Stately Crêpe Layer Cake with Chocolate-Orange-Coffee Cream and Chocolate Ganache Recipe
Crêpes are one of France's great gifts to the culinary world, and something for whom I am intensely grateful. French crêpes though, have an infinite number of different varieties, and one particular variety attracted quite a bit of interest in France, that of a 1950s recipe with simply put, stunning amounts of alcohol including beer, pastis, and rum, used to "relax" the batter. As many of the comments mentioned, they would be extremely relaxed if they had drunk such a huge quantity of alcohol! But it seems to work, and the combination of the host of different spirits produces crêpes which are incredibly luscious, sweet, soft, fluffy; and delicate to eat, and with the remarkable ease which crêpes associate themselves with - simply put them briefly on the burner, and voilà, crêpes! In this recipe, they are used in their serried legions to produce a stack of crêpes with layers of chocolate-orange-coffee cream in between, a rich and decadent fare that only gets more rich and decadent when one adds on a covering of chocolate ganache on top.
The result is an incredibly beautiful, magnificent, stately, elegant, powerful stack of crêpes with their decadent chocolate covering, oft best completed with some cut strawberries. The crêpes make for delicious eating as one savors layer after layer, with the soft goodness of the crêpes and the creamy richness of the filling in between them, and with the delicious decadence of chocolate completing it. Such an interchange of complex and potent flavors, all mingling together without any single one overwhelming the others, is sure to delight the tastebuds, and to make a cake which looks like something which would belong in the best of an elaborate high society dinner party equally at home on any dinner table forsworn instead to gluttony and rich indulgence. Whichever purpose it is put to, it is a cake which is bound to adore, love, and to throw oneself with wild abandon into.
I based the recipe for the crêpes off of the linked above French video, while the construction of the cake itself and the rest of the recipe are entirely my own.
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 8 eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup rum
- 2 cups beer
- 2 cups + 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons instant coffee
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- strawberries, for garnish (a few)
- First make the crepe batter. Combine together 1 teaspoon of vanilla, with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 3/4 cups of sugar, 3 1/2 cups of flour. Then add in 8 eggs, and the 2 tablespoons of oil. Beat this until it is very thick and smooth. Then add in the 1 cup of milk, which has been heated until it is hot with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, in 2-3 additions, beating each time, alongside the 4 tablespoons of butter, cut up into smaller segments and added into the milk to enable the butter to melt. Then proceed to add in the 1 cup of rum and the 2 cups of beer, mixing between additions, to make a thin and smooth batter.
- Heat a frying pan until it is quite hot, and then using a large serving spoon place the batter into it. Rotate the pan to coat all of it with the batter, and cook briefly, until it holds together when pushed up alongside the edges and is browned but not burnt, then proceed to turn over the crepe to enable the other side to be cooked. Then remove from the frying pan and place onto a serving dish or plate. Proceed to do this again and again, using multiple frying pans if necessary, until all of the crepe batter is used up.
- Beat the 2 cups of heavy cream with the 1/2 cup of sugar until it is stiff and solid. Then add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla, the 3 tablespoons of instant coffee, 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier, and 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and beat until all are mixed together and there is a smooth finished product, which holds its shape well and is very thick and stiff. Place 1 crepe on top of a cake platter, layer cream over it until there is a thin but even layer, then place another crepe on that, and repeat until all of the crepes or cream are used. If there are crepes left over, they can either be consumed, or if there is chocolate ganache left over, they can be further piled on.
- Place the 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, preferably chocolate chips but in any case chopped into small pieces, into a large heat-proof bowl. Proceed in a microwave-safe bowl to microwave 1/2 cup of heavy cream for 1 minute, then pour it over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk together until smooth, let cool for 10 minutes. Pour the ganache over the cake and if there is a lot left, it can be used to add further layers of crepes.
- Chop the strawberries and place them on top of the cake decoratively. Refrigerate and serve.
© 2019 Ryan Thomas