My niece, Amanda, recently came to visit and thought it would be fun for us to make a dessert together. She decided on a Crepe Cake for several reasons. First, Crepe Cakes are all over Instagram and they look impressive. Unlike a fussy layer cake, Crepe Cakes have a sort of fun, haphazard feel and that is exactly what we needed with a baby and a 2-year old at our side.
Crepe Cakes sound French so might conjure up images of traditional French pastries or other classic desserts that require some level of expertise. Amanda wanted to demonstrate that they really aren’t as difficult as you might think. There are definitely some techniques to pay attention to so we have shared our tips here and a quote from Julia Child.
From her book, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, “Once you have mastered a technique, you barely have to look at a recipe again.”
Crepe Cakes provide endless possibilities so learning the basics of crepe making seems like a good skill for gluten free cooks. After trying crepes with quinoa flour and buckwheat flour we decided on this gluten free version of the typical sweet crepe. This is the kind of crepe you would make for breakfast or dessert and no one would guess it was gluten free.
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For the filling Amanda chose a classic French vanilla Pastry Cream for its’ decadence with fresh strawberries and stabilized whipped cream to finish off the presentation.
This pastry cream is luscious from the six egg yolks and can likely be made with ingredients already in your kitchen. I make an eggless version of this called Vanilla Cream. I like that recipe because I can start it with what’s in my fridge, but then I do need a trip to the store for whipping cream to finish off the recipe. So use which ever filling you want with this tip on making sauces with cornstarch.
The filling for a Crepe Cake needs to be thick. Over whisking any sauce made with cornstarch can result in a watery mess, so just don’t over whisk allowing the heat to thicken the sauce.
The fun part about making this recipe together was that we learned from each other. It is pretty easy to assume that everyone knows what you know but of course that isn’t true. This is what we learned.
Amanda taught me how to stabilize whipped cream by adding dissolved gelatine into the whipped cream. This helps it hold its shape for hours in the fridge, perfect for serving our birthday Crepe Cake much later that day.
|Sprinkle 1 tsp of gelatin over 1 Tbsp cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes until a thick semi-solid. Microwave 5-10 seconds until just melted. Whisk until smooth and add to whipping cream as it whips. Continue beating to soft or stiff peaks and use as usual.|
I taught Amanda my trick of beating the chilled and set custard to a velvety smooth texture before spreading it onto the crepes.
It took me two batches of crepes, with two pans going at once, to master the technique of crepe making. This is what we thought were the important points to share.
A crepe pan isn’t necessary but they do have some features you might like. For serious crepe makers who can imagine a few Crepe Cakes in their future you might consider some of these tools.
So Amanda and I challenge you to master the art of crepe making and unleash your creativity with crepe cakes. Who knows, it could just become a family dessert tradition.
Let me know in the comments below how your Crepe Cake turned out. I’d love to see a photo of it and if you send me one I’ll add it here.
|½ cup whole milk|
|⅓ cup sugar|
|6 egg yolks|
|⅓ cup cornstarch|
|1¾ cups whole milk|
|⅓ cup sugar|
|1 Tbsp vanilla extract|
|1½ cups milk (whole milk preferred)|
|2 Tbsp melted butter|
|1¼ cups gluten free flour (I used mine)|
|2 Tbsp sugar|
|¼ tsp salt|
|vegetable oil for cooking|
|FINISHING – strawberries and whipped cream|
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