Eek it’s almost Christmas! Here’s a dessert for the indecisive among us – it’s both flan and cake. Week 51: Festive Flan Cake.
First off, shout out to My Big Fat Greek Wedding: I fixed the bundt! No holes in this cake. Also, glitter poinsettias are far superior to normal poinsettias.
This is part Dulce de Leche cake and part classic flan. Flan first surfaced in the time of the Roman Empire, but more on the savory side. Once the recipe migrated to Spain, we started to see the sweet, caramel flavored version that is common today. I personally have not been the biggest fan of flan – I prefer bolder flavors and generally swing towards baked goods as opposed to custards. But this one sounded particularly good, especially with it’s cake base.
The recipe came from one of Nate’s coworkers in a holiday recipe swap, and it’s a gem! It can be made with regular boxed cake mix for the less baking-inclined folks among us. But where’s the fun in that? This cake from scratch had a short list of ingredients and didn’t require tons of extra steps. I might add cocoa to the cake next time for a chocoflan twist.
It does have EIGHT egg yolks in it though, which floored me. A typical homemade yellow cake has anywhere from 3 to 5 eggs in it, so this one caught me off-guard. Of course, that just means that it’s a rich and velvety cake with all of the fat from the yolks. It also makes sense as the base for a creamy custard like flan. If it was a light and fluffy cake with all those whipped up egg whites, the heavy custard would crush it, making it dense and thick.
The first step is to make the caramel to drizzle in the pan before baking. I (silly person) decided to make a dry caramel instead of a wet one and it didn’t turn out particularly well. Dry caramel is where you heat straight sugar in a pan and add cream once it has completely liquefied and turned a golden brown color. Wet caramel involves adding water to the sugar in the first step, so there’s less possibility of crystallization or burning in the pan.
Mine decided to crystallize, despite me trying to convince it otherwise. Apparently, stirring during the melting process can spark crystallization. Sigh. It’s so counter-intuitive to not stir something on the stove!
I turned it into caramel milk, but soaking the caramelized sugar crystals in warm milk. Super fragrant! I might use the rest of it for french toast. Work with what ya got.
Before and after beating in the first few egg yolks.
It took awhile to gain confidence in separating eggs. I know it sounds gross, but it’s super efficient to use your fingers. The sliminess is worth the lack of sharp egg shell edges. I normally break them over a tupperware so I can pack up the egg whites to be used for meringues or something else delicious. Always label the top with how many egg whites you have it the container! It’s no fun guessing down the line.
Look at that color! So pretty.
Handy-dandy sifter, making an appearance. It was going to be such a rich, heavy cake, that I didn’t want to bog it down with too much flour. Sifting the flour helps to measure it correctly instead of packing it down accidentally when scooping it out of the bag.
The flan part was insanely simple. Four ingredients, a bowl and a whisk, and boom you’re done. It was three eggs (came one egg short of a whole dozen for this cake, whew), vanilla, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.
I drizzled in some of the caramel milk (you can see it popping up along the sides of the batter) and spread the cake batter in the bottom of the bundt.
Then I poured the flan mixture on top. You can already see the batter trading places with the flan. Time for a sauna trip!
Not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about turning it out. I let it cool overnight in the fridge and carefully ran an offset spatula around the edges (they’re more bendy than butter knives so they get under more of the cake). Then I crossed my fingers…
BOOM. It took a lot of coaxing, but it came out in one piece. Ideally, you would take the rest of your beautiful homemade caramel and drizzle it over the top as a garnish, but I didn’t want to introduce more liquid to this cake by adding more caramel milk.
The flan and the cake layers stayed very separate during the bake and actually swapped places! The heavier flan ended up on the bottom and the cake floated to the top to fill in the curves of the bundt pan.
Happy munching, holidays and new year to you! I hope you all eat delicious things with people you love.