Crêpe Cake

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slice of chocolate crepe cake
Easy as pancakes!

We love making desserts like this crêpe cake. Why? First, they’re nothing more than a combination of a couple of things that we’ve already made and know are really good. Second, they’re easy to write up. And, in this case, they’re pretty easy to put together, too. That’s three for three, which here in Scratchin’ Land is about as good as it gets.

We first saw and learned about crêpe cakes in Bouchon, by Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxel, but we didn’t use that recipe. Nope, we just used our whole-wheat crêpes recipe and our recipe for chocolate pastry cream. After that, it’s all about assembly.

Ingredient discussion:

You can use any flavor pastry cream you wish — we give three flavor variations — and you don’t have to use the whole-wheat version of crêpes, although they’re really good, and it’ll make your dessert seem as though it’s somehow healthier. But, given the ingredient list, it’s not too bad for you, either.

If you want to decorate your cake as we do, you’ll need:

  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Cocoa, preferably Dutch processed so it’s not bitter

Procedure in detail:

Make 5-inch crêpes. Make up the crêpes batter in the morning (or even the night before), and cook the crêpes right before assembly. It’s best to cook them all, making stacks of nice-looking crêpes and stacks of not-so-nice looking crêpes. You should have about sixteen 5-inch crêpes.

Make pastry cream. Also in the morning (or the night before), make up a batch of pastry cream in your favorite flavor and refrigerate until about 2 hours prior to assembly. You’ll want the pastry cream warm enough to spread easily. If you forgot, you can warm it slightly by microwaving it in 20-second bursts at 30% power.

spreading pastry cream
If need be, warm the pastry cream in the microwave, gently and on low power.
layering a crepe cake
Just keep forming layers until you run out of crêpes or pastry cream.
layering a crepe cake
It should get to be about 2 inches thick when you near the end of the crêpes.

Assemble. Place a piece of plastic wrap over a plate or a small cutting board, or something that you can wrap the plastic wrap under to keep it out of the way. Select your finest-looking crêpe from among all that you made, and place it best side down on the plastic wrap. Spread with pastry cream, keeping in mind that the crêpes are thinner near the edges (more pastry cream) than at the center (less pastry cream). Now place another crêpe on top, smoothing it out. And repeat. And repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Finish with a nice- looking crêpe, too.

wrapping a crepe cake
Wrap in plastic and chill thoroughly so it’ll be easier to handle when you plate and slice the cake.

Refrigerate. Pull the plastic wrap up and over the cake — if need be, grab another piece of plastic wrap to ensure that the cake is completely covered and refrigerate until firm, 3 to 4 hours, or even overnight.

saguaro stencil
Our stencil is perfect for the Sonoran desert, where we live.

Make stencil. If you wish, cut out a circle of waxed paper or baking parchment and cut a design in it to use as a stencil. We went with a moon, star, and saguaro. Cool, huh?

applying cake design
After applying cocoa, set the stencil in place, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.
chocolate crepe cake
A beautiful night in the Old Pueblo.

Dust. Unwrap the cake and plate, remembering that the best-looking crêpe is on the bottom, so you need to turn it over. Dust the entire top with cocoa powder. Place stencil over the cocoa, and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

How can you go wrong with a cake that’s as easy as making pancakes? You can’t. And, of course, chocolate pastry cream is no slouch either, so together, this is an easy five stars. It does take a bit of time, though. Each crêpe takes about 2 minutes to cook, and then spreading and layering took us about another 30 minutes or so. But, it’s not as if any of the steps is difficult. And, it makes a perfectly-size cake for two.

Worth the trouble?

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