*Does a little dance* So a funny little thing happened to my co-worker KJ over Christmas. She had a wish list on Amazon and one of the items was Smitten Kitchen's cookbook. Much to her surprise, she received two copies over the holiday. See what happened was one of her aunt's had it in her shopping cart and continued browsing for her other nieces and nephews. At that same moment, another aunt went online and saw that the book was still on KJ's wish list. Apparently, an item does not become unavailable if it's in another person's cart. Woops!
Much to my surprise, she bestowed the second copy as a gift. Thanks again KJ- you're always so kind and give the warm fuzzies! It's no secret that I'm a lover of Smitten Kitchen. I never knew about food blogs until my sister sent me two links requesting recipes from her site. The results were so impressive, I became a regular
I wanted my first confection to be a thank you for the book... but I jumped the gun. Mike saw the Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake and immediately commenced salivating. How convenient it was our friend's birthday weekend. Twist my arm why don'tcha!
Should you decide to make this cake, I strongly recommend making the crepe mixture (in a blender) and hazelnut filling the night before. Both elements require chill time. Plus, you're going to need the extra time to make all the crepes. I used a single 9 inch skillet and timed the crepe making: 1 hour to make over 16 crepes. That's about 1 crepe for every 3 minutes. To save time, I started building the crepe tower at about the 15 minute mark so it was slowly rising as new crepes cooled down.
One cheat that I loved was to use a tiny 9 inch skillet. 1/4 cup batter is the perfect amount to make a perfectly round crepe without any hassle Keep adding butter as you go so it doesn't have the chance to stick. As Deb says in her book, don't worry if the first few aren't perfect. There is a TON of batter and you will have a few left over in the end.
My favorite thing about this cake's aesthetic is the ganache. Heaven help me I love ganache! We were introduced by Smitten's perfect chocolate cake recipe. It is great to work with because it's merciful and malleable. It has this amazing sheen and slowly solidifys into a sturdy coat of delicious.
The end result is a stunning and posh dessert fit for royalty. It's an impressive structure that will no doubt break necks of those passing by.
As for the taste, it is exactly what it proclaims to be- a chocolate hazelnut crepe cake. Good heavens it's rich. You have to eat this in very small slices least you be overwhelmed with its decadence. If you're a hazelnut fan (hate to break it to you, hazelnut is not nutella), then you will love this cake. It's fun to eat because you slowly get to attack layer by layer!
However... I have to be honest about taste buds.
What do you get when you stack a bunch of crepes on top of one another?
For me... it was a monstrous pancake. I wanted to push the ganache to the side and grab an equally monstrous bottle of maple syrup. It was very difficult not to think of breakfast as I ate this cake. All you needed was a side of eggs. That's my personal issue though. It's mighty yummy.
All that matters is this man knew that he was loved... in cake form. Happy Birthday Young! You are wonderful and I am grateful that we are still friends, years after college.
One of my favorite moments we shared was right before our 2006 culture show in college. Yes, the silly picture above is from that night. I told him we found the bamboo used in the show by a local abandoned house. He immediately teased that it was a haunted house thus I was cursed to trip in all my performances. I shot back with a, "gee thanks" kind of look and he said, "don't worry, I'll catch you." Now that's a real friend.
For the full recipe, make the investment and purchase the Smitten Kitchen cook book!
I love how it's written, you really can hear Deb talking to you in the kitchen. The pictures are big and beautiful. I had a small chuckle when I saw her trademark counter tops in the shots. I appreciate that she's no manic food stylist or food porn junky. Seriously... it may look beautiful but it's not practical. It's just over the top sometimes. Thank you Deb for keeping it real.