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Dec 20, 2012 01:02 AM

Flan Cake: More like Flan Curd Cake. What Went Wrong?

Well, tonight I was making the San Antonio Flan Cake and it was a massive failure. This is one of those where you put some dulce de leche in a bundt pan, add the makings for a cake, and then pour the ingredients of flan in. Typically the flan migrates and sits beautifully on the top of the very moist cake.

Tonight, the flan traveled 1'2 way and huge curd-like pieces were in the middle. Cake itself tastes fine, but not sure what the heck happened to the flan part.

A few thoughts . . .the only substitution I made was using coconut egg nog instead of milk. Yes, this is insane, but all I had. I suspect that might be the culprit, but am not sure.

Here's the recipe: Adapted from Robb Walsh's Tex Mex Cookbook.

Thanks for any tips, ideas, gentle scolding with solutions.

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  1. Have you ever made this exact recipe before? The cream cheese is strange, that makes it more like cheesecake than flan. It is not a typical flan ingredient, has a very distinct taste, and I imagine makes the flan custard heavier. The closer the density of the flan custard gets to the density of the cake batter, you will get mixing.

    The coconut egg nog will make it denser, too.

    Try Jiffy cake mix, it might be less delicate. Or pre-baking the cake for about 15 minutes?

    Not sure if you want a flan topping, cheesecake, or something in between...

    1 Reply
    1. re: jaykayen

      Yep. I've made it several times. The cream cheese is likely a product of it being a Texas recipe. I swear we'd put cream cheese on our Froot Loops if it was socially acceptable. I'm going to use a recipe without it next time. I never really thought about the fact that I make flan without it etc. Thanks for the help.

    2. Hi. I had a look at the recipe and the cream cheese through me off as well.

      I've made this cake for years now. I skip the migratory step. I melt sugar directly in the pan and let that cool (I'm guessing that the dulce de leche is a fine substitute). Then I pour the flan. Then I pour the cake on top. The densities are so different that the cake should stay on top. I pour at medium speed (normal?) and go in circles around the pan. The edges don't get covered completely but the cake will rise up and out. I cook in a water bath, let it cool, and invert.

      Hope that helps.

      2 Replies
      1. re: youareabunny

        Yeah. I don't think the cream cheese was the culprit here, but I'm definitely going to try another recipe. I like the idea that the flan would be more flan like than it has been without it. This helps. Thanks! BTW, do you have a preferred recipe?

        1. re: dcfb

          Hello. The recipe is my mother's and she always changes it. But it's very similar to the recipe you posted minus the dulce and the cream cheese. It's just fresh milk, condensed milk, eggs (sometimes all whole, or with a few extra yolks) and sugar. If we are out of condensed, it's more sugar.

          Anyway I think I will be making one for Christmas. I will do it my usual way but out of curiosity I will put the cake batter first, then the flan, and try the migratory thing. I'm not optimistic so I'll do just a small one ;)

      2. I think yes on the coconut eggnog. It's very thick and likely has some ingredients that behave quite differently than milk. I broke my baking rule big time.

        1. Perhaps the cake needed to be baked in a bain marie? If there's flan involved that might be helpful. Just to insure a more gentle heat.
          Another thought is that you didn't puree the cream cheese enough?

          Rick Bayless has similar cake minus the cream cheese.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chef chicklet

            Thanks Chef C-

            Actually did cook in a bain marie. I'm going to try a new recipe next time, but this one, historically, had worked well.

            I actually looked up recipes of flan cake with the cream cheese and found quite a few - None seemed to have the problem I had.

            Incidentally, my husband, who posts here as "dcfoodblog" took the failed cake and managed to turn it into a lovely bread pudding. Didn't go to waste and it was a hit. Always nice to have baker on call!

            Thanks to all for your engagement/advice!