Serious Eats: Sweets
Bake the Book: Crêpe Cake
According to Keller, this is the easiest recipe in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. It's also one of the most fun. Toasty vanilla crêpes sandwich layer upon layer of thick, orange-zested pastry cream.
Tips: The filling for this multilayer cake is called diplomat cream. Diplomat cream, or crème diplomat, is the name given to a pastry cream thicker than whipped but thinner than your standard French pastry cream. In this case, you'll be using sheet gelatin for the thickening effect. The rule of thumb is, generally, 1 tablespoon of powdered gelatin to 4 sheets of gelatin. However, due to blooming ratios being unequal (that is, the thickening power of sheets versus powder), stick with the sheets. If you find yourself confused by "gold" and "silver" sheets, use either.
Tweaks: If you follow Keller's instructions to the letter, making this takes days. Use this timeline:
On Day 1, make the pastry cream. Refrigerate. While it chills, make the crêpe batter. Refrigerate, to leave overnight. Take out pastry cream (make sure at least 1 hour has passed) and assemble the orange diplomat cream. Refrigerate. Leave batter and cream overnight.
On Day 2, make crêpes and assemble cake. If you do this early, the assembled cake can be refrigerated "overnight" (aka the next 8 hours) and you'll have cake to eat that night.
Also, you don't have to make orange pastry cream. Substitute lemon for orange zest, or leave the zest out altogether for a simple sweet cream.
The recipe suggests assembling the cake on a plastic-wrapped 10-inch cardboard round. If you've never attempted stacking thirteen 10-inch crêpes on a 10-inch surface, use a larger plastic-wrapped tray or plate.
Get the Recipe
As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Bounchon Bakery to give away.