Author Notes: I start this with an important note, baking and desserts are decidedly out of my comfort zone. With that being said, and the impending Valentine's Day holiday - I decided to push myself outside my comfort zone. My two absolutely favorite desserts are crepes and chocolate mousse. Maybe it because I have been obsessed with all things Parisienne since my college study abroad but I figured why not try to combine them into a dessert. We have Smith Island Cake here in Maryland that has always intrigued me so this is my take on that layered pancake-like creature with buttercream insides. To make it lighter I used crepes (starting with a basic crepe recipe from Martha Stewart and Alton Brown) that I spiced up a bit and changed the ratio of flour and added cocoa, then I made a ginger-anise infused chocolate mousse. For the chocolate mousse I started with a basic recipe from Serious Eats. Now is this beautiful? Not when I make it - let's call it rustic :) but delicious? oh yes. - meganvt01
Food52 Review: This chocolate-y & spicy decadent dessert is beautiful, as well as absolutely delicious. There are a lot of steps in this recipe, however each step overlaps with the next perfectly that as the crepe batter is resting, the mousse can be made, then while it's resting, the crepes can be made, etc. Then, there's a half hour of rest time before serving ...just enough time to take off your apron and boil the kettle for a cup of tea! Or perhaps this might be better suited to a fruity, spicy glass of red wine! - thehappycook
Makes 1 cake
Spicy Chocolate Crepes
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup good quality dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Blend all ingredients (except last melted butter) in a blender for 25 seconds. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Heat a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Brush with melted butter and pour in 1/3 cup of the crepe batter, swirling the batter quickly to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute, until set. Flip and cook for 45 seconds. Remove to sheet pan to cool Should yield 10 crepes.
Ginger-Anise Infused Chocolate Mousse and Assembling Cake
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 star anise pods
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 large egg whites
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- crystallized ginger and shaved chocolate, to garnish
- Place the milk, ginger and anise in a small saucepan and heat over medium high to bring to a boil. Stir the mix carefully while heating to avoid scalding. When the mixture boils, remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain the solids from the milk.
- Heat chocolate in a microwave safe bowl - 30 second intervals, stirring after each heating. When the mixture was almost melted (about 2.5 minutes for me) remove and continue to stir and use the residual heat to finish melting.
- whisk the milk, rum, and vanilla into the chocolate, just until combined.
- Whisk in the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture, just until combined.
- In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or a bowl and a hand mixer), beat the egg whites at medium until medium peaks. Add the sugar and increase speed to medium high until stiff peaks (but still remain glossy).
- Add 1/4 of egg whites to chocolate - folding in to lighten the entire mixture. When it is well combined, add the remaining egg whites - folding using a J-shaped motion to very carefully combine. Stop when you have the mixture just combined. Chill for one hour - not more or the mixture will become dense and difficult to spread.
- Assembly - place one crepe down, spread (gently) about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mousse mixture, cover with another crepe - repeat until the tower is complete.
- Whip the heavy cream and sugar to stiff peaks. Top the crepe tower with whipped creme, caramelized ginger (chopped) and more shaved chocolate. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.