I didn’t grow up cooking. I wasn’t the kid that baked. I rarely helped mum in the kitchen, except to steal away with a chocolate-covered beater to lick. I didn’t like peas or mushrooms or schnitzel or whipped cream.
I still don’t claim to be much of a cook. I have enough kitchen disasters to remind me that I am still an amateur on a long journey to becoming anything like Ina Garten. But when I return home from a huge week in the cafe (cakes! butter! food blogs! dishes!) and still want to get in the kitchen to create something just for close friends, it’s clear that I’ve found something I can call my passion.
While working with food easily becomes a chore when it’s ‘my job’, I find great joy in creating a dish solely for special friends on a special occasion. French crêpe’s stacked one upon the other, amidst layers of cream cheese tinted with Kahlúa. Smothered in chocolate (and more Kahlúa) and garnished with espresso beans and dark chocolate.
Chocolate Kahlúa Crêpe Cake
A De La Casa original
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
dash vanilla extract
Whizz together all ingredients with a blender or whisk by hand. Let sit in fridge for an hour to thicken. Remove from fridge and, if necessary, add a little more milk to thin. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Lightly grease with butter. Pour 1/3 cup onto pan and swirl to coat, moving fast to get it thinly spread before it starts setting. Once it begins to bubble, flip and briefly cook other side. Transfer to a plate to cool. Continue with remaining batter – you will make 12 or so crêpes.
Kahlúa Cream Cheese Filling
There are a couple of ways you could go about this. Using 1/4 cup cocoa powder works fine. I happened to have some ganache on hand that needed using so I poured this in as I whisked, as well as a little cocoa. If you have enough of the filling remaining, use this to ice the outside of the crêpe stack. I ran out, so made the Chocolate Buttercream as below.
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
50g butter, at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar (or more)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon Kahlúa
Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add sugar and cocoa and beat thouroughly, adding more sugar until it is at desired sweetness. Beat in Kahlúa and enough milk to make it smooth and spreadable.
1/2 cup (110g) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 ounces (50g) dark chocolate, melted and cooled
Beat butter and icing sugar until smooth and creamy. After carefully melting chocolate (in short bursts in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water), let cool (make sure it’s cool!) and pour into butter while beating.
Lay first crepe on cake stand. Dollop on about a 1/4 cup of the chocolate cream cheese. Spread right to the edges in a thin layer. Add second crepe and repeat until all are used, finishing with a crepe. Spread remaining cream cheese icing, or chocolate buttercream over whole cake, smoothing it over the sides. Garnish with crushed espresso beans and grated chocolate.