Last Saturday morning, while our heads were still on our pillows, my husband's eyes popped open and he said "I've been meaning to tell you this. I've dreamed of a cake three nights in a row, but I keep forgetting to tell you about it. It's one of those crêpe cakes. The flavor is chocolate-amaretto, and it has a maraschino cherry on top. I think you are supposed to make it."
I knew he wasn't fabricating a story to coerce me into making something he was craving. I know for a fact that he'd rather eat a pickle on top of cake than a maraschino cherry. I took this news as a sign, or maybe it was some kind of divine appointment with cake. Whatever the case, I felt his dream should be made a reality- with one exception. I decided to spare him the cherry.
This was my first time making crêpes, so I took some time researching crêpe recipes. They all seemed very simple, but it was the batter swirling technique I was worried about - and the pan. The fancy pan.
You need a fancy crêpe pan to swirl the batter properly, right? Well, that's what I thought. I took a chance with my beat-up non-stick pan with the wobbly handle. I swirled, I cooked. I didn't lose my head. Everything turned out fine!
I let Mr. Baird taste-test as I developed the whipped filling recipe. I wanted to make sure it matched his dream-memory. I also made a chocolate amaretto ganache - a bit too much, it turns out - so I made truffles with the leftovers.
The resulting cake was delicious, and the many-layered texture is so divine!
Please be sure to read the comments before attempting this cake. I found the crepe-making to be simpler than I expected, but others are having trouble. Some find this cake tedious and some just did not care for the cake's flavors. This cake consists of many layers of homemade crepes - and in the name of clarity - yes - it takes a little more time and effort to put together than a regular layer cake.
Yield: One 9-inch cake. [click for printable version]
Note: Have ready a pastry brush and a little cup of melted butter before you begin cooking the crepes. This is for brushing and the pan with butter.
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a blender and process until well combined. The mixture will be the consistency of heavy cream.
- Brush a 9 or 10 inch skillet with melted butter and place over medium heat until butter just starts to smoke. Pour scant 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet. Swirl the batter with the pan lifted over the stove eye until the bottom is coated with a thin layer of batter. Place pan on the stove eye and cook until the surface of the crepe loses most of its glossiness and the top is set. At this point, most recipes will tell you to flip the crepes; mine were cooked through without flipping, so I just slid them out of the skillet and onto a plate.
- Repeat process until all crepe batter is used. Allow the crepes to cool completely.
1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. amaretto liqueur
- Whip heavy cream in a large bowl on medium-high speed with a hand mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Mixture will begin to thicken.
- Gradually add in the unsweetened cocoa powder. Add the amaretto liqueur one tablespoon at a time, and then add the almond extract. Whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Note: This recipe can be halved if you don't plan to make the amaretto truffles.
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
- Roughly chop the chocolate and place it in a medium bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-high heat until just boiling.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Mix in the Amaretto and whisk again until smooth. Allow to cool slightly before using
- Center a crepe on a serving plate. Using a pastry brush, very lightly coat the crepe with chocolate ganache while it is still thin (if ganache begins to set, you can gently heat it in the microwave at 20 second intervals). Thinly spread a little whipped filling over the ganache and top with another crepe. Continue brushing, spreading and stacking, ending with a crepe on top. Set aside.
- When remaining chocolate ganache is of spreading consistency, use to frost the cake. Let stand at room temperature until set.
Note: If making entire ganache recipe, remaining amount can be chilled and rolled into truffles. Roll truffles in cocoa powder and garnish top of cake, if desired.