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Caramel flan cake


Vietnamese version (bản tiếng Việt): click here!

My childhood favorite desert is a caramel flan cake. When I was in Vietnam, I usually bought Anh Hong’s flan cake in the supermarket or flan cake from local desert shops. I rarely had to make it myself (and a note is that I was not good in cooking at that time). When I moved to the US, I did look for it in grocery stores but the products were quite disappointing to me: too dense and/or too sweet. That was when I realized that I had to learn making this caramel flan cake from scratch. Luckily, I succeeded in first try following Nino’s Home instructive video, with a slight modification. Right when the flan cakes were ready to serve, I finished 3 in a row… which was a warning sign to me that…“Hey, save some to share though…!”
Y’all know who I need to share with! 😝

Another cake with similar texture and ingredients is Creme brulee. The major difference is how the caramel is made. For the flan cake, the caramel layer is at the bottom of the ramkin. For the creme brulee, a thin layer of sugar on top is burnt directly with a kitchen torch and turned into hard caramel. Check out videos below from Nino’s Home to know more about these two cakes. Overall, they are both delicious and hopefully I could also make the creme brulee in the near future!

A brief note before I jump to the cooking part is that I modified the recipe in different ways, resulting in different batches. In the original video, Nino used 3 full eggs + 3 egg yolks, heavy cream and milk. For me, I haven’t known what I should make with 3 egg whites… yet 😅, so I only used 3 full eggs. Replace heavy creams with whole milk (equivalent amount) and the cake was super jiggly and silky! Keeping the amount of milk and cream, the cake was less jiggly and a little more firm, which made sense because heavy cream is… definitely heavier than milk with similar volume. Reduce the milk by 3.4 oz (~100 mL) or bake on the bottom rack (closer to the heat), the cake was denser. Overall, these batches were still delicious. The best version was with heavy cream and milk. The cakes were smooth and rich with just right amount of sweetness to me! And from now on, I don’t need to look for places that sell flan cakes anymore!

Adjusting the ingredients little by little and “evaluate” (i.e. eat) the products remind me of my research work: modify the experimental parameters and evaluate the result. Chemistry and cooking are so relatable!

Ingredients: (for 6 servings)


Total time: 30 minutes (for preparing) + 50 minutes (for baking) + 3 hour (for chilling)


That’s it for this “project” of flan cakes! Hope you enjoy the post… and make one this weekend!


Caramel flan cake

My favorite childhood desert: Caramel flan cake!
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Keyword caramel, flan cake, pudding
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Chilling time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 314kcal


  • 6 Ramkins


  • 3 whole Eggs (with optional 3 egg yolks)
  • 200 g Heavy cream
  • 500 mL Whole milk
  • 170 grams Sugar
  • 20 – 25 mL Water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract


  • Make the caramel liner: In a small sauce pan, add 80 g of sugar and approximately 20 – 25 mL of water, bring to boil on high heat. Stir constantly to completely dissolve the sugar, then leave it vigorously boil until the color change to golden brown (take around 10 minutes). Pour the hot caramel into ramkins immediately then set aside.

Making the egg-milk mixture:

  • In a large bowl, crack 3 full eggs and stir (not beat) gently to avoid bubbles formation. You can break the yolks first for easy stirring.
  • In a medium sauce pan, combine the heavy cream, whole milk and 90 g of sugar, stir constantly on medium heat until the milk is warm (foaming at the edge of the pot) then pour slowly into the eggs with constantly stirring (again) to homogenize the mixture.
  • Add the vanilla extract to the bowl and mix well.
  • Strain the mixture through a medium colander to remove unbeaten egg whites and break down the large bubbles. You can repeat this step one more time to have extra smooth texture.


  • Place the caramel-lined ramkins in a high-side large baking dish.
  • Pour the strained mixture to the ramkins (Highly recommend to have a large measuring cup, a 4-cup one, for easy pouring).
  • Bring a kettle of water to boil and pour the hot water to the baking dish to 2/3 of the height (so that we have enough water to “steam” the flan cake).
  • Bake at 305 F (~ 150 C) in 50 minutes on the top rack in the oven.


  • Take out from the oven and place on cooling rack for 10-15 minutes prior chilling in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Then… enjoy! 
    (You can transfer the cake nicely to a dessert plate by flipping it upside down or eat directly in the ramkin, which is what I actually did, haha! )


  • Accidentally add more water for caramel? Don’t freak out! Excess water would just evaporate anyway.
  • Unhappy with uneven caramel layer? No worries! It would be soften when the cake is baked in the oven. Or you can microwave the ramkins for 15 seconds and adjust the caramel liner.
  • Bake on top rack, not bottom rack! Not so close to heat to prevent burning.
  • Round-shape ramkins are better than square-shape ramkin (as heat is distributed more evenly)! (But the square-shape ramkims are very cute…😅)
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