12 February 2008

An Ode to the Cakes

You know how it is when you fall in love with a cake. And not just in that, 'Oh, that cake was awesome' kind of way. I mean, really, really fall in love. I remember distinctly the first time I fell in love with a cake. I was in college. We were living in the sextet. Audrey brought over her poppyseed rum cake for some boozy festival we were throwing. I don't remember much about the party itself, but what I DO remember was that I had to have the recipe. Seriously here, I LOVE this cake. It is moist and sweet and outrageously rum-liscous. What's more, it's a snap to make, and everyone, I mean EVERYONE, loves it. (Here's looking at you, Hatchlett.)

But really, let's be honest here. I just really like cake, of all sorts. I make a mean vanilla poundcake. Chocolate cake. Carrot cake. Apple-caramel cake. Cupcakes! I love them all. (OK, confession time: I don't really like cheesecake unless they're made with ricotta cheese and lemon, does that count? I didn't think so.) Cakes have an aura of specialness around them. They're so old-fashioned, and homey.

Recently, though, I find myself fallen for a new cake. Have you ever had Flancocho? Or even heard of it? I didn't think so. I had never heard of it, either, until I started working with women from Latin America (included therin a few of the hispanophone Caribbean isles). Tres Leches, yes. (YES.) Pastel a quatro leches, yes. But Flancocho? Flancocho is chocolate cake topped with, you guessed it, flan. And it has caramel sauce, like that of crème caramel, lacing the top.


I got the recipe. And I haven't made it at all, even though it's really the only thing I've really been craving (aside from chocolate chip walnut cookies from Levain, but that's another story altogether). It's intimidating.

The thing is, when I first looked at the recipe, I thought it was topsy-turvy: the cake batter goes in to the pan before the flan does. But with some amazing undercover sleuthing (ok, so I just asked my friend point blank, saying that it looked like a counter-intuitive step, and she confirmed that her instructions were correct, and that it just works out that way), it turns out that the flan leeches through the cake batter, which adds some chocolatey flavor to the flan itself.

Seriously, a slice is a small piece of cake heaven.

Have I mentioned that both of the cake loves of my life start out as a box of Betty Crocker (or Duncan Hines, or whatever is cheapest on the day I should go to the store)? Should I even admit to this? My kitchen sensiblity is hiding in shame at the bottom of my heels right now, not wanting to come out. But deliciousness trumps over that puritan cringing, at least sometimes.


Rachel said...

Oooohhh. That cake DOES sound so good.

And thinking about your rum cake makes me drool.

ealyb2006 said...

I had some flancocho last week in Puerto Rico and,OMG, it was heaven. When I searched for a recipe, I came across your blog and got sooooo excited thinking I had it but unfortunately you did not share the recipe :-(

Mei said...

ealyb2006--I'm so sorry to disappoint about a recipe! The reason I haven't posted it is that I haven't actually made it myself, and I'm not willing to publish something that I am not sure of. However, rest assured that I do intend to make it soon (hopefully this week?), so check back for results. Best, Mei