Choco Flan ~ Impossible Cake ~ Mexican Flan Cake in a Pressure Cooker

Blogging Marathon, Pressure Cooker Recipe, Mexican Flan, Impossible Cake,

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Choco flan, also known as the impossible cake is a Mexican flan cake. It is usually baked in an oven in a water bath for about an hour. I found a pressure cooker recipe and the pictures were very tempting to ignore. The cake is usually prepared in a tube pan or an angel food cake pan. I saw some images where the cake is made in a blunt pan too. I have neither of those pans and used a round steel spice box. I considered buying a tube pan but then, inserting and removing the pan from the pressure cooker would have been a problem. I don’t have the Indian pot holder, the chimta or patkaar to remove the pan from a deep cooker. The round steel box fits perfectly in my pressure pan and removing it from pressure pan would not be a problem at all. Hence went ahead and used it instead.

Blogging Marathon, Pressure Cooker Recipe, Mexican Flan, Impossible Cake,

I do not know why this cake is called Impossible Cake, as the preparation is very easy. This cake or flan has three layers; caramel, flan and a spongy chocolate cake. When the flan is assembled the bottom layer is caramel or dulce de luche, followed by chocolate cake batter topped with flan custard on the top. Here is the interesting part of this flan. When assembling, chocolate batter is the second layer but during the bake or steaming, flan custard and the cake batter swap places and cake comes on the top and the custard sinks into the middle layer. This would be an interesting dessert to bake or cook with children, as it would be a good physics and chemistry lesson. Don’t ask me about the physics and chemistry that goes on when the cake batter and custard swap places! In fact it took me a while to figure out how the cake ended up as the bottom layer after unmolding the flan from the pan. I missed the part of the recipe where it mentioned these two layers swap places when cooking. I caught that point when I went back and read the recipe again.

Blogging Marathon, Pressure Cooker Recipe, Mexican Flan, Impossible Cake,

I made this flan yesterday and I placed an inverted cup (one of the spice cups or the containers that comes with the spice box) in the middle of the steel box to make it a tube pan. But it did not work. During the steaming process, the cup turned over and I had a cup cake and a Choco flan when the dessert was done 🙁 😉 ! The recipe I followed used an American cooker and I was a bit confused about the cooking time. I cooked for 18 minutes as mentioned (15-20 minutes) and when I flipped the Choco flan, my flan layer fell apart. The recipe did call for refrigerating before unmolding, which I did not do. However, when I refrigerated the Choco flan, the flan layer did set. But still, I felt I should have cooked it a little longer. I made it again today and steamed the flan for 30 minutes, completely cooled the flan and then flipped it over to a plate. The Choco flan was perfectly cooked. I refrigerated it after removing it from the steel box. I followed the recipe as given, except for substituting condensed milk, whole milk yogurt and whole milk with fat free condensed milk, fat free yogurt and fat free milk respectively.

Blogging Marathon, Pressure Cooker Recipe, Mexican Flan, Impossible Cake,

Source: Hip Pressure Cooking
Total Time: 50 – 60 minutes (excludes at least 1 hour of cooling time)
Preparation: 20 – 30 minutes (includes preparation of caramel)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6 – 8


  • ¾ cup Sugar


  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Whole Milk (I used fat free milk)
  • 1 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk (I used fat free sweet condensed milk)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract


  • ¾ cup or 150 g Sugar
  • ¾ cup or 110 g All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup or 35 g unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/8 tsp. or Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Egg at room temperature (I left the egg on countertop for 2 ½ hours)
  • ½ cup or 125 ml Plain Whole Milk Yogurt (I used fat free yogurt)
  • 3 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract


  • Caramel: Since I am going to cook everything in the pressure cooker, I used my pressure pan in which I will be making the Choco flan. Otherwise, take a big wide pan and sprinkle ¾ cup of sugar in it. On high heat, melt the sugar swirling the pan around to evenly melt and caramelize the sugar. Since I used a pressure pan and it isn’t very wide, I used a spoon to mix the melting sugar for even melting. Once all the sugar melts and is caramelized, immediately transfer it into the tube/blunt pan or a steel box which I used to make the flan.
  • Wash the pressure pan with water or can use it as it is. Pour 1 ½ cups of water into the pan and bring it to boil. If the water begins to boil before the Choco flan is assembled, reduce the heat and let the water simmer.
  • Flan Custard: In a bowl break the eggs. Take at least a 4 cup bowl that could hold all the ingredients required to make the flan. Beat the eggs with the whisk or a fork. I found a whisk easier to mix all the ingredients.
  • Add the milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract and whisk together to mix all the ingredients. Keep aside.
  • Cake Batter: In large bowl take all the dry ingredients; sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix them all together using a fork.
  • In a separate small bowl, break the eggs and beat them lightly using a fork. Add the yogurt, oil, vanilla extract and beat well to incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together all the ingredients with the fork to make a batter. The batter is going to be like a thick paste.
  • Assemble: Pour the cake batter into the tube / blunt or a round pan on top of the caramel. Flatten or evenly spread the batter in the pan.
  • Pour the flan custard on top of the cake batter.
  • Cooking/Steaming: Slowly insert the uncovered, assembled Choco flan pan in the pressure cooker. Don’t forget to place the steamer plate at bottom of the pressure cooker before inserting the flan pan. Place the Choco flan pan on the steamer plate.
  • Close the cooker and cook it on high for 1 minute or two until full steam is formed. Reduce the heat to medium low and steam / cook for 30 minutes, without the whistle. Make sure the pressure is maintain all thru the steaming process. If you feel the pressure is falling, increase the flame. On my gas burner, medium low flamed was the right amount heat to maintain the pressure.
  • Turn of the heat after 30 minutes, put the whistle (I put the whistle but it might not be required though), let the pressure cool down naturally. This should take about five minutes. Open the cooker; insert a tooth pick or a knife to test if the cake/flan is done. Tooth pick or knife inserted should come out clean. Cool the flan/cake pan on a cooling rack.
  • The recipe says the flan needs to be refrigerated for 6-24 hours but I flipped the flan into a plate and then refrigerated it. It tasted fine when served at room temperature.
  • The cake was soft, moist and the flan was perfectly set. In fact, I liked the flan a lot. Next time I make the flan or the caramel pudding, I am going to use condensed milk!

Blogging Marathon, Pressure Cooker Recipe, Mexican Flan, Impossible Cake,  Impossible Cake Preparation


  • Strain the custard before pouring it into the pan. There were a few white particles on the top of the take. My guess is those white specks are the strand of cooked egg whites.
  • If using an American cooker, according to the recipe, close and lock the cooker, cook on high heat until full pressure is reached. Lower the heat to minimum needed to maintain pressure and cook for 15 – 20 minutes at high pressure. Once the pressure released naturally, remove the flan pan from the cooker and cool completely.
  • Baking: Bake the flan cake in a water bath for 50 – 60 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven. I have not baked it and the timings mentioned are based on what the oven baked choco flan recipes called for.
  • The cake/flan is usually drenched with caramel. But when I transferred the flan from the pan to a plate, some of the caramel was stuck to the bottom of the pan. That could be because I over cooked the caramel or I steamed the flan or too long. That caramel can be scraped and topped it over the Choco flan.
  • Decoration: Choco Flan can be topped with few nuts. Though I served it with out any nuts.

Recipes I posted this month in 2009 and in 2010 .
Blogging Marathon: Last week when I did my pressure cooker theme, I misread the theme and posted a rice recipe. According to the rules, I was supposed to post a dessert or a sweet recipe. So, I decided to do a makeup post and hence this flan. I am not doing the marathon this week and will see you all in the next week’s marathon. But do checkout what my fellow bloggers are doing this week on blogging marathon page

15 thoughts on “Choco Flan ~ Impossible Cake ~ Mexican Flan Cake in a Pressure Cooker

    1. Valli, the preparation looks laborious but it wasn’t that bad at all. The only time consuming or a little tricky part of the preparation, at least for me was preparing the caramel. For the other two layers, it was just mixing together the ingredients. I am glad I went back and did this post. Found a good recipe! 🙂

  1. I saw this cake being made on Americas test kitchen and remember oohing and aahing when they unmolded it. Your pressure cooker version looks much simpler to make. Will try this one out.

    1. You can try steaming the cake. Bring some water to a boil in a sauce pan/pot. Place a steamer plate in the sauce pan and place the cake pan on it. Cover the in a pot and steam/cook on low heat. Or you could also bake it in the oven. Place the cake pan in a baking dish of hot water and then bake it.

      I hope this helps.

  2. Hi..a doubt. In the original recipe from ‘hip pressure cooking’ it says 1/2 TSP baking powder and 1/4 TSP banking soda. But you have mentioned 1/4 TSP baking powder and 1/2 TSP banking soda. Please clarify. Thanks

    1. I am sorry. That is a typo and thanks for bringing it to my attention. It is 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda. Updated the recipe with the correct measurements

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