Today, I’m craving for the dessert type crêpes and I had an ample amount of time to kill. Inspired from much buzz from the past year of Lady M’s Mille Crêpes cake (and I have tried it about half a year ago; before I started this blog) and the current craving of chocolate (what else do I love more?) and crêpes I thought, “Why not make a bittersweet chocolate version of the Mille Crêpes cake?!” So, I searched the web for a dependable crêpes cake recipe and lo and behold I found it from Martha Stewart’s site (you’ll see it at the end of this post).
The changes I’ve made from this cake recipe is that I used Alton Brown’s technique of making crêpes by blending the batter (since I’ve tried mixing it with a whisk for two minutes and it’s still lumpy), used small metal hemisphere molds from the company Ateco (you can see here, even though it’s not from the Sur La Table site but you know what I’m talking about), that I bought about a year or two ago from Sur La Table in SoHo and shaped (more like stuffed into submission) the crêpes into that mold and layered with a bittersweet (70%) chocolate ganache with a semisweet chocolate whipped ganache frosting. You can sum it up as a “death by chocolate” crêpes cake dome: semisweet chocolate crêpes filled with a bittersweet chocolate ganache, frosted with whipped chocolate ganache and stabbed with a pulled caramel piece on top as decoration. It’s a calorie bomb and a chocoholic’s dream. Also if you happened to love the smell of melted chocolate and brown butter, this is your recipe. The scent lingered in my house for an hour or so.
I suggest you to allot yourself at least two and a half (read: 2 1/2) hours to make it. Yeah, it’s a long time: about 1/2 hour or less to make the crêpe batter, 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the batter to refrigerate (it’s a necessary step), during that waiting period you make the chocolate ganache filling and frosting, and about 1/2 hour to create enough crêpes to fill one hemisphere mold (which is about 10 or so). Trust me. The time you invest, it’s worth the effort. If you don’t want to make this cake, you can just make chocolate crêpes and have a chocolate sauce on top or have some Nutella on it. Mmmm… probably I should make that next time for breakfast.
Here’s the original recipe from Martha Stewart. My changes will be in parenthesis or in red.
Darkest Chocolate Crêpe Cake
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus melted for pan
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate ganache frosting & Chocolate ganache filling (see below the crepe recipe)
Candied Hazelnuts (I just used a simple caramel recipe: 2 parts sugar, 1 part water and boil until a light golden brown color. Let it sit for a minute to be slightly malleable and )
1. Bring 1/4 cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
3. Lightly coat an 8-inch crêpe pan or nonstick skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove pan from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into pan, swirling to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook, flipping once, until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.
4. Slide crêpe onto a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed. Crêpes can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.
5. Place a crêpe on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with about 3 tablespoons hazelnut filling. Top with another crêpe. Continue layering with hazelnut filling and crêpes, using about 32 crêpes and ending with a crêpe on top. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Lightly grease the hemisphere molds. Gently place a crêpe into the mold (you really want to be gentle with the first one since it’s the outermost part of the cake), fold and press the crêpe until it covers in the mold in one thin layer. It is fine to have the crêpe hanging out of the mold. Spread a small amount of the chocolate ganache on the crêpe. Continue to layer the crêpe with the ganache until you completely fill the mold. The crêpes that are hanging out of the mold will be trimmed off with a knife, so that it is leveled with the edge of the hemisphere mold. Wrap the mold tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for three minutes. The brief minutes in the cold holds the layers a little better than left at room temp. Take out the cake from the freezer. Remove the plastic wrap from the hemisphere mold. Unmold the cake by using a thin blade knife, gently running it in along the sides.
6. Spoon 1/2 cup glaze (or frosting) on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely. Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 20 minutes. Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Garnish with toasted and candied hazelnuts
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Makes 1 2/3 cups
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 quart heavy cream
1. Melt chocolate with cream in a heavy saucepan, and cook over very low heat until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and refrigerate until cooled but not too firm, 30 to 45 minutes.
3. Using a handheld mixer, beat on high speed until thick and creamy. Use immediately.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
12 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 quart heavy cream
1. On a piece of parchment, finely chop chocolate using a serrated knife; place in a large bowl.
2. Prepare an ice bath. In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from heat, and pour over chopped chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir until chocolate melts.
Divide mixture between two heat-proof bowls. Set one aside. Set one bowl over ice bath, and stir until mixture reaches the consistency of toothpaste.