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Chocoflan - Mexican Impossible Cake (It's Surprisingly Easy)

It’s been famously called the Impossible Chocolate cake or el Pastel Imposible. We call it Chocoflan, and there is nothing impossible about it. Chocoflan is easy to make, and you will instantly fall in love with this Mexican chocolate dessert!
Chocoflan - Mexican Impossible Cake (It's Surprisingly Easy)
Chocoflan - Mexican Impossible Cake (It's Surprisingly Easy)
Anna at SideChef
Bitten by curiosity bug. Obsessed with words. Fuelled by coffee. Powered by Google. Love cheese, chocolate, and cherries. Don’t judge your taco by its price.
Love This Recipe?
Anna at SideChef
Bitten by curiosity bug. Obsessed with words. Fuelled by coffee. Powered by Google. Love cheese, chocolate, and cherries. Don’t judge your taco by its price.

Chocoflan is a traditional Mexican dessert also known as the impossible cake. The moist, chocolaty treat is perfect for chocolate lovers. And since it has a nice pudding-like consistency, chocoflan even makes an excellent breakfast treat!

Mexican Chocoflan is a true fusion of the world’s best cuisines - having elements of the classic French Crème Caramel and the flan famous throughout Latin America.

Why Do They Call It the Impossible Cake

Let's make it clear, chocoflan is very easy to make; there is nothing impossible about this recipe.

This Mexican dessert is called the impossible cake because it goes in the oven with the flan layer on top and the cake layer on the bottom, but after baking, the layers magically switch places. The cake layer puffs up while baking and rises right through the heavier flan mixture that sinks to the bottom. Once you invert it onto a plate, the beautiful flan sits on top of the cake, all covered with cajeta.

What is Cajeta

Cajeta is a Mexican caramel sauce made from goat milk. It is similar in color and consistency to the more known dulce de leche made using cow’s milk. Cajeta is traditionally boiled for a long time has a golden brown color and a deep caramel flavor with notes of tartness from the goat milk.
You can easily find cajeta in most supermarkets' Latin/Mexican food sections or the same section with most jams, jellies, and sweet sauces.

You can easily substitute cajeta with dulce de leche, but for authentic Mexican chocolate flan cake, cajeta is essential.

How to Make Chocoflan

Although this Mexican chocolate cake seems complicated to make with all these layers, it is surprisingly easy to prepare.

All you have to do is prepare two mixes - the flan and the cake. Then, pour them in a well-greased cake mold bake for about an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius). When baked, let cool completely, and flip it over onto a serving plate.

Más fácil, imposible! But let’s break it down.

Just follow our Chocoflan Recipe step by step, and soon you will be enjoying Mexican chocolate heaven. We guarantee that your friends will love this cake and ask you to make it over and over again.

Make the Cake Mix First

We use a store-bought cake mix; it saves you so much time! Just make the cake mix according to the packaging directions.

Alternatively, you can use this recipe for Chocolate Cake if you want to make it from scratch. Once it’s done, set it aside.

Make the Flan

It doesn’t get easier than this. You need to throw all the ingredients into a blender and mix for 30 seconds.

Assemble the Cake

To make traditional chocoflan, you will need a regular bundt cake pan.

If you don’t have a bundt cake pan, no worries!

You can also make this Mexican dessert in a regular cake pan, but get the bundt cake mold for the best results.

First, spray the pan generously with baking spray, if you don’t have baking spray on hand, use butter to coat the pan.

Then, cover the bottom of the pan with cajeta caramel sauce (or any other caramel sauce you prefer).

Place the bundt pan into a deep baking dish lined with a clean cloth, so the pan doesn’t move around when we add the water for baño maria (water bath).

Now, carefully pour the cake batter into the pan. It evens out on its own; if for some reason it doesn’t, use a spoon to smooth it out.

Lastly, pour the flan mixture on top of the cake mixture. You want to go slow, so it doesn’t cut through the cake mixture and start to accumulate on top slowly. Now it’s time to finish our water bath. Pour hot water into your deep baking dish until it’s 1-inch deep, as hot as your tap water goes.

Bake the chocoflan for about one hour and use a toothpick to see if your cake is cooked all the way through.

After the cake is out of the oven, leave it rest and cool completely before flipping it over and serving.

How to Serve Chocoflan

Chocolate flan tastes best at room temperature. Be sure to let it cool completely before flipping it onto a serving plate, as it might fall apart when inverted.

Drizzle the cake generously with extra cajeta caramel sauce for serving.

And feel free to decorate it with some extra delicious ingredients of your choice. You can sprinkle it with some fresh mint leaves, top it with whipped cream, sprinkle some shaved coconut or almond on top, or serve with a scoop of ice cream. The sky’s the limit.

The next part is for adventurous bakers who like to experiment and are not afraid to fail.

How to Make Chocoflan Inspired Desserts

The name of this traditional dessert is self-explanatory - it’s chocolate cake + flan. But you can make this dessert in many different ways and experiment with flavors. Just don’t forget that Baking Is a Science!

The Science Behind the Impossible Mexican Chocolate Cake

There is no magic to chocoflan; the layers flip due to gravity and density.

No matter in what order we pour the layers into the pan, they will rearrange themselves based on the inevitable law of science in order of density.

The density of cajeta and the flan is much higher than the chocolate cake mixture we use. For that reason, the cake mixture you choose is essential because a dense cake will not be able to rise through the flan layer. But don’t let this detail scare you away from experimenting with flavors.

To make sure you still witness the magic happening right inside of your oven, your cake recipe MUST contain two ingredients: buttermilk and baking soda. Combining the baking soda and acidic buttermilk in the cake mix produces CO2 during the baking process, creating bubbles and making the cake less dense than the flan.

Make Vanilla Cake Flan

If you are not a big fan of chocolate cake, make the impossible cake using a vanilla cake batter. This Classic Vanilla cake recipe will work (just don’t make the buttercream).

Make Red Velvet Cake Flan

If you want to make the chocoflan even more interesting, try making it using this recipe for the red velvet cake batter.

Flavor the Flan Layer

It is even easier to play with flavors when it comes to the flan layer. We already want it to be denser than the cake layer, so adding some extra flavor agents will not hurt at all. And the options here are aplenty:


  • Instant coffee

  • Cocoa powder

  • Coconut flakes

  • Your favorite liqueur (Kahlua, Bailes, Irish Cream, Rose Tequila, etc.)

  • Orange juice

  • Your favorite extract for baking (Maple, Banana, Almond, etc.)


There you have it! Learn your baking science and make chocoflan inspired dessert to wow your friends and family!

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