Though I have argued for years that this dessert has been erroneously named—Improbable Cake would be more accurate in my opinion—, it’s without a doubt a name that grabs anyone’s attention. As will its looks and its taste impress at any party or dinner.
But let’s track back a little and start with flan.
Flan IS the staple of Latin American desserts and arguably the perfect dessert: full of protein, tasty sweetness, a beautifully soft texture, and aesthetically beautiful to look at. Yet, on the counter side, many would argue that no dessert bereft of chocolate could ever vie for that title of perfection.
Impossible Cake offers a solution to this by combining flan with chocolate cake.
First you coat the mould with caramel, then add the cake mix, and finally the flan mix on top.
This is not about baking a flan and baking a cake and serving them together. It’s about baking them in the same mould, at the same time, and taking out of the oven a fusion of the two.
The name is probably a derivative from the unlikeliness of its cooking method, in which the flan and cake mixtures are put together and due to their different densities separate during the baking process. If there was ever a recipe that harkens back to cooking as a branch of chemistry, it’s this one. But because it’s not actually impossible, only seemingly improbable, it’s the kind of chemistry experiment that anyone should try at home.
- For the Caramel
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- For the Chocolate Cake
- 1 pack of chocolate cake flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup of cooking oil
- 1 can of evaporated milk (instead of the usually suggested water on the cake flour package instructions)
- For the Flan
- 5 eggs
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 1 can of evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1In a pot or directly in the mould that you will be using, cook the sugar until it turns to caramel. Then carefully spread the liquid caramel all over the bottom and walls of the mould. Let it cool so it solidifies again.
- Chocolate Cake
- 1Prepare the Chocolate cake mixture as per the instructions of the box of the chocolate cake flour. I prepare it with evaporated milk instead of the suggested water to make for a spongier texture. Note: I prepare this with box chocolate cake because attempts to do Impossible Cake with my family’s old chocolate cake recipe have failed. This is likely because the densities are off and instead of the flan and cake separating I get a weird mixture of the two. If anyone knows how to do this recipe with homemade chocolate cake, let me know!
- 1Mix the 5 eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla.
- Bringing it all together
- 1Pour the chocolate mixture into the mould. Then pour the flan mixture on top. They will mix a little but the majority of the flan mixture will remain on top. Seal the mould with aluminium paper, either way it doesn’t matter.
- 2Bake at 375°F in a water bath for approximately 45 minutes. When you take it out, the mixture will have inverted, the flan will be on the bottom and the cake will be on top. Insert a knife into it, if it comes out clean the Impossible Cake is ready, if it doesn’t, bake for a further 10 minutes and then check again.
- 3Carefully take it out of the mould—it should come out by itself if you just flip it over—and put it in the fridge until it cools down. Serve once cool!