Flan Cake-If you absolutely love the flavor of Flan but are looking for something that takes it to the next level, then you’re in the right place.
This Flan Cake is the perfect combination of a vanilla cake, layered with flan custard and topped with a delicious homemade caramel sauce.
And that’s not all, this is a ‘Magic Cake’ and the cake layer soaks up the caramel sauce at the bottom of the pan and then rises again for a magical cake unlike anything else.
Try it once, and you’ll seriously fall in love with this classic Vanilla Flan Cake.
What is Flan?
Flan is a delicious dessert that can actually mean two very different things. The one that we’re most familiar with and associate with flan is an egg-based baked custard that is topped with a caramel sauce.
The other kind is a tart-like pastry that has a filling called a fruit flan.
That’s also delicious, but this recipe focuses on the delicious custard with a thickened pudding-type texture and a light and sweet flavor similar to condensed milk.
It is a really delicate custard, and one of the most important flan ingredients which makes it what it truly is are eggs.
Since it’s an egg-based custard, it’s usually baked in a bain-marie which involves baking in a water bath in an oven in a bigger dish such as a large roasting pan.
If flans excite you, then you’ll be happy to know I have a ton of flan recipes on my blog. You can check out my Leche Flan, Crème Caramel, Pumpkin Flan, and Flan Crème Caramel with Saffron and Cardamom.
But this particular recipe takes flans to the next level. Want to know why? Then read on!
What is a Vanilla Flan Cake?
This recipe is for a Vanilla Flan Cake, which is incredibly unique and combines the best of a delicious vanilla-flavored egg-based custard with an easy homemade caramel sauce and a sponge cake that balances everything out.
It consists of three different layers of deliciousness. The bottom layer is a classic vanilla sponge cake that absorbs the moisture from the caramel and doesn’t let it get soggy even when refrigerated.
The middle layer is the creamiest and smoothest flan custard, and it’s topped with a caramel sauce that perfectly complements all flavors.
Why Is It Also Called a Magic Cake?
This cake is absolutely incredible for more than one reason! Another popular name for this cake is Magic Cake (Gâteau Magique in French), and trust me; there is magic to this recipe!
When assembling the cake, we pour it on the top at the very end, but while baking, it will go to the bottom while soaking up some caramel flavor and then again end up on the top.
When you invert the cake, you’ll see perfect layers of a vanilla sponge cake that’s lightly flavored with caramel, a delicious custard layer, and finally, a caramel topping.
This is why it’s also known as the impossible cake or ‘pastel imposible’ in French! If you try this recipe one time, it’ll make you want to have it again and again!
Vanilla Flan Cake vs Chocoflan.
This delicious Vanilla Flan Cake is a classic and perfect recipe to customize. Another popular version of this dessert is Chocoflan from Latin America.
It’s similar to this Vanilla Flan Cake recipe, except that cocoa powder is added to the batter for a chocolate cake batter. This gives it a chocolate cake base layer and the custard and caramel on top.
Chocoflan is also usually baked in a bundt pan, but that’s not absolutely necessary with this classic Vanilla Flan Cake. Interestingly, there is also an Arabic version of this cake called Kodrit Kadir.
What You Need to Make Vanilla Flan Cake
- Sugar: This is the main ingredient we’ll need to make our delicious caramel sauce for the Flan Cake. All you need is basic granulated white sugar.
- Water: The next thing we’ll need is water to turn it into the perfect syrup consistency we’re looking for.
- Eggs: This is by far the most important flan ingredient, and it makes Flan Cake what it is! We’ll be using three large eggs at room temperature for the custard layer.
- Vanilla extract: You’ll need some vanilla extract to lightly flavor the custard. Also, give it the classic vanilla flavor we’re going for.
- Milk: This will allow us to get the right consistency for our Flan mixture.
- Cream: We’ll use heavy cream to help thicken the custard and make it deliciously creamy.
- Sugar: Add some regular white sugar to sweeten the flan to the perfect level!
The Cake Batter
- Eggs: We’ll be making a classic vanilla cake with a sponge-like texture. Eggs are one of the most important ingredients to get that spongy texture. It will soak up the caramel without making the cake soggy.
- Sugar: You’ll need some sugar to sweeten the cake lightly. Sugar also helps add moistness to the cake.
- Oil: Speaking of moistness. Adding some vegetable oil is my secret ingredient to making sure that the cake never gets too dry. Even if it’s like a sponge cake texture.
- Vanilla extract: We’ll also use some vanilla extract to add vanilla flavor to our perfect Vanilla Flan Cake.
- All-purpose flour: All we need is some simple ol’ all-purpose flour to give structure to this delicious cake layer.
- Baking powder: To ensure it rises perfectly, we’ll use some baking powder as our leavening agent.
How to Make Vanilla Flan Cake Step by Step
Making this delicious Flan Cake is easier than you think. Here’s what you need to do to make it step by step:
How to Make Caramel Sauce for Flan Cake
Let’s first start off by making our caramel sauce.
Add the sugar and the water to a saucepan, and swirl the saucepan to help distribute the sugar to dissolve.
Do not mix the sugar with a spoon. Instead, keep on swirling the pan until the mixture reaches a light brown color. Once it does, remove it from heat.
Next, pour the caramel into an 8” pan and swirl the baking pan to cover the bottom of the pan. It’s not necessary to prep your pan with cooking spray or aluminum foil.
How to Make Custard for Flan Cake
Time to make our custard layer for the Flan Cake!
In a saucepan, add the milk, cream, and sugar. Let the mixture come to a simmer. Once it does, remove it from heat and keep it aside.
Add the eggs and vanilla to a bowl and beat until it’s all well combined.
Next, add the hot milk and cream to the eggs while beating them to temper them. It will prevent them from curdling.
Then run the previous mixture through a strainer and keep it aside.
How to Make Cake Batter for Flan Cake
Let’s now make our final cake layer.
In a bowl, beat the whole egg and the egg white until fluffy. Next, add the vanilla and sugar, and beat some more until the sugar dissolves.
Now add in the oil and beat for a few seconds.
Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix slowly using a spatula or a whisk; when combined, do not over-mix even if you see small lumps in the batter.
How to Assemble Flan Cake
Time to assemble everything so we can bake it!
When the baking pan is at room temperature, and the caramel is solid, pour the custard and then pour the cake batter over it.
Do not tap the baking pan like you usually do when baking cakes to remove air bubbles, and avoid mixing the cake batter with the custard; it will separate in the oven.
How to Bake Flan Cake
Let’s bake the Flan Cake now!
Place a larger and deeper baking pan in a preheated oven at 180C/350F.
Pour boiling hot water into that pan to make a water bath and place the flan cake pan. The water should reach half the flan cake pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Place the cake while in the pan on a cooling rack, and then cover and refrigerate.
To serve, invert the flan cake over the serving plate. Your delicious Flan Cake is ready to be served!
Tips for Making the Best Vanilla Flan Cake
Here are my go-to tips for making the best Flan Cake every single time:
- When making the caramel sauce for flan cake, turn off the heat when the sugar turns light golden since it gets darker fast from this point.
- I have purposely given the cake a sponge-like texture and is not a melt-in-the-mouth texture since it will absorb the moisture from the caramel and won’t get soggy if refrigerated.
- Make sure to use boiling water in the water bath, or the cake will take longer to bake, the caramel layer will melt and mix with the cake, and you’ll lose the ‘magic’ element of this delicious cake.
- Use a larger pan than the 8” baking pan for the water bath, such as a large roasting pan you might have at home or a larger cake pan.
- If the flan is not allowed to cool fully before setting, it will break or collapse when the pan is inverted.
- Similar to flan, this cake is typically served cold but is very delicious when served warm or at room temperature.
- You may gently reheat a slice in the microwave, but make sure it's cold before attempting to remove it from the pan when you first bake it.
- In my family, we like the custard and cake layers to be on the thinner side since this is a rich dessert, but if you want the flan cake to be thicker, use a 6” cake pan.
How to Store Vanilla Flan Cake
Whenever I bake this cake, it disappears within hours! But in case you have some leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
You can slice the cake and freeze it for up to one month after it has been baked. Slices should be well-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen before being put in a freezer bag.
Flan Cake slices that were previously frozen should be thawed in the refrigerator first, then let them come to room temperature before serving.
Vanilla Flan Cake Recipe
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon water
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoon sugar
THE CAKE BATTER
- 1 whole large egg
- 1 large egg white
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup +1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
MAKING THE CARAMEL
- In a saucepan, add the sugar and the water, swirl the saucepan to help distribute the sugar to dissolve. Do not mix the sugar with a spoon, instead, keep on swirling the pan until the mixture reaches a light brown color. Remove from heat.
- Pour the caramel into an 8” pan and swirl the baking pan to cover the bottom of the pan.
MAKING THE CUSTARD
- In a saucepan, add the milk, cream, and sugar. Let the mixture come to a simmer. Remove from heat and keep aside.
- In a bowl, add the eggs and the vanilla beat until combined.
- Add the hot milk and cream gradually to the eggs while beating the eggs to temper it.
- Run the previous mixture through a strainer and keep it aside.
MAKING THE CAKE BATTER
- In a bowl, beat the whole egg and the egg white until fluffy, add the vanilla and sugar, and beat some more until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the oil and beat for a few seconds.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix slowly using a spatula or a whisk, when combined stop and do not over-mix even if you see small lumps in the batter.
- When the baking pan is at room temperature and the caramel is solid, pour the custard and then pour the cake batter over it. Do not tap the baking pan like you usually do when baking cakes to remove air bubbles, and avoid mixing the cake batter with the custard, it will separate in the oven.
BAKING FLAN CAKE
- In a preheated oven 180C/350F place a larger and deeper baking pan. Pour boiling water into that pan to make a water bath and then place the flan cake pan in it. The water should reach the flan cake pan.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Place the cake while in the pan on a cooling rack and then cover and refrigerate.
- To serve flip the flan cake over the serving plate.