Happy Birthday Perky Pancake! We have reached the grand old age of 4! No longer a toddler, we are fast approaching our more mature childhood years. Where has the time gone?
Never liking to stray from tradition, we celebrated this momentous occasion with a pancake extravaganza. Having missed the Perky Pancake’s 3rd birthday last year though, it was high time this misdemeanour was made up for. Nothing else short of a Great British Bake Off style showstopper of a pancake would do. Enter the Nutella Crêpe Cake.
The French cousin of the humble pancake, the crêpe is a more elegant, slimmer, more refined take on the thin, flat cake of batter known as a pancake. When stacked up with layers of Nutella cream and topped off with a good drizzle of ganache and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts, a thing of beauty emerges. A crêpe cake.
Now I’m not going to lie; the production of a crêpe cake is a lot more work than the production of a “normal” cake. Hands on time is high. There’s no popping it into the oven, putting your feet up for half and hour and then enjoying the fruits of your labours. This is stand over the stove and produce 30+ crêpes stuff. I feel hot just thinking about it.
That said, plus points come from the fact you can make this in advance and that, once cut into, it is a thing of beauty. Whilst it may not look completely stunning as a whole (some craggy edges and slight wonkiness – think leaning tower of crêpe), it is perfect once served up, perhaps along side a dollop of cream and a few strawberries.
So please join us for a slice of cake and a rendition of “happy birthday”! Happy weekend all!
Nutella Crêpe Cake
Adapted from The Kitchn’s “How To Make Nutella Crêpe Cake”
For the crêpes: (makes around 36; you need 30)
400g plain flour
3 tablespoons caster sugar
800ml milk (whole/full fat is best)
8 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60g butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the filling:
450g butter, at room temperature
225g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
400g Nutella (1 jar)
125g double cream
For the topping:
100g double cream
100g dark chocolate (minimum 55% cocoa solids)
Handful blanched hazelnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
You will need a 20cm frying pan and to prepare 38 squares parchment paper (as big as the crêpes) and lots of cling film.
To make the batter:
- In a free-standing mixer with the paddle attachment or using a blender or hand-held whisk, blitz together the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk. Once frothy and all well combined, slowly pour in the butter, mixing all the time. Transfer to a large jug or bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to cook the crêpes, heat the frying pan over a medium heat. Brush with a very small amount of oil or butter (literally enough to form a light film over the base). Pour 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of the batter into the pan and quickly tilt the pan to ensure the whole base is covered. The neater you get your crêpe the better for the aesthetics of your cake. Don’t worry though; the first few are always a disaster so you can keep these in reserve rather than use them.
- Cook the crêpe for 1 minute on the first side. You can see when it’s ready to flip when there is no wet batter and the crêpe has started to lift from the edges very slightly. Using a spatula and your fingers to help, lift up the crêpe gently and flip it over.
- Cook for a further 45 seconds-1 minute on the other side until lightly speckled with brown spots and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with 1 square of parchment and cover with a second piece of parchment to prevent the crêpe drying out.
- Repeat with the rest of the mixture, stacking up all the crêpes. Once all cooked, top with a final piece of parchment, cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour until chilled.
To make the filling:
- In a free-standing mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand-held whisk, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy (around 2 minutes). Add the vanilla extract and Nutella and mix well until no streaks of Nutella are visible. Finally add the cream and beat at high speed for around 3 minutes until it is light in colour, fluffy and easy to spread. Set aside.
To make the ganache:
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until small bubbles appear at the edges of the pan – don’t allow it to boil. Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and pour the cream over the top. Let sit for a minute or so then stir together until you have a silky smooth chocolate ganache.
To assemble the cake:
- Once the crêpes have chilled down, you can begin to assemble the cake. Place your first crêpe on a serving plate and spoon over 2 generous tablespoons of filling. Spread the filling evenly over the crêpe, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Repeat with the next 20 crêpes. For the next 5, leave a 1/2cm border around the edge when applying the filling. For the final 4 crêpes, leave no border. Leave the final crêpe with no filling on top.
- Wrap with cling film and place in the fridge for an hour to chill and allow the filling to firm up.
- Once chilled, pour over the ganache, spread down the sides if you wish and top with the hazelnuts. Return to the fridge for an hour or until ready to serve, wrapping the cake in cling film again once the ganache has set.
- To serve, run a long-bladed sharp knife until hot water, dry, then cut through the cake confidently! Enjoy.