|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 10 to 12|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 32g||41%|
|Saturated Fat 19g||93%|
|Total Carbohydrate 42g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 18g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||5%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
The beauty of a crepe cake is in its rustic appeal. No need to perfectly stack the layers, obsessively smooth out the sides of buttercream, or even toil over the decoration. Simply dust the top with confectioners' sugar or an extra dollop of filling, and the cake is ready for its show-stopping debut.
What is a crepe cake?
Gâteau de crêpes, or crepe cake, is an icon of French pastry that rose back to the spotlight in the 1980s thanks to Japanese pastry chef Emy Wada at Paper Moon Cake Boutiques in Japan. Her modern take known as "mille crepes" literally translates to "thousand crepes," even though it tops off around 20 crepes layered with pastry cream. The term pays homage to the classic French desserts crepes and mille-feuille.
When it comes to the process, crepe cakes may take a lot of time to prepare, but most of that time is spent chilling in the fridge. The batter comes together in no time with the help of a blender, then relaxes for at least a couple hours to ensure the perfect texture. The bulk of the prep happens when you cook off the individual crepes.
That said, don't be nervous. Many find making crepes intimidating, but much like flipping your first pancake, it's all about practice. And don't toss your imperfections. The ingenuity of all the layers means any holes or tears will be covered up. Otherwise, gobble it down for a quick snack.
After assembly, the cake takes another nap in the fridge to meld the layers together. This is crucial to allow the crepes to slightly absorb the filling and the cake to firm up, allowing for a clean slice.
What does it taste like?
This recipe is comprised of tender crepes infused with sweet, delicate notes of Earl Grey tea paired with refreshing citrus and rich mascarpone. So elegant, yet delightful that you might even think you're enjoying a slice on the set of Bridgerton. That said, if you want to tone down the flavors or simply don't like Earl Grey tea, you can easily omit it or swap in whatever flavors you're craving—cocoa, caramel, espresso, coconut, and fruit all work well.
"This not-too-sweet cake tasted very elegant with the delicate flavors of Earl Grey tea and orange. I made 25 crepes but used only 20 since I wanted to have some filling left over to decorate the top. You could, however, use all the filling and crepes and dust the top with confectioners' sugar instead." —Young Sun Huh
For the Crepes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups milk
For the Filling
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone, or softened cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest, more as needed
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Berries, for garnish, optional
Toasted nuts, for garnish, optional
Steps to Make It
Make the Crepes
Gather the ingredients.
Add the butter, eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar, salt, tea leaves, water, and milk to a blender. Blend on high until smooth and a bit frothy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides to ensure all the flour is incorporated.
Either leave the batter in the blender or transfer to a large container and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. This rest period allows the air bubbles to subside and the gluten to relax.
Heat a 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Whisk the batter to reincorporate the ingredients. Once the skillet is hot, use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the skillet, tilting and swirling the skillet as you add the batter so that a thin layer coats the bottom of the skillet.
Cook until bubbles form on the surface of the crepe, and the edges are set and slightly browned, about 1 minute.
Slide an offset spatula around the edges and use a spatula or your fingers to flip the crepe. Continue to cook until completely set and golden brown, about 30 more seconds. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and repeat with remaining batter. If desired, separate crepes with parchment to prevent sticking.
You should aim to make about 20 to 25 crepes. There should be enough extra batter in case you end up with any mistakes. Cool the crepes while you make the filling.
Make the Filling & Assemble
Gather the ingredients.
Combine the heavy cream and mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (alternatively, you can use a large bowl with an electric hand mixer). Beat on low just until combined, then increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.
Slowly, add the confectioners' sugar and continue to beat on low speed until combined. Add the orange zest and juice. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 more minutes. Taste the filling and adjust with additional zest, if desired.
To assemble the cake, place one of the crepes on a flat serving dish or cake platter. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the mascarpone cream filling over the crepe in an even layer all the way to the edge. Lay the next crepe over top and repeat the process until you lay the final crepe on top (make sure you save your prettiest crepe for this).
Loosely cover the cake in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. (Store the extra mascarpone cream filling in an airtight container in the fridge and reserve for serving.)
Once the cake is chilled, spread the extra mascarpone cream filling over the top, creating decorative swirls. Sprinkle with additional citrus zest, then top with berries and toasted nuts, if desired.
- You can use a whisk to blend the batter ingredients, but you will need to be vigilant to make sure the batter is thoroughly mixed and there are no flour pockets.
- Resting the batter is crucial for the right texture and makes it easier to cook the crepes. The starch in the flour will absorb the liquid to make a more viscous batter.
- Use a NONSTICK skillet. There's no need to grease in between batches and it makes flipping the crepes so much easier.
- Spread the whipped filling all the way to the edges to seal the crepes together.
- Save your prettiest crepe for the top as this will be the most visible.
- You can use a non-dairy milk, but note that certain alternative milks may alter the flavor.
- Top the cake with a quick meringue and torch it for the ultimate wow factor.
- You can use any kind of citrus in place of the orange zest, like Meyer lemon, lime, or blood orange.
- If you want to use different spices instead of the Earl Grey tea, try: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, or even a pumpkin pie spice blend.
Some options for toppings, mix-ins, and flavors include:
- Toasted nuts
- Toasted coconut
- Crushed cookies
- Cookie Butter
- Dulce de leche or caramel
- Bananas or strawberries
How to Store
- You can make the crepe batter up to 2 days in advance of cooking the crepes. Store in an airtight container. However, don't be tempted to cook the crepes ahead of time and store them separately in the fridge—they will lose their tenderness and won't meld properly with the cream filling.
- Store any leftover crepe cake covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- If making ahead, assemble the crepe cake without the topping or any garnishes, wrap, and store in the fridge. Top with any decorations just before serving.
- The assembled cake does not freeze well, as the whipped filling will weep while thawing.