Hola, Chocoflan!—When 2 Favorites Come Together


We are fascinated by the evolution of flan into chocoflan, a gorgeous dessert that is—as its name deliciously promises—half chocolate cake, half traditional custard.

You’d think that in this recipe from one of our favorite, most experienced Mexican homecooks (and a renowned Tequila Expert™ and Catadora!), MariCarmen Ortiz Conway would make the chocolate cake part from scratch. Nope—MariCarmen calls for using a chocolate box mix. “Using a chocolate mix is the point,” grins MariCarmen. “You can use any kind of box from the store, whatever you like best. I like the devil’s chocolate flavored ones.”

To make chocoflan, there are 4 basic steps, says MariCarmen:

Step 1: Buy your favorite brand of chocolate cake mix from the store and prepare the batter.

Step 2: Pour 1 cup of store-bought caramel or 1 cup of homemade dulce de leche into a bundt cake or flan mold. Except you’ll use a taller than usual mold because you are going to have a double-size dessert: a full cake batter plus a full flan custard mix.

Step 3: Mix the flan ingredients in the blender—like normal.

Step 4: Layer them into the mold! Then bake.

Here’s how: First, pour all the cake batter on the bottom layer, over the caramel. Next, pour the entire batch of flan custard on top of the chocolate mix. Place your mold into a warm water bath in a 350° oven for 1 hour—and felicidades, you made chocoflan!

Muy importante, warns MariCarmen: Once baked, the chocoflan must cool completely before you attempt to remove it from the cake mold. “This is the secret. Never transfer it hot, or it will break apart. You must wait and it will come out perfectly.”

When she is ready to serve chocoflan, MariCarmen makes a big show of it, teasing: “I always ask everyone to pray. Then we have a moment of silence, and I flip it over in front of them,” she says. So far, it’s always turned out great, she reports.

“Chocoflan is really pretty. The caramel or dulce de leche slowly rolls down from the top, over the sides. And you have the two contrasting colors, the dark of chocolate and the pale cream of the flan. It is so beautiful.”

Hola, Chocoflan!—When 2 Favorites Come Together

3 from 5 votes
Recipe by MariCarmen Ortiz Conway Cuisine: Mexican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the Caramel or Dulce de Leche
  • 1 cup 1 caramel, store-bought OR

  • 14 oz 14 sweetened condensed, to make dulce de leche

  • For the Chocolate Cake
  • 15.25 oz 15.25 box chocolate cake mix (store bought)

  • For the Flan
  • 5 5 eggs

  • 14 oz 14 sweetened, condensed milk, for the flan mix

  • 14 oz 14 whole milk (fill the condensed milk can)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350° and place a large baking pan filled with a couple of inches of water in the oven. This is for your water bath to make the chocoflan.
  • Make the Caramel
  • If you are using store-bought caramel, pour 1 cup into the bottom of your cake mold.
  • If you prefer to make your own caramelized topping, pour 1 can of condensed milk into a pressure cooker and cook for 1 1/2 hours. You have dulce de leche! Let it slightly cool and pour 1 cup into the bottom of your cake mold.
  • Alternately, if you don’t want to use store-bought caramel and don’t have a pressure cooker, you can make your own dulce de leche in the oven. Place 1 can of sweetened condensed milk into a metal bowl with tall sides and cover tightly with tin foil. Place in a heated water bath in a 450° oven for 1 hour. The water should not reach higher than halfway up the sides of the bowl. After 1 hour, check to see if you need to add a bit more hot water to maintain its height at halfway up the bowl. Bake for another hour. You have dulce de leche! Let it slightly cool and pour 1 cup into the bottom of your cake mold.
  • Make the Chocolate Cake
  • Buy a box of chocolate cake mix from the store. Follow the instructions and make the batter. Set the bowl with the batter aside.
  • Make the Flan Mix
  • Put the eggs, milks and vanilla into a blender. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Put It All Together!
  • You’re ready to start layering the chocoflan. 1) Pour the chocolate batter mix on top of the cooled caramel or dulce de leche. 2) Pour the flan mix on top of the chocolate batter mix.
  • Place tinfoil over the center hole in the bundt pan so that the steam does not get into your chocoflan mix. Cover the top of the entire mold with more tinfoil.
  • Place the tin foil-covered mold in the hot water bath. Important: Make sure the water does not rise higher than halfway up the mold so that it does not flood your chocoflan custard-batter mix.
  • Bake the chocoflan for 1 hour.
  • When it’s done, it will look like it is still wet, but it won’t be. Take out the chocoflan and let it cool—completely.
  • When ready to serve, slide a knife around the mold edge to loosen it. Then: flip the mold onto your serving platter—dramatically, advises MariCarmen. Your guests will ooh and ah. Enjoy chocoflan by itself (no ice cream needed), she says.


  • MariCarmen personally uses Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix for the chocolate cake.
  • The topmost layer of the chocoflan is either the caramel or the dulce the leche. What is the difference, you may wonder. Caramel is made from slow-cooking sugar and a little water. Dulce de leche is made from slow-cooking sweetened condensed milk, which is sugar and milk.

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Suggestions and questions from our readers

    1. You absolutely can. You just need a baking pan or mold with sides high enough to fit the 2 batches of cake batter AND flan custard. A baking pan with a hole in the middle is useful for this recipe because it offers room for el baño de maria to coat the outside area with its hot water and cook that interior area of the chocoflan. If you have an extra wide flan mold that will work too! Let us know how it goes. If you would like to send us photo, even better. We would be honored to publish it.