As another year draws to a close, I can’t help but recall my early blogging experiences which started around April of this year. We had just returned from a vacation in Brazil, and at the time decided my very first post would feature Brazil. I did not know what I was doing then or where I was going in the blogging world. A few friends encouraged me to try it, and a good friend actually got me started on WordPress. I knew I always wanted to document my thoughts, ideas, photos, recipes, travel adventures, gardening etc, and what better way, than to have it all assembled in one place? Not only have I met so many interesting folks from around the world via this medium, but I’ve also learned so much along the way. I feel like I’ve improved my photography skills; I’m now curious about aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc, words that meant nothing to me in the past. I try to refine and boost my food styling skills for each post. I attempt various recipes from other bloggers that I would not ordinarily have tried before. I reach bloggers who write about gardening, travel and other subjects that interest me, all the while enhancing and enriching my very own site.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give thanks to a few bloggers who made all this possible, helping me along the way, sending encouragement, praise, motivation and inspiration. When I first made contact with Selma @ Selma’s Table, she was only too willing to help out. She provided me with sites, links, and other information to get me started on WordPress. We struck up a bond right away, we both grew up in Kenya, had lived in Canada and also England and had oodles to talk about. She’s still my go-to person whenever I am stuck with a technical question, or really any problem that arises with WP. Her blog is brilliant, full of amazing tips and tricks from her kitchen. Special thanks also to Nancy @ Feasting with Friends. When Nancy and I co-hosted one of the Fiesta Friday parties, she took time to email me, instruct me on many areas and generally provided additional information on WP, her blog too is wonderful. Angie @ The Novice Gardener hosts Fiesta Friday, it’s a virtual party where folks from near and far mingle, exchange recipes, and try out new ones. Her posts are top-notch, her props so vibrant, her photography inspiring. Angie is always welcoming and so willing to help. Thanks also to each and everyone of the other bloggers out there who follow my posts, I do appreciate the warmth, friendship, and encouragement that you’ve poured, I truly am indebted. I’m positively inspired by all your blogs. Now, I don’t feel like an amateur anymore, I can help new bloggers and make them feel more welcome. Best wishes to each and everyone of you for 2015, may we continue to meet via this medium.
Today, I’m posting a recipe that I tried from one of Angie’s posts called The Impossible Chocoflan. I just knew when I first saw Angie’s post that I would be trying this heavenly dessert. The pictures below will show you the magic and gorgeousness of this dessert, part chocolate cake and part flan, what’s not to love? But don’t take my word for it, just try it out for yourself. It is fairly rich, I’d definitely make it again, but only on special occasions. It is almost magical how the layers get reversed – the cake and flan layers flip themselves in the baking process. You pour the cake batter first into the ramekins, then the flan batter on top of it. During the baking, somehow the cake will rise to the top and the flan will sink to the bottom – something to do with density I believe? Watch the magic unfold when you flip it over, go on, give it a try.
The caramel layer – servings 8-9
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and the water.
- Heat on medium-high, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling.
- Stop stirring and allow syrup to continue boiling until it turns amber (about 6 minutes).
- Remove from heat immediately and pour about a tablespoon into a 4-oz. ramekins and roll around to coat the sides of the cups.
The cake layer
- 2 oz. (1/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 tbsp (half a stick) butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Combine flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter and microwave for 30-second increments, stirring in between, until mixture is melted and smooth.
- Add sugar, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract and whisk until everything is well blended.
- Add flour mixture and stir until incorporated.
- 5. Pour into ramekins, on top of the caramel.
The flan layer
- 4 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup 1% milk
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 whole large eggs
- You can either place all the flan ingredients in a blender and process until smooth or use a whisk or hand-held mixer.
- Strain to avoid any lumps.
- Pour slowly and carefully over the cake batter.
Place the ramekins in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water around the cups to come halfway up their sides. Bake in a 350deg F oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove ramekins from the hot water bath and place them on a rack to cool. When completely cool, cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. To unmold, run a small metal spatula around the sides of each cup. Place a flat serving plate on top and invert Chocoflan onto the plate. Lift off the ramekins. The caramel sauce will flow down the sides of the Chocoflan, or drizzle more caramel before serving. Decorate with candied nuts or fruits. Makes 8-9 mini (4-oz) chocoflans.