Happy Birthday, Mom! Aren't you proud of me for making you this delicious cake?
But this isn't just any regular cake. This is a chocolate-hazelnut CREPE cake. See the inside? Those are crepes, carefully stacked and held together with chocolate cream and ganache:
The recipe was adapted from a Chocolate Amaretto Crepe Cake recipe from Sprinkle Bakes, one of my favorite food blogs. However, despite initially following the Sprinkle Bakes recipe for crepes, I found the batter to be too runny and sweet. So halfway through, I started making my crepes from this old recipe I've used since college. This batter does not contain any sugar and is significantly less runny, enabling me to build perfectly circular crepes without the help of a cake ring.
Without further ado, I present to you the recipe:
(Works at All Altitudes)
(yields 20-24 6-inch crepes)
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 2 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1/2) stick unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat a 9 or 10 inch skillet pan by placing it on medium heat on the stove top.
- Combine four eggs and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk eggs and salt together until the mixture looks uniformly yellow.
- Add approximately 1/4 cup of flour to whisk into the egg mixture -- this quantity does not have to be precise.
- Once the flour has been incorporated into the egg mixture, whisk approximately 1/4 cup of milk to thin the batter.
- Keep adding equal amounts of milk and flour alternately until 2 1/4 cups of milk and 2 cups of flour have been added.
- Whisk the batter until it is smooth (approximately 1 or 2 minutes) -- DO NOT OVERMIX.
- Add the melted butter to the batter and whisk until the butter is fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.
- At this point, your batter is ready. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pre-heated pan. Swirl the batter with the pan lifted over the stove eye until the bottom is coated with a thin layer of batter -- try and make your crepe as circular as you can. You can do this in two ways. One way is to place a 6-inch cake ring on the pan and pouring 1/4 cup of batter into the ring, ensuring that the batter makes a perfect circle. The second way is to make crepes that are slightly larger (around 7 or 8 inches in diameter) and using a cake ring to cut smaller, perfect circles out of these larger crepes once they've cooled.
- Place pan on the stove eye and cook until the surface of the crepe loses most of its glossiness and the top is set.
- When the top has set, flip the crepe to cook the other side of the pancake. This should not take more than 30 seconds.
- When the crepe is ready, slide the pancake out of the skillet and onto a plate to set aside. Repeat process until all crepe batter is used. Allow the crepes to cool completely.
- 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
- Whip heavy cream in a large bowl on medium-speed with a hand mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
- Gradually add the vanilla sugar to thicken the mixture.
- Gradually add 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Add the Frangelico one tablespoon at a time, and then add the vanilla extract. Whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- 3.5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
- Roughly chop the chocolate and place it in a medium bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-high heat until just boiling.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Mix in the Frangelico and whisk again until smooth. Allow to cool slightly before using.
- Use a cake ring to ensure that all your crepes are uniform circles.
- Center a crepe on a cooling rack. Place 1 tablespoon of chocolate-hazelnut cream in the center of the crepe. Use a knife to spread this cream thinly and consistently across the crepe. Top with another crepe. Continue brushing, spreading, and stacking, ending with a crepe on top. This is what the final product should look like:
- Once you have finished stacking the crepes, prep your work area for a ganache pour by moving the cooling rack containing the crepes over a large jellyroll pan. You will be pouring the chocolate ganache onto the crepes, where it will run down the sides of the cake and into this pan. So make sure that the jellyroll pan is big enough to catch the chocolate runoff or you'll end up with a big mess!
- Pour the chocolate-hazelnut ganache over the crepes, starting in the center of the crepe cake stack. Move the cup in an ever widening circle above the cake, until the top is completely covered. Keep pouring once you get towards the edges to ensure that the sides of the cake are completely covered with ganache.
- As the ganache sets, sprinkle decorations to settle with the ganache. I used Valrhona Chocolate Pearls from Whole Foods. Chill until serving.