This Café au Lait Crepe Cake with Orange Cream Sauce is my way of sending out a bad year and welcoming in a better New Year. I wanted to do something special to reward all of us for doing our part and sticking it out. Every part of this can be made ahead. It can also be assembled ahead and refrigerated or frozen.
French Crepes for the Crepe Cake
This is actually an easy cake to make. The crepes are a bit time consuming if you use one pan at a time but they can be made ahead and frozen. Because the crepes are so delicate, the cake is easier to put together if the crepes are frozen. Please read my post on All Purpose French Crepes for a complete rundown on this French specialty with how to photos.
I used an 8” non stick pan to make these. The crepes themselves will be about 7”. Have hand a stack of parchment paper or wax paper cut into 9” squares with which to stack the crepes as they come from the pan.
1 ⅔ cups all purpose flour (235 grams or 8 ¼ ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
1 ½ cups water
5 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 stick of butter for the pan
Place all but the stick of butter in a food processor (by batches if necessary). If by batches, whisk together in a large bowl after processing. Let rest for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Over medium heat, swipe the pan with the stick of butter for the first crepe and every 4 or 5 after that. Ladle about 2 tablespoons or 1 liquid ounce of batter into the middle of the pan. Quickly swirl the pan around to cover the bottom and about ¼” up the side.
Brown on one side for about a minute or so, flip the crepe and brown the other side. The first side of the cooked crepe is always the best looking.
Stack between paper as soon as it is done. Cool to room temperature. If not using immediately, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a few days or place in a freezer bag and freeze for a month or so.
For use in the Crepe Cake, leave them frozen.
Yield: About 24 crepes
Café au Lait Truffle Filling
The Café au Lait filling is from a line of truffles I designed some time ago. It calls for milk chocolate but semisweet could be substituted. This can be made a week ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to use. It needs to be very soft but not liquid.
1 ¼ cups 40% cream
1 ½ tablespoon instant coffee
15 ounces milk chocolate (425 grams)
Heat the cream and coffee until steaming. Do not boil. Submerge the chocolate below the cream. Let sit 4 to 5 minutes. Stir to incorporate chocolate, whisking gently towards the end to remove any lumps. Pour into a storage container and bring to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or up to several weeks. Bring to room temperature to fill the crepe cake.
Yield: About 2 ¼ cups
Orange Cream Sauce for the Crepe Cake
The Orange Cream Sauceis a variation of the sauce for Crepes Suzette and was first featured in the Stuffed French Toast blog where you will find the how to photos. This can be made days ahead and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.
The slightly tangy sauce compliments the richness of the cake.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons Curacao, Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons Brandy
¼ cup 40% cream
½ teaspoon cornstarch
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar, orange and lemon juice; bring to a boil and boil hard for 3 to 4 minutes until somewhat thickened.
Add the orange liqueur and brandy; boil another 2 minutes to return to thickness. In the meantime whisk the cream and cornstarch together.
Remove the orange mixture from the heat and let the boiling subside. Add the cream mixture; return to heat and, stirring constantly, bring back to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 cup
Café au Lait Truffle Filling
Orange Cream Sauce
Remove the crepes from the freezer. They may seem stuck together, but if you lift the paper under the crepe you should be able to slowly pull it away. Also, after you get one side lifted, insert your hand under the crepe and it should pop off the stack.
Place one crepe on a serving plate or cake board. If the crepes are at all moist, place a paper towel on top of them and press down to remove the moisture.
Place one heaping tablespoon of the Café au Lait Truffle filling in the center of the crepe. Without delay, spread the it out to the edges, covering it entirely. Because the crepes are frozen and the filling is chocolate it will set up rapidly.
Place another crepe on top of the filling and repeat the filling all the way to the top. Leave the top crepe plain.
Wrap in film and refrigerate until completely set.
When ready to serve, you can place a doilie on top and sprinkle it heavily with powdered sugar, Carefully remove the doilie.
To serve, slice the Café au Lait Crepe Cake into about 12 servings. The servings may look small but the cake is very rich.