Crepe Cake with Butterscotch Cream
Mille Crêpe, also known as Gâteau de Crêpe, is a multi-layered cake made out of crêpes. I spread layers of butterscotch buttercream in between each crêpe and topped the cake with thinly-sliced candied apples. This is quite time-consuming to make in miniature versions, but you can always make large crêpes and cut the cake into slices as you would with regular buttercream cakes.
I made the cake in honor of La chandeleur (Candlemas), which is celebrated on February 2nd. It's originally a Christian tradition that celebrates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple and also marks the end of the Epiphany season (Kings' galettes are made). I don't exactly know how crêpes became part of the French celebration of La Chandeleur, but I do know that they are an integral part of the festivities. There is a legend that says that on the day of La Chandeleur, if you're able to flip a crêpe and make it land properly (without it being wrinkled) in the pan without dropping it on the floor, you'll have a prosperous year. Originally, prosperity referred to a bumper crop of grain, but with fewer and fewer people farming for a living, over time it's come to imply general wealth. In a way it's an enduring testament to the agrarian culture of yore. That culture has survived in other ways too; in fact the saying avoir beaucoup de blé, which literally means "To have a lot of wheat", is slang for "being wealthy".
If you want to practice, prepare the crêpe batter a couple of days in advance, cook a few, and try to flip them. It may not fill your pocketbook, but it's a great way to fill your tummy.
Yields: 6 servingscrêpe batter, check out the recipe on the link
2 Fuji apples
juice of a lemon, freshly squeezed
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1- ½ sticks), + extra for greasing the pan
4 ounces butterscotch baking morsels, 3/4 cup
1 teaspoon imitation rum extract (see tips)
1/3 cup heavy cream, cold
Grease a hot crêpe pan or any flat pan (I used a mini egg fry pan) with about ½ to 1 teaspoon of melted butter using a silicone brush. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the batter in the center of the pan. Lift the pan, then tilt and rotate it until the batter is evenly spread and forms a nice thin disk. Place it back on the stove. It should start bubbling after a few seconds. Leave it alone, don't touch it!
The crêpe batter should cook for about a minute before it's time to flip. When the edges look dry and start separating from the pan, take a small angled spatula and lift around the crêpe. Flip the crêpe and cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Repeat until all the batter is used. Set aside.
Whipping the cream:
Always make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whipping cream for optimum results. The whipping cream should be whipped cold. Whisk the heavy cream for about 2 minutes at low speed. Add 1/3 cup of powdered sugar; increase the speed of your mixer and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes until it forms soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the texture will become grainy. Reserve the whipped cream in a bowl and chill it in the refrigerator.
For the butterscotch rum buttercream:
For the butterscotch morsels, place a pot filled with hot water (at a gentle simmer), topped with a piece of cloth so the bowl does not move and place a stainless-steel bowl filled with the butterscotch chips on top. Stir until melted (see tips). Turn off the heat. Another option is to heat the butterscotch for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. Watch the butterscotch carefully; it could burn easily in the microwave!
The butter should be at room temperature. In a bowl, cream the butter with 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. Add the melted butterscotch and rum extract (1 teaspoon).
Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the chilled whipped cream into the butterscotch mixture to get an airy cream. Set aside.
Prepping the apples:
Mix the rest of the powdered sugar with ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Coat them with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. On a sheet of parchment paper, draw 5-inch diameter circles the same size as the crêpe rounds with a pencil. Flip the sheet of paper and line a baking sheet with it. Brush with a thin layer of oil. Fill the circles with the apples forming a pretty flower shape by fanning the slices. Dust the top with the cinnamon and powdered sugar mix. Let stand for about 5 minutes and sprinkle one more time with the cinnamon mixture. Place the tray in the oven and broil for about 7 minutes (depending on your oven). Allow to cool.
Line up the individual serving plates.
Place a crêpe on a plate. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of butterscotch cream and spread the filling onto the crêpe , using an icing spatula, stopping ½ inch from the edge of the crêpe (the filling will spread eventually). Place another crêpe on top and gently press to make the filling visible. Repeat until 7 other layers of crêpe are stacked. Move on to the next plates, repeating the same procedure.
Once the apple slices are cool enough to handle, transfer to the top of the crêpes using a flat spatula. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve at room temperature.
The longer you let the crêpe batter rest, the better. It will still be good after 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
My secret for perfect crêpe batter is to melt the butter with the milk beforehand. Let the mix cool completely, then add the rest of the ingredients.
If you want to make the dessert egg-free, just omit the eggs in the crêpe batter but you might want to adjust the milk and flour ratio. I'll post the recipe soon.
The first crêpe is never perfect. You might want to thin the batter with milk if the crêpe turns out too thick.
The best spatula to flip crêpes is the one from Ikea. It's small, flat, heat resistant and gentle on non-stick pans. And it's inexpensive .
I used the same mini fry pan for making croque-Madame. It's a 5-inch diameter non-stick pan and it's very easy to clean. You can also make large crêpes and make the small crêpe disks using a circle cutter if you want to serve them as individual servings.
As I said earlier in the description, making mini crêpes took a very long time. The kitchen turned into a "mini" crepe factory; I used 2 mini fry pans at a time and flipped the crêpes when they were ready.
Cake icing tips: Make sure not to overfill the crêpe with the filling. Just spoon a mound of butterscotch cream on top of the crêpe and spread the filling using an icing spatula by creating circular motions until you almost reach the edge.
If you want to make an adult version, you could add 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier or Calvados to the buttercream mixture, instead of rum extract.
Sifting the powdered sugar helps to get rid of unpleasant lumps of sugar in the buttercream and also to aerate the mixture when whipped cream is added.
Tempering white chocolate (butterscotch in this case) is always very tricky for me; the safest way to get the right temperature is to use a digital thermometer. The melting temperature for white chocolate should be between 113 and 118°F. Let the chocolate cool down to 84°F and add the mixture to the creamed butter. Once the temperature reaches 78-80°F, fold in the whipped cream.
For the mini-version, I sliced the apples using a mandoline. If you're making the large version, cutting thin wedges with a paring knife is fine. I used the same method for garnishing an apple cranberry sponge cake in the past.
You could also use any other fruits such as berries to garnish the top of the cake. Use what's in season that you have on hand.
If you're interested in making a savory ethnic version, check out my banh xeo recipe; it's a Vietnamese-style crêpe.Published By: on January 28, 2010.