Sunday, September 30, 2012

ChocoFlan (Impossible Cake)

Today marks the end of a six month period of cooking with my (unwitting) mentor over at IHCC.  The man who has taught me so much for so many years.  He taught me the basics of Mexican cuisine: the beautiful differences of earthy, dried chiles...the subtleties of using native herbs and spices...vast uses for masa harina...and the importance of building flavor.  Time is your friend when you want a good, authentic Mexican dish.

He's been a source of inspiration and knowledge to me for so long now, so while I'll not be cooking with him in an "official" capacity any longer, there's no way I'll be saying Adios.  Nope.  Instead I will be saying Gracias, Rick.  Thank you for sharing your passion for Mexican cuisine and culture.  And I'll be seeing you soon.
An really, there's no better thank you gesture than something made from the heart.  Rick taught me to make ChocoFlan a long time ago and I've been making people happy with it ever since.  So this one's for you, Rick!

ChocoFlan (Impossible Cake)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate cake Mexican

Ingredients (serves 12-16)
    For the mold:
    • a pat of softened butter
    • all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. cajeta (goats milk caramel), store-bought or homemade
    For the cake:
    • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) butter, slightly softened
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 Tbs. espresso powder dissolved in 1½ Tbs. hot water (or 3 Tbs. espresso)
    • ¾ c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. cake flour
    • ¾ tsp. baking powder
    • ¾ tsp.baking soda
    • ⅓ c. + 1 Tbs. cocoa powder
    • 9 floz. buttermilk
    For the flan:
    • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
    • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    Instructions
    Getting started:
    Turn on the oven to 350° F. Position oven rack in middle of oven. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch round cake pan (you need one that's 3 inches deep), sprinkle with flour, tip the pan, tapping on the side of the counter several times, to evenly distribute the flour over the bottom and sides, then shake out the excess.

    Microwave the cajeta for 30 seconds to soften it, then pour over the bottom of the pan, tilting the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Bring a pot or kettle of water to a boil and hold at a simmer. Set out a deep pan that's larger than your cake pan (like a roasting pan) that can serve as a water bath during baking.

    Dissolve your espresso powder in the water.

    Make the cake layer:
    Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light in color and texture. Scrape the bowl. Beat in the egg and espresso.

    Sift together the all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Beat in about half of the flour mixture, at medium-low speed, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat, scraping bowl as needed. Once everything is well combined, raise the speed to medium-high and beat for another minute or so.

    Scrape the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and spread level.

    Make the flan layer:
    In a blender, combine the two milks, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend until smooth.

    Hold a large ladle a few inches above the pan with the cake batter in it. Slowly, pour the flan mixture into the ladle and let it fall gently over the edges of the ladle and onto the cake batter. Using the ladle keeps the batter from getting "dented".
    Set the cake pan into the larger pan and then set on oven rack. Pour the simmering water into the larger pan, around the cake pan to a depth of at least 1-inch.

    Close the oven door and bake for ~60 minutes, or until the surface of the cake is almost firm to the touch, except for the very center (which will seem wobbly) .

    Remove from the water bath and cool to room temperature, ~1 hour. Slide into the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 12 hours. This allows the two layers to meld together and not slide apart when unmolding.
    When ready, carefully run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to free the edges. If the cake does not slide around freely when you turn the pan (like turning a steering wheel), fill the bottom of your sink with hot water and set the pan in for 30 seconds. It should now move freely.

    Choose a serving platter that is large enough and has a rim (to stop the extra cajeta from flowing off the plate) and invert it over the top of your pan. Grasp the two tightly and in one quick motion, flip over so that the serving plate is on the bottom. Gently jiggle the pan back and forth several times to insure that the chocoflan has dropped, then lift the pan off. Scrape any remaining cajeta from the mold onto the cake.

    Enjoy!

    slightly adapted from Rick Bayless
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    This was another recipe revisit ...see, the good ones really are worth coming back to.

    Oh, and I wanted to tell you that if you do not have cake flour, you can make your own.  For every 1 cup of cake flour that you need, measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour and then remove 2 tablespoons of it and replace it with 2 tablespoons of corn starch.  Sift the whole lot 3 times and then it's ready to go - "homemade" cake flour!

    p.s...in case you're wondering who our next featured chef at IHCC will be- it's Madhur Jaffrey.  So please join us as we switch gears from Mexico to India (and beyond) starting tomorrow (and continuing for the next six months).

    I am sharing this post with:
    IHCC theme: Adios y Gracias, Rick
    Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green hearthnsoul150