I’m putting pumpkin on the shelf (good riddance!) and getting down with all things Christmas. Peppermint, gingerbread and eggnog flavored treats are coming out of my kitchen like they are about to go out of style. Which in fact they are. Because in about a month those flavors will be long gone and nearly forgotten about until next year. We’ve got to hurry up and get our fix now while the getting is good. So when Lindsay announced that the November Kitchen Challenge was “crêpe cakes”, I knew a White Chocolate and Peppermint Crêpe Cake would be the perfect way to kick off this Christmas baking season.
I’m going to go ahead and proclaim that crêpe cakes are my new favorite cake to make. Bold statement, I know. Especially considering that this was my first attempt at making a crêpe cake. But I’m completely sold on the idea. Yes, they can be a bit time consuming to prepare and assemble. But just look at how gorgeous that cake is! I am in love with the frilly little edges and the delicate layers. And any cake that is that good looking without excessive frosting or decorations is a total WIN in my book. I have minimal (that’s being generous) cake decorating skills. I can never get my frosting to be smooth enough. And don’t even ask me to make a flower or write a birthday message on a cake. I’ll instantly break out in a sweat. And nobody wants a sweaty cake.
A crêpe cake solves all my lack-of-cake-decorating-skills problems. It’s stunning naked. We should all be so lucky…
Making crêpes isn’t that tricky once you get the hang of the wrist action and the flip. The first couple crêpes you make will inevitably be duds, but that’s totally OK and normal. Have no fear because this recipe makes enough crêpes that you can spare a couple (you’ll want 18-20 crêpes for an impressive looking cake). And really, only the top layer needs to be perfect. You can hide any disfigured or torn crêpes in the middle of the cake. It’s our secret!
If you are looking for a marathon kitchen session, you can certainly prepare this whole cake in a single day. But I split the work into two days. I made the white chocolate whipped cream and the pastry cream on the first day. Then made the crêpes and assembled the cake on the second day. And don’t forget to leave time for the crêpe cake to rest before slicing to ensure that you get those fabulous looking layers!
Recipes adapted from Yossy Arefi and Alice Medrich via Food52
White Chocolate and Peppermint Crêpe Cake
- For the White Chocolate Whipped Cream
- 8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2 tsp. peppermint extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- For the Pastry Cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. peppermint extract
- For the Crêpes
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 3 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Butter for greasing the pan
- For Garnish
- Peppermint candies, chopped
- White chocolate, chopped
- Confectioners sugar
- Make the whipped cream. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and the water to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 30-60 seconds. Then stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the peppermint extract and the salt. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Once chilled, whip the cream on medium-high speed in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the pastry cream. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt. The mixture will be clumpy at first, but keep whisking until it’s light yellow and the ingredients are well combined. Set aside. In a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until it just starts to simmer. Then temper the egg-mixture by slowly whisking the warm milk into the egg-mixture. Return the tempered egg-mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously. Once the mixture starts to bubble, it will become thick within 1-2 minutes. Once thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the extracts. Strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap all the way down to the surface of the pastry cream, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
- Make the crêpe batter. Add all of the ingredients, expect the butter for greasing the fry pan, to your blender. Blend on high for 20-30 seconds. Then stop and scrape down the sides of the blender. Blend for an additional 20-30 seconds. The batter should be well combined and free of lumps. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Make the crêpes. Remove the crêpe batter from your refrigerator and whisk it gently. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it’s too thick, whisk in a small amount of whole milk to thin it slightly. Heat a 9-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and very lightly grease it with butter. Pour a scant 1/3 cup of batter into the fry pan while simultaneously swirling and tilting the pan so the batter coats the bottom of the pan evenly. Cook until the edges begin to turn golden and lift away from the side of the pan, about 1 minute. Gently lift one side of the crêpe with a small spatula, then quickly and carefully flip the crêpe over using your fingers. Cook the crêpe for an additional 30 seconds. Remove the crêpe and place is on a large plate. Continue with the rest of the batter until all the crêpes are cooked, stacking the crêpes on the plate as they are cooked, greasing the pan with butter as necessary (You should be able to cook about 4-5 crêpes before needing to re-grease the pan). Once all the crêpes are cooked, cover the stack with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cooled. You should have about 20-24 crêpes.
- Assemble the cake. Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream. Place one crêpe on a serving plate and spread a couple tablespoons of the filling on top, leaving about 1/2-inch border around the edge. Layer another crêpe on top, repeating the layers until all the crêpes and the filling have been used up, and finishing the top of the cake with the filling. Carefully transfer the crêpe cake to your refrigerator and allow it to rest for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Before serving, sprinkle the top of the crêpe cake with the chopped peppermint candies and white chocolate, if desired. Dust with confectioners sugar. Slice and serve.