Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pretty on the Inside - Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake

Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed that last month I added a new logo to my side bar for the Daring Bakers. It's true; hell has frozen over and I was invited to join the baking club full of some of my favorite bloggers.

You may have seen it all start way back in November when Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Creampuffs in Venice joined forces to make pretzels. Their baking group grew monthly and in addition to the pretzels they've also tried their hands at biscotti, croissants, flourless chocolate cake and red velvet cake.

There are now 30 members, and this months' challenge, my first, was a particularly frightening one, chosen by Brilynn - Martha Stewart's Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake. Now go and take a look at that picture. Would you be at all surprised to learn that upon seeing that picture I turned to Scott and said "I can't do this!"?

Luckily Scott insisted that I give it a try. So I began to work on what is most certainly the most labor intensive recipe I have ever made before.

Day 1 - I make the crepe batter. As I had heard that some of the other DB's were having trouble with the crepes, I decided to chill the batter overnight, hoping somehow that would make it easier to work with.

Day 2 - It may have worked, as after two hours (!!!!!!) of standing at the stove I have 33 fairly presentable crepes of the same size. I am too sick of being in the kitchen to do anymore that night.

Day 3 - It's time to make the filling, the glaze and assemble the whole thing. Scott picks up takeout for dinner, and by the time he gets home I have the glaze cooling outside, the whipped cream chilling, and the filling almost complete. As I have never heard of Hazelnut Cream before, I substitute Nutella. Making the filling involves using my candy thermometer which I have owned for 6 years and never used before. The filling is incredibly delicious but so rich my eyes nearly pop out of my head. That doesn't stop me from continuing to sneak tastes though.

We start our tower, layering the filling between the crepes. About halfway through the filling I start to worry that we won't have enough filling for all the crepes. Scott goes into the fridge to get me a beverage (to keep up my strength!) and finds the whipped cream I forgot to mix into the filling.



Argh! We mix it in to the remaining filling and use up 29 crepes before the filling runs out. The edges of the crepes didn't get much filling on them so the outside of the cake is uneven and flimsy. We glaze it as best we can, then let it sit to set while we run out to buy strawberries. I don't want to push my luck by trying to make the candied hazelnuts on top of Martha's cake.


We fling some berries on to decorate the cake and then can't wait any longer. We cut a piece to try. It is good, quite good, but incredibly rich. The two of us are not able to finish the piece.



I wrap up the cake and put it in the fridge.

Day 4 - The cake (which is so heavy! I should have weighed it.) and I go to work and we are stopped repeatedly in the halls and elevator by people looking at the cake. Two ladies from another floor ask if they can come up for coffee and I tell them where my office is. I have 11 cake testers that day and every one of them (including my boss!) really like it. Early the next morning the last piece was eaten by my co-worker. It was a success.

Thank you to all the Daring Bakers for allowing me to join your ranks, and a special thanks to Mary, Lis and Ivonne.

I can't wait to see what delicious challenge next month brings!

All the Daring Bakers who took part in this month's challenge are posting about the cake today, Sunday April 29. Please go and check them out.

27 comments:

gilly said...

Hi Sara! Great job on the cake! I love the idea of putting fresh berries on top - and the Nutella filling sounds heavenly! I'm glad to hear that everyone enjoyed it!

Rachel said...

That is so ambitious!

breadchick said...

Great job on your first challenge!! (Here the Mission Impossible theme in the backgroung?) The strawberries on top are a great contrast to the chocolate. Glad you joined us

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow. I'm loving our similarities and our differences as I read these all. It took me over 2 hours to cook all those crepes.
I never thought to use the filling to even the sides of the cake! And the strawberries are so perfect!

Marce said...

I agree with you on it being quite a pain in the you-know-what to make, and a bit too rich for my taste. But my testers love it as well, so it was all good in the end. I don´t want to see a damn crepe for a long while though!

Freya and Paul said...

I forgot the whipped cream too! There's so many things going on with this cake that you just have to make it over a few days and even then we still forgot something! I don't think the filling missed the cream too much though. Love the strawberries!

Helene said...

Look at that mound of sweet goodness! lovely addition of the berries on top!! pat on the back for completing the challenge!

Elle said...

Sara, So glad you accepted the challenge. You cake looks wonderful and the strawberries on top are a great contrast. Rich but delicious cake. Nice photos, too.

Laura said...

With one successful challenge under the belt the only way is up! Looks delicious (I ate loads of filling as I stacked too!)

Quellia said...

Great work Sara! Looks like you did a fine job!

Claudia said...

Love the strawberries! And it looks like alls weel that ends well, you had a happy bunch of testers. Awesome!

Ivonne said...

Sara,

I love the strawberries on top! And clearly great minds think alike because I also filled mine with Nutella! Well done!

Sher said...

I ran out of the filling much faster than you--so I think you did a great job. I love the way you decorated it with strawberries. This cake sure does make an impression on people, doesn't it? :)

valentina said...

Sara, your cake looks fabulous. I love the way you decorated it. The strawberries most certainly helped break the sweetness a bit. I havne't managed to finish my challenge. I gave up after many failed attempts to get the crepes right.

Peabody said...

At least your tasters liked it, mine sooo did not!
Great job.

Mary said...

I had a lot of filling left over. Judging from everyone's posts, I didn't use enough between each layer.

I agree that it was quite rich. I only had a couple bites. Must've been all that butter. :)

Lis said...

Now that's a beautiful crepe cake! I love the addition of the strawberries - this cake needs something to cut the sweetness a bit. Not to mention they look gorgeous on top!

Thanks so much for joining us - I can't wait for upcoming challenges!

And thanks to Scott for helping too! hehe
xoxo

Mercedes said...

well done!

Brilynn said...

Great minds think alike- the strawberries on top are a nice touch!

Meeta said...

Sara, it's true the cake was really heavy! I love the strawberries here too. Wonderful!

Glenna said...

Really nice. Man, that recipe was hard. Love that you took it to work. That's a nice treat for everyone.

veron said...

Yours look so luscious! I like the picture of the cream coming out from the sides.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Sara, those are lucky, lucky cake testers - it looks superb! I loved it that you used strawberries - I'm such a coward, following the recipe without changing a thing.
Beautiful!

Columbus Foodie said...

Mmm..chocolate and strawberries. Excellent idea for a substituion. And if it passed the coworker taste test, you know it's a winner. No thanks to Martha, of course. ;)

Canadian Baker said...

I love that you used strawberries - very summery! Good job!

Sara said...

Wow, so many comments! Thanks to all of you for stopping by to check out my post.

Jenny said...

This looks really pretty!

I might bow out of my first DB challenge - this months is a little overwhelming for me. :)