A 40-layer crepe cake filled with homemade praline spread and topped with a generous layer of chocolate ganache. This crepe cake is a showstopper!
To say Chicago is freezing today is an understatement. The cold is brutal, with a strong wind chill and extremely low temperatures reaching a 53-year old record set back in 1966. No worries, despite this rare weather situation, I won’t let you down. I’m staying warm inside and I’m making crepes for you! Not any random crepes, but a huge 40-layer crepe cakes. Are you ready?
I like making crepes because it keeps you warm while you’re cooking them (especially if you have 40 crepes to go!). Also, the cold of these last days somehow comes in a perfect timing as we are approaching the Chandeleur (also known as crepes day) this coming Saturday in France – immediately followed by Super Bowl in the US on Sunday. It seems it is going to be a very festive and foodie weekend wherever you are!
If like me you loooove crepes more than anything (or almost), check out some of the recipes below:
To me, crepes must be very thin and light in texture. They are also very versatile and you can enjoy them plain, with sweet or savory toppings/filling, or go even crazier and flambé them. Last option: make a giant crepe layer cake! To do so, start with making the crepes. Note that I doubled the batter of my traditional crepes recipe and used a small 6-inch/15 cm crepe pan so that I could have a high pile of crepes.
Keep in mind however that crepes in general and a crepe cake in particular is a very forgiving recipe in the end, and you can adapt the recipe in many ways: using a bigger crepe pan, making as many crepes as you want (just remember it will impact the height of your cake), using part of the batter only if you get tired of making crepes at some point. If so, the good news is that you can keep the crepes batter in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days, and you can even freeze it if needed.
So how do we do a crepe cake? Basically, you pile all the crepes until you reach the height you desire. For the base, stack 3 crepes on top of each other before starting spreading the filling every single or every two crepes, until you are nearly out of crepes. As a final layer, stack two crepes, as they will need to support the chocolate ganache in the end.
Need more tips and tricks to perfecting the art of crepes? Check below:
Also, a few words about the filling here. I chose to prepare a so-called pâte de praliné in French, which basically consists of caramelized nuts (usually almonds and hazelnuts) that are then pulsed in a (very strong) food processor until they turn into a thick paste. It’s nutty and caramelized, just a wonderful gourmandise as we would say in France; it tastes almost like a candy! If you are a chocolate addict, you can replace it with my homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread or any other plain nut butter of your choice.
Important: let chill the crepe cake in the fridge so it hardens a little and hold its shape, usually about 1 hour. After that, cover with a generous layer of chocolate ganache, top with extra (chopped or not) hazelnuts, and slice it as a cake. And voilà!
- 4 cup (500g) all-purpose flour*, sifted
- 1 pinch of salt
- 8 large eggs
- ½ cup (100g) melted butter
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) sugar (optional)
- 4 cups (1L) milk
- 2 Tablespoons oil for cooking
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon (100g) water
- 2 cups (300g) whole hazelnuts
- 2 cups (300g) whole almonds
- ½ cup (12,5 cl) cream
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3.5 ounces (100g) chocolate, chopped in tiny pieces
- Pour flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, the melted butter, and the optional sugar if desired. Whisk vigorously starting from the center, and slowly start to pour in a little milk, mixing as you pour, to keep the batter smooth. Pour in the rest of the milk until it looks smooth. Cover the bowl and let sit for 2 hours.**
- Heat a 15 cm/6-inch crepes pan and grease with oil using a piece of paper towel. Pour in a ladle of dough by tilting the pan in all directions to distribute the dough well. Heat until the surface is cooked, then flip the pancakes and cook the other surface for about a minute, or until the crepe becomes lightly blonde. Proceed the same with the remaining batter.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Pour water and sugar in a non-stick pan with a heavy bottom and bring to boil until 245°F (118°C), using a cooking thermometer to measure properly.
- Lower the heat and add whole hazelnuts and almonds at once, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula. At first, sugar will become white and coat the nuts, and while continuing stirring it will progressively turn into a caramel. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the nuts are caramelized, transfer to the prepared baking sheet in en even layer and let cool completely.
- Gently break down the nut pieces, place into a strong food processor and pulse. At first you will obtain a thin, sandy texture. Continue pulsing until it tuns into a paste, about 15 minutes. Let chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before using.
- In a small saucepan, bring cream, butter and sugar to a boil, and stir until smooth.
- Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, chopped in tiny pieces (very important). Let sit for a couple of minutes, then stir until smooth.
- Place 2 sheets of cling film on a serving plate, forming a cross. Stack 3 crepes in the center and spread with 2 tablespoons of praline spread. Continue to layer a single crepe and 2 tablespoons of filling until you are nearly out of crepes. For stability, occasionally layer two or three crepes instead of one single crepe. End with a layer of 3 crepes.
- Wrap the cake well in plastic wrap, using a little pressure to keep the cake pressed down. Chill for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, remove cling film and spread the chocolate ganache on top and add a few extra hazelnuts for topping. Slice in wedges to serve.
** Don't skip this part, or if you run out of time allow the batter to sit for at least 30 minutes. This will help you get lighter crepes in texture.
A few items you need to make crepes
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