Impossible cake with homemade Cajeta (goats milk caramel)

Impossible? I think not. I've had my eye on a few different recipes this week for IHCC's where the theme is "sweet tooth." I love baking and Rick Bayless has some really, really, awesome dessert recipes. I want to try, um... all of them. I was going to make his coconut pie, but this Impossible cake had me at flan.

This cake and I have been through a lot since we started our relationship this afternoon...
At times, I was in love with it. Other times, my whole relationship with this cake was a hot mess... and so was my stove when my Cajeta bubbled up and flashed spilling sticky hot sauce all over it.
 Once, I admit, I felt some minor frustration. Often, confusion. Maybe a moment or two of fear. At one point, I saw only failure in front of me... but in the end, we worked out our differences and there was a very happy ending.

Once I put this cake together, I thought for sure I'd made a mistake. When I put the chocolate cake mix on top of the Cajeta, and then poured on the flan mixture, it all turned into one big mass of cake... or at least that's what it looked like. It just didn't look like this would work... But yet it did. You assemble this cake with the cake batter on the bottom and the flan on top and then they switch places in the oven and it actually sets up perfectly. It's like..... delicious magic.

  I decided to take it one step further and make the goats milk caramel sauce, or Cajeta myself. It's similar to dulce de leche... just the goats milk version. I decided to make it because, firstly, try and find Cajeta around here in a store, in a bottle. Apparently in some places it is possible to do so... but this isn't one of those places. And secondly, guess who happens to have goats milk in the fridge fresh from the goat I milked this morning?

I thought to myself "why not try and make some delicious caramel sauce with some of it...." and so I did. You can make the Cajeta yourself using store bought goats milk if you don't have a goat - and also cannot find Cajeta in a bottle. I'm sure you can sub another sauce in a pinch but the goats milk caramel sauce is unreal, it's so good. I had no idea I had been missing out using up all my milk for just drinking and cheese making... all this time I could have been making this dark and rich caramel sauce with it!

Cajeta, Mexican goats milk caramel sauce

2 quarts goats milk
2 cups granulated sugar
2-inch cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
In a large saucepan, bring the milk, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a simmer, stirring frequently.
Remove from the heat, add the baking soda, and stir to combine. When the bubbles disappear, return the pan to medium heat. Bring to a brisk simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, about one hour. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens to the consistency and color of maple syrup, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve, and set aside keeping warm.

*You need to watch this until it's really turned dark and started to thicken up because it will flash, like maple syrup, in a second. So don't wander off to check an email, answer the phone, feed the dogs... or you'll have a mess.

 After putting the cornstarch mixture into the milk mixture

starting to turn golden!

the finished Cajeta

Impossible cake 
from Fiesta at Rick's, by Rick Bayless

For the pan
A little softened butter and some flour
1 cup store-bought or homemade Cajeta (goat milk caramel)

 For the cake
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons espresso powder dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
            OR 3 tablespoons espresso
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup + 2 tbs buttermilk

 For the flan 
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees and position the rack in the middle. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch round cake pan (you need one that's 3 inches deep), sprinkle with flour, tip the pan, tapping on the side of the counter several times, to evenly distribute the flour over the bottom and sides, then shake out the excess.  Microwave the Cajeta for 30 seconds to soften it, then pour over the bottom of the pan, tilting the pan to coat the bottom evenly.  Set a kettle of water over medium-low heat.  Set out a deep pan that's larger than your cake pan (a roasting pan works well) that can serve as a water bath during baking.

With an electric mixer (use the flat beater, if yours has a choice), beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light in color and texture.  Scrape the bowl.  Beat in the egg and espresso.  Sift together the all-purpose and cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa.  Beat in about 1/2 of the flour mixture, at medium-low speed, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk.  Repeat.  Scrape the bowl, then raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute.

   In a blender, combine the two milks, the eggs and the vanilla.  Blend until smooth.

Scrape the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and spread level.  Slowly, pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Pull out the oven rack, set the cake into the large pan, then set both pans on the rack.  Pour hot water around the cake to a depth of 1 inch.  Carefully slide the pans into the oven, and bake about 50 to 55 minutes, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, except for the very center .  Remove from the water bath and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Carefully run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake/flan to free the edges.  Invert a rimmed serving platter over the cake pan, grasp the two tightly together, then flip the two over.  Gently jiggle the pan back and forth several times to insure that the cake/flan has dropped, then remove the pan.  Scrape any remaining Cajeta from the mold onto the cake.

This cake, is unbelievable. It is a happy marriage between two of the most delicious things in the world (chocolate cake and flan). And to top it all off, after an emotional roller coaster, you end up with the coolest looking cake ever, covered in caramel sauce. 

I have many plans for the leftover Cajeta sitting in my fridge too... if it lasts through the night without disappearing from the fridge... one spoonful at a time. 


Ian said…
Wow, where do you come up with these? It sounds delicious. Now all i have to do is get some goats (sneak them past more critters), learn how to care for them, or find somebody with surplus goat milk. I don't think i can find any in a bottle. Maybe this is my summer's project.
Mary Ann said…
Oh my gosh, it looks fabulous! I'm calling to see if my friend's goats have freshened yet, to get some milk to make some Cajeta!
simple baking said…
THis looks TOO good! M impressed that you made your own cajeta and it sure looks fab.
Dreaming said…
It looks fabulous! How interesting that the flan sinks under the cake. It would be fun to bake with children! Maybe this could be an argument to get goats ;-)
Wow, this looks delicious! I'm so envious that you have fresh goat's milk! :) The Cajeta sounds lovely, would be great with my favourite vanilla flan dessert too! What a wonderful Mexican sweet treat!
Chocoflan is one our favorite things and I make it often (even sell it). I blogged about it a couple years ago here: ...and of course now I'm craving it again! I have made cajeta at home occasionally (and blogged it), but since I can't get great goat's milk, I usually just buy it. Our Mexican markets and even our Walmart carry it. Your homemade looks fantastic, though! Great job =)
Michelle said…
Cake and flan and cajeta...on my! I'm envious of that jar of cajeta you made. Yum!
Leslie Limon said…
Chocoflan is always a BIG hit at our house! For me, it was love at first bite. There is just too much to love about this dessert. :) Yours turned out lovely and I am kinda jealous that you made your own cajeta. :)

Greetings from Mexico. :)
Anonymous said…
I will not retire without goats. I will not retire without goats. I will ...
I'm saving this glorious recipe and someday I'll make my own cajeta. :)
Kim said…
This is a dessert that I must attempt! Your homemade cajeta looks so smooth and addictive. I'd eat it by the spoonful.
Wow - very industrious of you! It looks absolutely wonderful - definitely a work of magic.
Deb in Hawaii said…
This looks amazing--I love how it baked up, and that you made your own cajeta. I had to buy some--no easy access to goat's milk here. ;-)
That is one seriously delicious looking cake!
This looks so amazing. So many delicious pieces together to create one amazing treat!

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