Gâteau de Crêpes

By • January 19, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is a standout from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus by Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson. From the book:
"You need two things to make a crêpe cake, which consists of about 30 layers of classic French crêpes stacked with thin smears of good orange marmalade: time and patience. To simplify the process a bit—and to avoid rushing when I’m layering the crêpes with the marmalade—I often make the crêpes a week ahead and freeze them between layers of waxed paper, well wrapped in plastic wrap. I let them thaw in the refrigerator for at least a full day before assembling the cake. You can make any size crêpes you wish. Obviously the larger the pan, the fewer crêpes, but note that smaller crêpes mean a taller, more impressive cake.

Note: Cooking crêpes is an art that a cook improves upon each time the pan is used; don’t expect the first crêpe to be perfect. You may need to thin or thicken the batter or adjust the heat as necessary; the crêpes should be lightly browned and just thick enough to hold together when you transfer them to the plate. The beauty of this cake is that even the ugly crêpes can be used. About six crêpes into the process, I usually start watching a movie."

(c) 2014 By Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson. All rights reserved. Excerpted from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by permission of Sasquatch Books.


Serves 12

  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups (about 384 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups orange marmalade
  • 2 cups heavy cream, for whipping
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. First, make the crêpe batter: In a blender, whirl together the milk, water, 2 cups melted butter, egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, and salt until smooth. Add the flour and pulse until just incorporated. Transfer the batter to a bowl and let it rest for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate, covered, overnight. (If you don’t have a monster-size blender, you may have to do this in two batches, stirring them together in the bowl before refrigerating.)
  2. To cook the crêpes, heat a 6-inch (or similar) steel crêpe pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, brush the pan liberally with melted butter, then add a scant 1⁄4 cup of batter, turning and twisting the pan until the batter has spread across the pan in an even layer. Let the crêpe cook for about 90 seconds, or until the center begins to bubble and the cooked side is marked with light-brown spots. Gently turn the crêpe (a flexible fish spatula or offset icing spatula works well) and cook another 30 to 60 seconds, until the second side is brown. Transfer the crêpe to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter, buttering the pan again between every few crêpes and sliding sheets of waxed paper between each crêpe so they don’t stick together on the plate.
  3. To assemble the cake, place a sturdy-looking crêpe on a large, round platter or cake stand. Smear about 2 tablespoons of the marmalade evenly across the cake, then add another crêpe. Repeat with the remaining marmalade and crêpes, ending with a crêpe, and smear any remaining marmalade onto the sides of the cake. Transfer the platter to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours, before serving.
  4. To prepare the cream: In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, then whip until the cream forms soft peaks, another minute or two.
  5. To serve, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, cut into slices, and plate with puffs of the whipped cream.

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