I think I’ve done the Crêpe Cake thing to death on this blog. Yet every time I’m faced with a cake decision for a birthday or other celebration I find myself exploring different options for stacking crêpes between some sort of delicious, creamy goodness and topped with something unique.
This time, occasion called for a lighter, fruitier crêpe cake than the chocolate, hazelnut, kahlua and black forest stacks of recent times. This cake is based on the traditional French dessert, Crêpe Suzette, just without the flambé. Simple crêpes layered with Crême Diplomat and orange butter, topped with drizzled orange butter and candied oranges.
Crème Diplomat is a lighter version of Crème Pâtissière. Well, actually, it is just Crème Pâtissière with whipped cream folded through. Crème Pâtissière is my nemesis. The danger lies in its ease of making – from ingredients always stored in the pantry – and I have an unashamed weakness to it; thick, sweet and custardy, studded with vanilla seeds and turning slightly gluggy as it cools. Mmm..
The orange butter is a straightforward mix of freshly squeezed orange juice, butter, sugar and Grand Marnier. It thickens as it cools, making it perfectly spreadable between every 4th or 5th crêpe in the stack, then slightly warmed and drizzled over the final cake…
Recipe based on The Little White Kitchen
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups milk
1 cup water
4 cups flour
85g melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a large blender (or whisk by hand), ensuring there are no lumps. If batter is too thick, add water, 1/4 cup at a time until thin and runny. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Batter will thicken. Add more water as necessary to return batter to a pourable consistency. Heat a large pan (or crêpe pan) over medium heat. Pour on approximately 1/4 cup batter, swirling pan to coat evenly – batter should be thin enough to spread without holes. Cook until bubbles appear – flip and cook the other side. Transfer to wire rack to cool and continue until all batter is used.
From Little & Friday Celebrations Cookbook
Makes 2 cups
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup caster sugar
3 egg yolks
¼ cup cornflour
In a saucepan, combine milk, vanilla and ¼ cup caster sugar, and bring to the boil. In a bowl, beat together remaining caster sugar, egg yolks and cornflour until mixture is pale and thick.
Whisking constantly at low speed, slowly pour half the milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return remaining milk to the heat and quickly add egg yolk mixture to milk, beating constantly. It is a real workout, but if you don’t beat it vigorously enough the Crème Pâtissière will be lumpy. Keep beating the mixture over the heat until it comes back to the boil and thickens drastically. Remove from the heat, whisking until smooth, transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film. Let cool.
To make Crème Diplomat, whip 250ml whipping cream until firm. Whisk the cooled Crème Pâtissière (it will have turned firm and gluggy on cooling) until smooth, then add the whipped cream. Fold together until thoroughly combined.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 oranges, squeezed
1 lemon, juiced
4 teaspoons orange zest
3 Tbsp Grand Marnier
Combine the butter, sugar, citrus juices, and zest to a small saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes until it reaches 180-200F, or until is slightly caramelizes. It should be a golden color. Remove from heat, add the Grand Marnier, return to the heat and continue to whisk and simmer for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Candied oranges are far more simple than I imagined, having always bought commercial packs of it for Christmas mince pies and truffles. No longer – sliced and simmered in sugar syrup, candied oranges are super simple and satisfying to make from scratch. Simply heat 1 1/2 cups water in a large skilled. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Slice two oranges into thin slices and carefully place in the simmering sugar syrup. Let simmer over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a think syrup; the oranges will also become slightly translucent, about 20 minutes. Remove the orange slices from the syrup and place on a cool rack. Once cool, sprinkle with granulated sugar and allow to set. Orange slices can be kept sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
To assemble, lay one crêpe on a cake stand. Spoon on 2 tablespoons of Crème Diplomat and spread over evenly. Make sure it isn’t thick at the edges or it will ooze out (it will likely ooze out regardless but this will reduce it). Place over a second crêpe and repeat. Every so often (after every 5th crêpe), spread a layer of orange butter over and top with the Crème Diplomat. Continue until all crêpes are used, finishing with a crêpe. At this point you can refrigerate the stack until it is needed – this helps the crêpes soften and allows the flavours to meld.
When ready to serve, warm the remaining orange butter and drizzle over the stacked crêpes. Arrange the candied oranges over top and sprinkle with icing sugar. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Some more Crêpe Cakes on De La Casa