Crêpes Suzette Cake (gluten-free)

 

Once upon a time there was a girl who’d never made a crêpe.

This same girl also had a dream of one day making a cake made of crêpes.

An insurmountable dream?

I think not.

 

 

First off….. (before I get into the cake recipe) I wanted to apologize for my lack of blogging and absence from the interwebs. It has been a rough couple of months around here, and I just haven’t had it in me to blog about it all. Just writing about baked goods seemed too frivolous during a time of heartbreak and stress that surrounded our family and nearly drowned me.
My beautiful daughter has been battling some clinical depression, which ended up going further than it should have and has taken us to a place we never thought we’d be as a family. We have battled through many tears, sleepless nights, worry that had the heaviness of a thousand pounds on my chest, and just plain exhaustion.
I have also been avoiding writing anything about it on the blog, because sometimes mental illness comes with a crazy stigma, but I’ve recently realized that the support that comes along with sharing our story is worth way more than the worry about some silly stigma.
Our daughter is getting the help she needs, with the support of wonderful health care professionals from the Windsor Teen Health Center and from her wonderful husband and family. We are all working to heal and move forward.
Your love and prayers are always appreciated.

 

 

Ok, now to tell you about this crazy cake.
I was asked to do a guest post for Hanna’s Places that included the use of citrus fruit, and I decided that I needed to try my hand at using oranges. I have used so many lemons in the last year that I just couldn’t fathom even using another one for a guest blog post, and I do adore the orange, so that was that.
As my mind raced as I debated what to make with oranges, I decided that I needed to pull out all the stops and make a showstopper of a cake. Most of the cakes I make are of the ordinary kind, with a southern influence and a cake-lady kind of feel to them, but this time needed to be different. But, different how?
CRÊPES!!!
I have ALWAYS wanted to make a crêpe cake, and now was my chance.
About 8 years ago I purchased a beautiful french crêpes pan from Williams-Sonoma, which is actually the only thing I’ve ever bought from that wonderful store. I considered getting rid of my little french pan when we moved homes a year ago, but I vowed to eventually pull it out and try my hand at the delicate little pancakes.
With fear and trepidation I searched for the best gluten-free crêpes recipe I could find, pulled up my big-girl pants and embarked on a mission. To say that they were easy peasy is a grand understatement.
Making crêpes is SUPER DUPER easy!! I didn’t even break one! Go me!!

 

 

This recipe involves a few steps, so make sure to read through all the steps and see which ones you can do ahead of time with the schedule you have. You can easily makes the crêpes (gluten free or not) even weeks ahead of time, and the pastry cream can easily be made a few days before you assemble the cake. You can also make your orange slices and Grand Marnier sauce beforehand, and then just assemble the cake the morning you plan to serve it. There is no part of this recipe that is difficult, but it is a little time consuming with the several steps that need to be taken.

 

 

It’s time to make the pastry cream and the candied orange slices.
The custard will need to cool before you use it, and the orange slices will need to dry out a little after they are cooked.

Pastry Cream~
1 ¼ c whole milk
3 egg yolks
¼ c sugar
2 tbsp gf flour (see the recipe in the crêpe section below)
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
⅓ c powdered sugar

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and GF flour. In a medium saucepan whisk together the milk and the scraped vanilla pods and the seeds. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat, set aside and allow to steep for 1/2 hour. Bring the milk back to a simmer and then slowly pour into the egg yolks while whisking quite vigorously. Once you’ve whisked all the milk into the egg yolks, pour the entire mixture back into your saucepan and cook on low heat while stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding and coats the back of your spoon.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, discard the vanilla pods, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard to form a skin.
Chill until set, at least 2 hours.
This can be made a day or two in advance.
Once the custard has set and you’re ready to assemble the cake, beat the whipping cream and the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, and gently fold the whipped cream together with the custard. Use immediately.

Candied Oranges~
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 large navel orange, slice crosswise 1/8 inch thick
extra granulated sugar

In a large skillet heat the water and sugar until it boils. Add the orange slices and simmer over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the oranges are slightly translucent. About 20 minutes.
Set the oranges on a cooling rack set over parchment paper. Allow to cool.
Sprinkle both sides of the orange slices with generous amounts of granulated sugar. Allow to set.
Orange slices can be kept sealed in the fridge for up to a week.

Gluten-Free Crêpes~
5 cups xanthan-gum free Gluten-Free flour (recipe to follow)
1 tsp. salt
10 eggs, room temperature
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
zest of a large orange
7 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Add the butter and the eggs and whisk until well blended. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go, to make a thin batter.
For best results, make the batter and chill for a couple of hours before making the crêpes, even for a couple of days if needed.
Heat a crêpe pan (or another type of frying pan) and brush with melted butter. Pour 1/3 of a cup of batter onto the pan and tilt the pan to coat evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until the edges are crisp and the surface of the crêpe is set. Using an offset spatula gently flip the crêpe and cook for another 20-30 seconds.
Remove from the heat and place onto parchment paper.
With the remaining crêpes, cook them and then stack them with parchment paper in-between each one. 
You can make the crêpes ahead of time and then assemble the cake the following day, or freeze them and thaw them out later for use at another time.
 Allow the crêpes to
 cool.
Makes about 30 crêpes.

Gluten-free flour blend~
162 grams superfine white rice flour
54 grams potato starch
29 grams tapioca starch

Orange Butter:
1 lb butter unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 lemon, juiced
4 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Combine the butter, sugar, citrus juices, and zest to a small saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes until it reaches 180-200F, or until is slightly caramelizes. It should be a golden color. 
Remove from heat, add the Grand Marnier, return to the heat and continue to whisk and simmer for another 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Assembling the cake~

Place a crêpe on a cake board or cake plate and spoon 2 tbsp. of pastry cream onto it. Spread the cream thinly and cover with another crêpe. Repeat this process until you’ve used all the crêpes or all of the pastry cream. The top crêpe doesn’t get covered in pastry cream.
Cover and chill the cake for at least 2 hours, or overnight, until set.
Pour a generous amount of Orange Butter over the entire cake, allowing to drip down the sides. Decorate the top of the cake with the candied orange slices and sprinkle the entire cake with sifted icing sugar.

Slice and serve the cake, drizzling some more sauce over each piece.

(recipes adapted from Pineapple&Coconut, the Food Network, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring and Food&Wine)

Before I send you off with good wishes and salutations, I just wanted to let you know that I may have some good news coming up soon, if everything goes as planned. I am currently working with a local restaurant to put together a menu featuring some of my gluten-free desserts, and I also have a few other businesses looking to buy wholesale from me. I am also starting to look for a suitable commercial kitchen and retail space where I can meet the people of Windsor on a daily basis to serve up yummy treats, ice cream sandwiches and a cup of steaming hot chocolate.

I’ll keep you all posted.

 

 

Definitely, go you!! Oh my goodness there are not words. Such a lovely, beautiful post. I’m sorry you’ve been having such a rough go.. Difficulties of that nature are consuming, glad to hear things are on the mend. Hugs and prayers all around.. I can’t think of a better way to get back into the swing of things than with a cake like this.. Perfection.

Michele, just hopped on over after repinning your recipe from Maria (love her!) at Pinterest. Boy am I ever glad I clicked on thru to see ‘the face behind the blog’. I am completely enamored with your food work and photography! Stunningly beautiful. I love that you are a lover of black and white photography as well as cats as fur babies. :) (We have two Bombays, a boy and a girl.) Thanks ever so much for sharing. Sending lots of hugs and love as well as prayers your way for strength to get you, your daughter and your family through these tough emotional times. I look forward to reading future posts as I am now following your blog via Bloglovin’. Have a wonderful rest of the week! xo

Sending lots of positive vibes to Emilie and your family. She’s a lucky girl to have such a caring and loving family around her. Cake doesn’t fix everything, but it’s a good place to start. x

Kelly J

I am struck by your strength to keep going, support your daughter, and hang in there as a family. As a mental health professional, I know how hard this struggle is but you’re not alone. Thousand of families are in the same struggle. Hang in there. You’re doing good work. Your daughter is alive and will continue to win in this struggle. We ares ending you thoughts and prayers.

P.S. Love this recipe. I must try it. But that for another day.

So sorry to hear of your daughter’s illness but also glad to know that she’s doing better. Hope she gets well soon and you have only beautiful moments together.
And also I wanted to say that you have a wonderful blog and I love all your posts and photography. Thank you and have a nice day.

Michele, a slice would go so well with my breakfast coffee. It looks amazing!

I can’t believe you’ve never made a crepe before! I’m so glad your daughter is doing better. Sending possitive thoughts your way. The crepe cake is gorgeous.. I want to serve it for brunch!

Lacey Calhoun

Oh my God. This cake is beautiful. My mouth is watering!!!

I must tell that I gasped when I came across this photo (must have been Foodgawker). My daughter’s birthday is coming up and I just couldn’t nail a good dessert idea. She LOVES crepes. This simple but elegant crepe cake is right up her alley. I just had to tell you that you inspired me to make this for her this weekend. Thank you!

michele

Thanks so much for getting in touch and letting me know you’re excited to make my cake! Please let me know if you daughter loves it :)

Wow, I’m blown away by this cake!

jacquie

I have never understood the distinction between physical and mental illness. After all we are just people aren’t we and isn’t it all connected? but unfortunately there is a stigma attached. Depression is a long hard battle and yes it is a battle and can be life long. I’m glad to hear your daughter is receiving the help she needs. Having the help of a loving and supportive family can make all the difference and so many of us do not. My thoughts are with you all.

What an absolutely gorgeous blog you have here. Your photographs are stunning! I am so sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through with your daughter. I know — firsthand — how difficult it is. I suffered through severe depression and anxiety all through my young adulthood. I hope that your daughter is doing alright and that your family is coming through all of this. It is such a painful thing to come through. However, there is so much hope and so much light on the other side of it. You are all in my thoughts & prayers. xo

– Dena @ livelovesimple.com

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