Nutella Crepe Cake

It was my good friend Abdul’s birthday, and I knew exactly what cake I wanted to make for him. Is that because we started discussing cake ideas over a month ago? Maybe…Regardless, this Nutella Crepe Cake had his name written all over it! I gathered my ingredients for this colossal cake and began:

Crepes:

-1/4 cup water

-1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra to melt in pan

-8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped finely

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

-1/3 cup sugar

-1/2 tsp salt

-2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

-6 large eggs room temperature

-1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Nutella Cream Filling:

-2 1/3 cups heavy cream

-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

-1 13-oz jar Nutella at room temperature, divided use

-1/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel, or zest of 1 orange (optional)

Chocolate Glaze:

-1 1/4 cups heavy cream

-1 Tbsp light corn syrup

-10 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

-pinch of salt

-1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts (garnish)

I began by making the crepes. The best part of this recipe is that you can make these ahead of time! Since it takes about 32 crepes, this part of the process can be time consuming. You can always make these a couple nights before (let the batter sit overnight) to make the process a little more manageable.

I began by bringing a quarter of a  cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. I then added the butter, 1 piece at a time, and whisked the mixture to combine thoroughly after each addition. Once all the butter was added, I removed this mixture from heat, and stirred in chocolate until it was completely melted.

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I then set this aside and whisked together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. In as separate bowl, I whisked together the milk, eggs, and vanilla. I gradually added the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and whisked until it was smooth. The last step was to add the chocolate-butter mixture. I poured this mixture through a sieve into an airtight container to discard lumps, and refrigerated the mixture (at least 2 hours) overnight.

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The next evening I made the crepes. I coated a nonstick skillet (use a crepe pan if you have one) with melted butter. It’s a bit harder to make uniformed crepes in a non-stick skillet, but it is possible. I heated the pan to a medium heat, and then removed the pan from heat. I poured about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan, and swirled it around to cover the bottom. I then returned the pan to heat, let this cook until the edges were golden (about 30 seconds per side), and flipped the crepe to cooked the other side.

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After I made each crepe, I slid them onto a plate. I repeated the above process until I had used all the batter, coating pan with butter as needed. I covered my crepes and refrigerated them until they were cool.

Then I made the Nutella Cream, and assembled the cake. Using an ice cold bowl that had been thoroughly chilled in my freezer, I whipped up the heavy cream with my hand mixer for 5-7 minutes (until stiff peaks form). I then gently folded in the Nutella, cocoa, and orange zest until they were fully incorporated.  The orange zest is an optional ingredient, but the hint of orange really brightens the flavor of the cake, and pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate glaze. I highly recommend adding the zest! Plus, you can snack on the orange after you zest it…it’s a win-win situation in my mind.

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I began the assembly. I built the cake on the tray I intended to serve it on, and spread each layer of crepe with about 2 tablespoons of the Nutella cream. I repeated this process until I had used all of my crepes (I made 30), ending with a crepe on top. I let this set in the fridge until it was firm, which took about 15 minutes.

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Then it was time for that rich, smooth, chocolate glaze. To make it, I brought the cream, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a medium-heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. I then removed the mixture from heat and added the chocolate. I swirled the pan to cover the chocolate pieces completely with cream, and let this stand about 5 minutes. I then stirred until the glaze was smooth, and let it cool.

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Once my glaze was completely cooled, I spooned 1/2 cup of glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. I spread the remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating it completely. I garnished the top with the toasted, candied hazelnuts.

I cut the cake immediately, because all of my friends were eager to try it, but I HIGHLY recommend letting this sit in the fridge until the the cake has set  (about an hour). It was very difficult to cut, and slid all over the place when I served it. For presentation and logistical purposes, this cake should be thoroughly chilled.

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It tasted just as good as it looked! It had a rich, smooth texture that had me going back for a second piece. This cake took a bit of extra work, but by spreading the process out over a few days, it’s much more manageable. I couldn’t have been more please with how it turned out, and I think Abdul would agree with me 😀

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