Chocoflan – The Mexican Impossible Cake!

Chocoflan Mexican Pressure Cooker Recipe

This Mexican flan is three layers of delicious excitement. A husky caramel, a sweet flan and fluffy chocolate cake. Two of the layers siwtch places during cooking – this cake is as much fun to eat as it is to make.

Don’t miss the step-by-step photos.

¡Es imposible!

Chocoflan is also called the Impossible Cake. The caramel layer stays put, but the chocolate and flan layers swap places when the chocolate cake puffs up and floats over the still liquid flan during cooking.  The pressure cooker – unlike the oven Bain Marie–  increases the suspense because there is no peeking.

pressure cooked chocoflan

Likely a fist adaptation to the pressure cooker, this classic Mexican recipe – traditionally cooked Bain Marie in the oven- could take up to an hour or more (as David Lebovitz discovered after an hour and half )! But thanks to your pressure cooker, and a tube pan this magical flan can be ready after just 15 minutes under pressure.

Chocoflan Variations

Chocoflan has many variations for each of it’s three component (caramel, custard and cake).

The top layer can either be carmel, cajeta (condensed caramellized goat milk) or even dulce de leche – it is spread in the form to prevent the flan from sticking  but can also be drizzled over the cake right before serving.

While the “flan” part is primarily a custard made with both condensed and sweetened condensed milk-  I found that using just one of them still makes a delicious custard. But really… any custard recipe will work here, including  lighter Creme Caramel. I’ve found versions containing cream cheese and even coconut milk!

The chocolate layer can be plain chocolate,  or chocolate with mocha (like Rick Bayless’s version), and other spices.

Tube Pan in the pressure cooker!

For this recipe I use a new pressure cooker accessory: the Tube Pan. The advantage being more surface area for the super-heated vapor in the pressure cooker to caress and no worries about a cake where the middle might not set. I’ll publish more detail on the advantages and uses of this pan in the pressure cooker at a later time. You can absolutely use small aluminum or steel forms, pressed glass custard cups, and even tea-cups in this recipe – though thick ceramic ramekins may keep the custard from setting properly.

Tube pans to use in the pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
5 L or larger  steamer and tube or mold/cup    15 min.    High(2)  Natural

Chocoflan - The Impossible Cake! Mexican Pressure Cooker Recipes
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
I won't kid you. You need a lot of dishes to prepare this cake. In addition to the pressure cooker and accessories you will need a saute' pan, three mixing bowls, three forks a spatula, tin foil along with measuring cups and spoons - so start with an empty kitchen sink or dishwasher and throw in the used dishes as you go.
This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz's adaptation of the recipe in My Sweet Mexico .
For the Caramel:
  • ¾ - 1 cup sugar
For Flan:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (8oz) cup whole milk
  • 1 (8oz) cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or one envelope of vanillin)
For the cake:
  • ¾ cup or 150g sugar
  • ¾ cup or 110g flour
  • ⅓ cup or 35g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch (1/8 teaspoon) salt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • ½ (125ml) plain whole milk yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. Prepare the pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and trivet or steamer basket and set aside.
  2. Construct an aluminum sling for lowering and raising the pan out of the pressure cooker and set aside.
  3. Prepare the caramel as instructed in the Creme Caramel recipe, and then quickly pour it into the tube pan and swish it around to cover as much of the sides as you can - wearing oven mitts. Alternately, spread Dulce de Leche or Cajeta in an even layer (like buttering).
  4. In a medium mixing bowl make the flan by breaking up the eggs well with a fork and mix-in the milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Set aside.
  5. In another medium mixing bowl mix all of the dry ingredients for the cake. Add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well with a clean fork and set aside. In a small bowl break up the egg with a fork and then mix in the yogurt and oil. Using a spatula scrape out all of the egg and yogurt from the small bowl and combine with the flour/cocoa mixture using a fork and mixing only until the ingredient are just combined - the mixture will be like a thick paste.
  6. To construct the whole dessert, spatula out the chocolate cake mixture into the caramel (or dulce de leche) coated tube pan and flatten into a somewhat flat and even layer. Next, pour on the flan mixture on top of that. Set the tube pan in the middle of the foil sling and lower into pressure cooker, uncovered.
  7. Close and lock the lid. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum needed to maintain pressure. Cook for 15-20 minutes at high pressure - it may take longer for silicone or ceramic containers to pressure cook.
  8. Open with the Natural release method - move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and wait for the pressure to come down on it's own (about 10 minutes).For electric pressure cooker, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and begin counting 10 minutes of natural open. Then, release the rest of the pressure using the valve.
  9. Lift the dessert out of the cooker and let it cool. Then cover with plastic-wrap and refrigerate and chill for 6-24 hours. To UN-mould, run a skewer butter-knife along the inner and outer edges of the cake. Top with an upside-down serving plate and quickly flip. Remove the the tube pan from the cake and serve with an optional sprinkling of ground pistacchios or pecans.

Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker Recipe


Caramellized Aluminum Tube Pan for pressure cooker chocflanMaking chocflan in Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker
Chocoflan BEFORE and AFTER pressure cooking - the layers swap places!
Pressure Cooker ChocoflanPressure Cooker Chocoflan is 1/2 chocolate cake + 1/2 flan = all WOW!