- Prep Time: 90 minutes (+1 hour rest)
- Cook Time: 30 minutes (for crepes)
- Servings: 1 10-inch (25-cm) cake
Rich, chocolate buttercream layered between feathery-light crepes makes a winning combo.
- Place the first six ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until the consistency of cream. If using a whisk, strain batter to make sure all lumps are eliminated.
- Allow to rest for 1 hour or overnight. You may need to thin the mixture slightly the following day by adding 1 to 2 tsp of milk or water.
- Have everything set up before making the crepes: Place a 10-inch (25-cm) fry pan over low heat so it will heat evenly while you prepare the batter. Place crepe batter on one side of the pan, along with a ladle or ¼-cup measure, and a plate on the other side to receive cooked crepes. Have butter and a brush ready. The most important thing when making crepes is to attain the right heat, which happens while cooking the first 2 to 3 crepes — these are for the cook to eat, not for the cake!
- Raise heat to medium. Brush pan lightly with butter, then ladle in ¼ cup of batter, swirling the pan in a clockwise motion to coat. The batter should set almost immediately as you swirl. Once coated, place pan back on heat and allow to cook for another 30 seconds. Then, using a spatula and lifting a slightly browned edge, flip the crepe over and allow to cook for another 30 seconds. The crepe should have brown ridges across it but not be fully browned and crisp. Turn out onto the plate and continue with remaining batter until it is finished or you have about 30 crepes. They can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
Espresso Chocolate Buttercream
- To melt chocolate bars, break them apart by hand and place in a heatproof bowl.
- Microwave in increments, about 15 seconds at a time, until melted, stirring gently each time. The chocolate should be warm, not hot. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until soft and slightly fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add cooled chocolate and mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add icing sugar, ½ cup at a time and, in between, add cooled espresso. Depending on humidity, buttercream will take more or less sugar. The consistency should be stiff but not thick and should hold up but not feel heavy. If you add too much, simply add 1 to 2 tsp of milk or coffee to thin slightly.
- Stir in coffee liqueur if desired. Keep any unused frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
- Put 1 inch of water in a medium pot and bring to a simmer.
- Place sugar, cream, chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over the water to gently warm the ingredients. The bowl should fit snuggly over the pot (alternatively, use a double boiler). Let ingredients melt and combine without stirring for 10 to 12 minutes. The sugar should be fully dissolved or the sauce will have a granular texture.
- Stir in espresso or espresso powder until well combined. Allow to cool slightly before using, or keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and warm before using.
- Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, cover with a thin layer of chocolate espresso buttercream (2 to 3 tbsp), leaving a ¼-inch border. Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 30, with the best-looking crepe on top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, warm chocolate ganache to a nice pouring consistency and pour over the top in front of guests. Alternatively, pour sauce over beforehand and let it set slightly in the fridge. There will be extra sauce to dollop over each slice when serving. As an additional garnish, you can use freshly whipped cream and chopped nuts.
Maître Chocolatier Tip
Tempering is the method of melting chocolate that prevents cocoa oils from separating while encouraging a smooth, glossy texture.