I have a good friend named Adrianna who I nicknamed A-dre, my partner in food crime. It took a little convincing at first, my girl wasn’t big on onion or mushrooms when we initially became friends, but once she was introduced to proper preparation, that all became a thing of the past. It doesn’t take much nudging on my part to get her to come along when I get a hankering to scour Los Angeles in search of the yummiest macaroon, baked ziti, french onion soup, torta… you name it. She jumps in gung-ho and puts her seat belt on, sits back and smiles. That’s my girl A-dre. But if anything goes wrong, I always have to absorb the blame. She’ll complain right in front of me to other friends that it’s my fault that she gained a pound or two. I take it because I realized many years ago that it’s hard to be a size zero and be a girl who loves to eat. Especially when you love bread or cake. Which I do. But this one time….It was A-dre who was taking the blame.
A-dre and I have literally criss-crossed this entire city tasting all cakes… from the fanciest bakeries to the hipster bakeries to the mom and pop hole in the wall bakeries. We don’t turn our noses up when it comes to good cake. We just want to taste them all and praise the best of the best and leave the bad ones in a distant memory. I introduced her to all the bakeries that I had grown to know and love and in exchange she introduced me to her favorites. One day she surprises me with a delicious Choco-flan cake. Oh my word! I thought it was the most genius thing the food gods had ever created. I inhaled that cake and when I caught my breath I asked for more. I was smitten. I needed to know exactly where this bakery laid in the land. She went on to tell me it was located in an area that didn’t have the best reputation and in fact was a bit on the scary side. I didn’t care. I wanted to go there and get more of this amazing cake. It happened to be my mom’s birthday in a few weeks so I had the perfect excuse. I got their phone number from A-dre and ordered my mom’s cake. My mom was just as blown away by this choco-flan cake as I was. The day after my mom’s birthday, I ask my mom to bring me a piece of cake. As soon as the cake enters my house I dig my fork in and savor the taste again. That evening I tell my fiance he should try the cake…. he’s sitting in the kitchen having his slice, when all of a sudden he bites into a good sized rock. He totally freaks out because he almost broke his tooth, and tells me “There is a cussing rock in my cake!” I say “No, maybe it’s a hard clump of sugar?” He assures me it’s a rock as he pulls it out of his mouth and let’s me examine it up close. Sure enough it was a rock. Immediately we start making unpleasant comments about the bakery and questioning the cleanliness of their workspace. We start saying A-dre introduced us to a shady bakery. I vow never to step foot in that bakery again. When I tell A-dre what happened, she is absolutely horrified and embarrassed. She feels awful and apologizes for ruining my mom’s birthday cake and almost breaking my fiance’s molar with her bakery suggestion. I think her eyes even welled up with tears. I tell her it’s not her fault and not to worry about it, we’ll just never go to that bakery again. Problem solved. Come to find out, my mom remembered when she was loading the cake into her car to drive it over to my house, she dropped the cake plate on the newly graveled driveway, and a little pebble must have flown on the cake. So all along it was really my mom’s fault. Hahahaha. Sorry A-dre.
The good thing is: that whole dilemma prompted me to make my own Choco-flan and see what I could do to improve this already mouthwatering cake. I wanted the cake part to be super moist, and the flan to be ultra creamy supreme….. Here is my interpretation of the wonderful cake named Choco-flan!
Coconut Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
1/2 – cup cajeta (I use Coronado- cajeta quemada)
1 1/2 – cups water
3 – cinnamon sticks
1 3/4 – cups flour
1/2 – cup natural unsweetened coco powder (I use Hershey’s)
2 – teaspoons baking soda
1 – teaspoon baking powder
1/2 – teaspoon salt
2 1/4 – cups sugar
2 – large eggs
1 – cup buttermilk
1/2 – cup vegetable oil
1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 – cups sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
In a small sauce pan over a low- medium flame, add water and cinnamon sticks and let simmer.
In a bowl combine flour, unsweetened coco powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1/4 cup sugar. Set to the side.
In a mixer bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, and vegetable oil. Mix on medium for 3 minutes.
Next add buttermilk and vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes.
Slowly add the chocolate flour mixture a little at a time to the egg/buttermilk blend to make cake batter. Add the shredded coconut to the last 1/2 of cup of flour mixture and toss to coat, then add to the chocolate cake batter. Mix for another minute to combine.
Now take cinnamon stick water off of flame and strain into a cup. Then add 1 cup of hot cinnamon tea to cake batter, and mix for another 2 minutes on low or just to combine.
In a 12 cup bundt pan. Coat with a non-stick baking spray, then pour in cajeta to bottom of pan.
Then take cake batter and slowly pour over cajeta.
In a tea kettle, fill with water and place over a high flame. While waiting for water to boil, make flan blend.
5 – ounces cream cheese (I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese at room temperature)
1 – 12 0z. can of evaporated milk (I use Carnation)
1 – 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk (I use Carnation)
1 – tablespoon vanilla extract
4 – large eggs
In a blender add cream cheese, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and eggs. Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Once flan mixture is blended, slowly pour in a circle over cake batter, a little bit at a time.
Next take a piece of aluminum foil (enough to cover top of bundt pan) and coat with non-stick baking spray. Loosely place sprayed aluminum foil on top of bundt pan and cover. Then place covered bundt pan in a large baking dish and fill halfway with super hot water from tea kettle.
Lastly, place the covered pan in hot bath in oven on middle rack and let bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (80 minutes total).
Once cake is baked, remove from hot bath and remove aluminum foil. Let cool in the pan for 2 hours, next run a butter knife along the edge of pan to pull cake away from pan, then flip it over onto a plate.
Slowly lift pan up away from plate. There you have it….PERFECT coconut Choco-FLAN! Put it in the fridge for another 4 hours and eat it chilled.