The letter F: Fudge flan (introducing letter dinners!)

My dad had a minor heart attack when I told him I was going to an “F” party.

Let me give you the same explanation I gave to him.

One of my colleagues, Jen, suggested a brilliant new dinner party series for the CBC/Rad-Can colleagues: letter parties. The premise is simple – each week a letter of the alphabet is chosen. Your goal as a dinner party attendee is to bring a dish that has that begins with that letter. The more words that have the letter, the better. Want to know how crazy it can get? Our first letter party featured the letter “S.” I have never seen so many strawberry spinach salads with sesame and sunflower seeds in my life.

This week, it was F’s turn. Are you feeling like we’re in an episode of Sesame Street yet?

F is a decidedly simple letter to tailor dinner and dessert around. Fruit, filet of fish, foie gras, finger foods, fennel, food for goddsake. I, however, needed an excuse to make flan. But not just any flan – a fudge flan! Double F’s for the win. Flan has a few different food meanings, but for the purpose of this blog post, please know that it is a cooked egg custard that is like an extra jiggly, not-too-sweet, half cheesecake. Read: it is awesome.

When I first saw the recipe on Tastespotting, my jaw dropped and my mouth drooled.

Making this chocolate fudge flan was a flurry of fun (see what I did there? Whether I mean to or not, the week’s chosen letter always shoves its way into my everyday conversation. I really do think my brain subconsciously looks for a way to create as many alliterations as possible).

The baking process is actually quite exciting. The cake and flan layer do a little flippity flip in the oven, with the lighter cake floating to the top and the condensed mixture sinking to the bottom.

The cake goes into the oven as a murky mess

This flan is very dense and takes its sweet time sitting in its water bath baking. I advise you to eat leftover cake batter and take sugar-induced self portraits at this time. (OKAY I’ll stop pretending it’s 2007 and I’m on Myspace)

After much breath-holding and bongo-playing on the bottom of the bundt pan, the cake came out in one piece. And that, my friends, is just Fantastic.

(but really, this was UNREAL)

Unimpressed baby brother; leaning tower of cake

Recipe: Fudge flan
Adapted from Scarletta Bakes
For the cake:
– 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 large egg, room temperature
– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 3/4 tsp baking powder
– 3/4 tsp baking soda
– 1/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
– 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
– Softened butter to coat pan
– 1/3 cup caramel sauce to coat pan (on top of butter)

For the flan:
– 1- 12 ounce can evaporated milk
– 1- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
– 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
– 3 large eggs
– 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For garnish:
– 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Coat a Bundt pan with a little butter, then coat the bottom with 1/4 cup caramel sauce and put it in a large roasting pan. (The roasting pan will serve as a water bath during baking. I used a 9×13 metal cake pan with high edges)

For the cake: Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and using an electric hand mixer or just your hand, beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa in a medium bowl. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/2 of the buttermilk into the egg mixture. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture. Blend until well incorporated.

For the flan: Using a blender or an immersion mixer, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds.

Scoop the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spreading evenly. Slowly pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Cover with foil and add about 1-inch of hot water to the roasting pan.

Carefully slide the pan into the oven, and bake for an hour and a half, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, or an inserted toothpick comes out clean (note: you’ll be wanting to check the cake for doneness frequently after the first hour). When cake is done, remove from the water bath and cool completely to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Invert a large, rimmed serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp tightly together, wiggle a little and flip over. Remove the pan and, garnish with chopped pecans. Refrigerate until cool (anywhere from two to 24 hours) and serve!


14 thoughts on “The letter F: Fudge flan (introducing letter dinners!)

  1. Heavenly!! I m counting cals now so, for now this is dream project reserved for later. For my 25th bday perhaps! I must say I’ll never be too sure when its ready. I’ll be nervous wreck. What if I wiggle it too much and kill the baby!! Perhaps should get a glass bundt pan!!

  2. Btw, do you think the flan layer could be made with just custard powder or instant cream caramel? Too much of condensed milk seems heavy, and cream cheese together- my guilt will kill the fudge flan!

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