cup of the batter. It’s ok if you can’t fit it all in but ideally you want to fit in as much as possible (which is why a 12-cup bundt pan is really important here) because you want the flan layer to be really thick and high. Hopefully it worked out for you!

  43. I am making this right now…seriously, it’s in the oven for my hubby’s birthday tomorrow. I have the smaller size bundt pan, so ended up tossing the extra flan. But it didn’t even all quite fit in my blender. I must have a small blender. What do you think about cutting down the flan recipe in half? Also, I messed up and put the roasting pan with water on the lower rack and the cake on the upper rack. I realized my mistake halfway through (about 5 minutes ago!) and tried to fix my problem. I hope it still turns out okay! :/ I’ll let you know!

  44. Marcia says:

    I made a flan cake last year for Cinco de mayo and it was a big hit! I can’t wait to try your version this year!

  45. Rayanne says:

    I so enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for all the great recipes.

  46. PJ says:

    We made a very similar version to this (Chocoflan) for my baby grandson’s baptism party. It was the hit of the show, next to the Cake Balls.

  47. Cyndi L says:

    Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk has their new flavor “Dulce de Leche” , which has a really nice caramel flavor. I have both in my cupboard right now and wonder if I should try it. I have never heard of chocolate flan cake, but the recipe looks interesting, so I think I’m going to try it. What do you think Mel? Should I try the new Dulce de Leche sweetened condensed milk or should I just use the regular kind?

  48. Amber says:

    I’ve made this before and it’s so delicious!

  49. Karen says:

    Oh my! That looks incredible. I’m thinking it would be perfect for an upcoming birthday dessert.

  50. Jennifer G. says:

    My son is serving a mission in Mexico City. He loves this dessert. They call it “Impossible Cake” there because the layers switch while baking. He said it’s commonly served at birthdays and other celebrations. He has begged me to learn to make it before he comes home. When I saw it on the cover of Cooks Country at the library I was so happy. I had researched recipes on the internet and even tried one but it did not turn out. I am anxious to try this one. Glad it has your seal of approval.

    • Janie Ponciano says:

      I’ve also tried a different recipe twice and the cake burns and the flan doesn’t cook but I will be trying this recipe thank you Mel.

  51. Mel says:

    ScampsGirl – yes, a bundt pan is necessary to fit all that delicious batter.

  52. ScampsGirl says:

    Is a bundt pan a necessity? Would a deep pie plate work or would it be too much batter or is it too dense?

  53. Amanda E says:

    LOL! I knew that you would have this soon when I saw it in my Cook’s Country 🙂 You’re awesome! So delicious!

  54. I’ve never tried a chocoflan, but you sure have convinced me that I should!

  55. A friend from Mexico brought a chocoflan to a party last year – omg, it was such a hit! I had never seen one before, I was blown away. It was still a little warm when she served it, one of the best new things I tried last year. I’ve been wanting to try making one – thanks for sharing the recipe!

  56. Hilary says:

    Mel, what is your recipe for the homemade caramel sauce? Also, since discovering your blog a year ago, we have barely eaten processed foods. Thank you for that. My usband also thanks you for his gain of about thirty pounds. He has no self-control when it comes to your recipes. And my 8 year old daughter and you are apparently on a first name basis.. just saying. Every time she really loves something she always asks if “ Mel’s?” It always is.

  57. Teresa R. says:

    I will ditch the diet and try this over the weekend. I have never heard of chocolate flan cake before, but it sounds wonderful.

  58. Judith - Texas says:

    With such high praise….it’s gotta be good. Just downloaded the recipe and headed to the store for ingredients. I love flan and hubby loves chocolate cake – there’s going to be two happy people. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  59. Renee says:

    I am not a huge fan of flan for the reasons you described but the chocolate and cream cheese in this recipe sounds very intriguing. The fact that it has Cooks Country’s seal and yours is enough for me! 🙂

  60. Mel! I love this cake! I think it’s a Texas thing! I’ve been working on a ‘for two’ version for quite some time. Maybe one day I’ll master it. xo

  61. Kim in MD says:

    Mel- I made chocolate flan cake for one of my Tex-Mex theme parties, and it was outstanding! It really is a science experiment, as the top of the cake ends up on the bottom when cooked! The recipe I made was not a CC recipe, but it was still delicious. I am so excited to make this delicious dessert again using your recipe! 🙂

  62. I’ve never heard of a chocolate flan cake before! Love it! And it’s too cool that the layers switch places after it bakes!

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