40 Layers of Crepes

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It isn't every day that I decide to take on Martha Stewart. Her recipes and her projects require quite bit of patience, diligence, concentration and attention to detail. While I can be all that (and more), it has to be for something special and interesting. And that's exactly how I felt - surprised and interested - when I came across her Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake. I had read about crepe cakes being the new trend in wedding cakes and have lusted for New York's own Lady M Confections. So, I decided to make this elegant cake and take it as a gift to a dinner party we were invited to last weekend.
Martha has a step by step video of how to make the crepes but being a realistic (and self aware), I wanted to use ready-made crepes. Who has the time to make 30-40 paper thin crepes? Not to mention, I knew the first two batches would be a write off so by the time I got around to the third batch, the cake would become rather time consuming and expensive. So I bought my crepes. First, I made the hazelnut filling. It is a nutty and airy cream that melts in your mouth. Quite buttery (well, there is quite a bit of butter in it). I would have liked it to be a little thicker and a little more nutty but it was delicious. Recipe is here. It wasn't too much effort and actually tasted like professional pastry cream.

Once the filling was made, I started to build the cake. This is a very therapeutic exercise. Layer by layer, sheet by sheet, I covered 40 (that's 4 packages) of crepes. While I had time to think about life, I also had the occasional, "why the hell am I doing this!" thought. Especially around the first 25 layers... the stack was quite short and didn't look like I was getting anywhere with it. But, when I reached layer 40... I felt great satisfaction and pride... Wow. Look at that cake!

Beautiful right? I left the cake to rest and firm up in the fridge. Next, it was time to make the chocolate glaze. Recipe is here. Watching chocolate melt is one of my favourite things to do in the whole wide world, it brings me so much joy. I covered the cake in the chocolate glaze and left it in the fridge to chill. Yes, I did try Martha's candied hazelnuts but what I ended up with looked absolutely nothing like the lovely hazelnuts that adorn the top of her cake. Instead, I went with a plain (less showy) decoration.

We were so excited and eager to cut the cake on Sunday that the minute dinner finished, we rushed to the kitchen to have a first taste. Mmmmmmmmmm. Very different. Layers of crepes, hazelnutty filling, chocolatey sweetness. It was yummy. We thought of some ways to improve the crepe cake... i.e. adding a layer of nuts or fruit and trying a chocolate sauce instead of a hazelnut filling. The Meyer Lemon cream filling is next on my list to try. Overall, this was a great first attempt.

This is such a unique dessert idea. I highly recommend you give this a try. If you want to use pre-packaged crepes, you can visit Yummy Russian Market in North Toronto . They have (amongst other things), a section of baked goods and a freezer full of crepes. Mmmm. I'd love a slice of cake with some coffee right about now ...


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