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?
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.
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.
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.
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
Makes about 30 crêpes.
Gluten-free flour blend~
162 grams superfine white rice flour
54 grams potato starch
29 grams tapioca starch
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.
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.