Did you ever attend one of those birthday parties where the featured entertainment was a wacky performing magician? You know, pulling quarters from behind peoples’ ears and extracting rabbits from top hats? I haven’t been to one in a while… perhaps they’re now pulling credit cards from behind ears and iPhones from top hats. (M.! Your cynicism is showing!)
I did attend a few back in the day, and I remember being pretty unimpressed. Not because I was immediately able to identify the solution, but because I knew there was one. And I was perfectly fine leaving it at that.
I do remember being way more concerned about the likelihood of acquiring a second and third piece of birthday cake.
I think that baking is a special form of magic, and no recipe exemplifies that more clearly than Chocoflan, also known as flan imposible.
The making of a magic Chocoflan goes something like this:
Step 1: Spread chocolate cake batter in the bottom of a pan.
Step 2: Pour flan batter on top of the cake batter.
Step 3: Bake for a long time in a water bath.
Step 4: Cool the cake.
Step 5: Invert and unmold the cake.
And it’s magic!
During the baking process the two elements of the cake will have switched places with the porous cake floating to the top and the dense, milky flan settling on the bottom. Everything bakes and sets and it’s a gloriously rich, impressively stacked treat.
But it seems impossible! And there are many opportunities for self-doubt along the way. Just before setting my filled dish in the oven I noted that some of my cake batter had already floated into the flan. Was it a flan fail in the making? I checked my gut, put my cake in the water bath and then in the oven, and hoped for best.