Tiramisu Crepe Cake

The Finished Cake

Imagine a cloud. Now imagine a cloud that dissolves in your mouth leaving behind whiffs of vanilla, coffee and chocolate, impossibly decadent and light at the same time. Excited yet? I was too.

A mascarpone cloud

Crepe cakes – literally crepes stacked one over the other with a filling binding the layers – have been around for ages and can be found in several modern-day incarnations. The inspiration for this cake first came from this beautiful picture from Martha Stewart’s site. However, for some absolutely unexplainable reason, I was not interested in a chocolate version (go figure!) Subsequent obsessive searching for crepe cake recipes led to results which, though delicious, didn’t inspire enough to replicate. Not inspired by chocolate or hazelnut or vanilla pastry cream? What was wrong with me?

Lush mascarpone frosting

This story would have died a natural death had it not been for my favorite Italian restaurant, Julia Child and my inherent laziness.
@Favorite Italian restaurant – Yumm! I must make this tiramisu!
@Julia Child – “Do not attempt any dessert… unless you have ladyfingers of premium quality.”
@Inherent laziness – I don’t want to spend hours making what might ultimately be inferior ladyfingers and debase my dessert – yes, Julia certainly doesn’t mince her words!

And then voila! Inspiration struck and I decided to combine the best of what France and Italy had to offer. A tiramisu crepe cake! Excited like a kid who’s just been introduced to his first bike, I couldn’t wait to get started. But such things take time, especially if you’re talking about a cake that is essentially going to be 20 layers!

I started with the crepes. Now some people are afraid of crepes, but I’ve learned over time, that the trick with crepes is to have low expectations and show no fear! The batter is child’s play and after a little practice, the actual crepe-making becomes easier. The first crepe is always a dud and I always reserve this to snack on as I make the rest (ok fine, I do this even if it isn’t a dud). Batter in pan, swirl, brown, flip, remove – I had a rhythm going and soon enough, I had 20 golden crepes.

20 crepes for the layers

Next came the tiramisu part. No problem, I thought as I put together my ingredients. That is until I realized that the hand mixer was AWOL. I double-checked the recipe and sure enough, there it was – beat egg whites until stiff. Oh oh! Time to get friendly with this, my cousin D told me as she handed me the whisk. And so I did – you know how when you’re running on a treadmill, the minutes drag like hours and your legs are ready to disown you; this was kinda like that, only with my arm screaming for mercy instead. But I did it! If I had an Italian nonna, she’d be so proud of me!

Whipped cream by hand - so proud!

Now it was time for some fun and just rewards. Layer crepe, spread cream, grate chocolate, eat the bit that’s left at the end, repeat. (Sometimes annoying things like never being able to grate the last small portion of anything can have their benefits.)

Building the stacks

The cake was soon frosted, dressed up and ready to serve. My little experiment was a success!

So many gorgeous layers!

Purists might gun for my soul, but as my fork pierces through layers of delicately soft crepes, lush mascarpone cream and delightfully dark chocolate, I think my soul is already in heaven. Add coffee liqueur to the mix, and you’re not going to need any other pick-me-up (maybe, just a second helping). Bon Appétit!

Impromptu Cake Stand

Tiramisu Crepe Cake
Crepe recipe adapted from here, originally from The Joy of Cooking
Tiramisu recipe adapted from Epicurious

For the Crepes:
6 tablespoon (82.5 gm) butter
3 cups (720 ml) milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups (192 gm) flour
6 tablespoon (75 gm) sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoon (45 ml) Kahlua/Baileys/brandy (I used Kahlua)

For the Tiramisu (cream):
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup (150 gm) sugar
1 (8-oz/240 gm) container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (125 ml) chilled heavy cream
1/3 cup (75 ml or according to taste) Kahlua/Baileys/brandy (I used Kahlua)
3 oz (85 gm) dark chocolate (I used Lindt 60%)
pinch of salt

Make the crepes:
THE DAY BEFORE (I write this in caps because I usually miss this instruction, start off excited with a new recipe and 20 hungry guests showing up in 2 hours, only to discover that such-and-such needs to marinate/rest/relax for 6)
1. Brown the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, scraping the pan occasionally. (I usually stand over mine like a mother hen to ensure it doesn’t burn.) It’s done when it’s brown obviously, but the heady, nutty aroma should give you a clue that you’re getting there.
2. Heat the milk in another saucepan until it comes to a gentle simmer. Remove pan from heat and cool for 10 mins.
3. Dump eggs, flour (I sift mine directly into the jar), sugar, salt, liqueur into a blender and beat on medium speed just until you get a smooth batter. Add the milk and butter slowly and give that thing another whirl.
4. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. (This is so the gluten developed during beating can get time to relax.)

5. Take the batter out and allow it to come to room temperature.
6. Heat a 6-8 inch (whatever suits you) non-stick or seasoned pan. Brush the surface lightly with butter. (I brush my butter stick directly over the pan.) Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter and lift and swirl the pan quickly but gently so that the batter coats the pan evenly. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 min. Then loosen the edge with a knife, pick up the crepe with your fingers and flip it over. (Trust me, this is much easier than it sounds.) Cook the other side for about 10 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet/plate lined with parchment. The recipe says to repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes. I don’t know about the perfect, but you will get 20 crepes from the batter.

Make the tiramisu cream:
1. Beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar over a double boiler at medium speed until pale and think, about 2 mins. (Keep the heat gentle, we don’t want sweet scrambled eggs.) Keep aside to cool.
2. Clean the beaters (don’t be lazy here). Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt just until soft peaks form. 3. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time and beat just until stiff peaks begin to form.
4. Clean the beaters (I know!). Beat cream in another bowl just until soft peaks form.
5. Beat mascarpone and liqueur into the cooled egg yolk mixture just until combined.
6. Fold cream gently into the mixture, then fold in the egg whites.
7. Chill, covered, for 1-2 hours.

Assemble the cake:
1. Start with a crepe, spread a thin layer of mascarpone cream over (about 1 1/2 tablespoon) and finely grate chocolate over that. Repeat, finishing with the last crepe.
2. Chill layers and remaining cream for about an hour.
3. Frost the top and sides of the cake with remaining cream. Finely grate chocolate all over.
4. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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45 Responses to Tiramisu Crepe Cake

  1. Ashanka says:

    Wow!! speechless! this looks awesome! I’ll try this when I get time eventually. But may I say.. awesomeness!!

  2. drish says:

    amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing ^ 19! congrats!!

  3. Niya says:

    1. It blows my mind that you took those photographs in my house/backyard.
    2. I’m sorry I keep dissappearing w/ the hand blender every time you need it.
    3. Now I really regret not sampling the slice that was in the fridge this morning.

    • tiffintales says:

      1. Thanks. There’s not too much light in the kitchen; so I always end up in the backyard. Today was almost chased by your neighbor’s dog :)
      2. No worries. It builds muscles (and character).
      3. Made a raspberry tart today – you can sample that.

  4. Apeksha says:

    Hi Heena!
    Nice to come across your blog….

    Love this pairing! Crepes and tiramisu……two of my fav things!

  5. anabela pereira says:

    The look is perfect and delicious …

  6. Jia Hao says:

    Wow, this looks great!
    Do you have this recipe in metric measurements as i live in europe?

  7. haha. My mom just told me she would love this for mother’s day. Thanks for making the decision process for what I’m going to make for her easy!

  8. tiffintales says:

    Thank you so much everyone!
    Jia: I have updated the post with metric measurements. Enjoy!
    Katya: That’s great! I hope your mom enjoys it as much as I did. I’d start early; even though the individual steps are not complicated, it does take some time to come together.

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything this amazing!

  10. An original idea, pulled off with flair! It looks beautiful, and your description of it taste, texture and aroma make me want to reach through my screen…Theresa

    • tiffintales says:

      Thanks! Someone has to look into this reaching through the screen idea. I’ve had the same thought so many times :)

  11. Sara says:

    What a great dessert! I am not a tiramisu fan because of the lady finger texture, but I love the flavor. I will have to try this.

  12. Susi says:

    Looks delicious! This is definitely the first time I’ve ever seen a crepe cake turned tiramisu! Great job!

  13. RavieNomNoms says:

    What a unique idea!

  14. Oh, my husband would go nuts for this! I’m saving it for his birthday!

    • tiffintales says:

      Going nuts is good! : )
      I’m so happy to hear that – I hope you and your husband have a fantastic time!

  15. Your crepes are absolutely perfect. Beautiful crepe cake!

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  18. Natasha says:

    I pray I can make this soon. Great idea

  19. Brilliant! This is a combination of my favorite dessert and one of my favorite cake types. Can’t wait to try it out.

  20. ing says:

    i really like ur twist on millie crepe:)

  21. Kata says:

    Hey! I showed the pictures to a friend of mine and now I have to make it for her Birthday tomorrow. I just finished the crepe-batter and have a question: is it supposed to be THAT liquid??? HELP!!
    Please.

  22. Faye Rahamad says:

    Its amazing to see the process on how u do it, u make it as if its easy to do it..!! Anyway it look lovely, just would like to ask u about the tiramisu cream.. If i don’t use the liquor and i replace it with coffee would that be fine.. I’m not an alcohol drinker… Tq

    • tiffintales says:

      Thanks! There is a related video as well – you can check it out here. You can replace the liquor with coffee if you like.

  23. Patricia Morrish says:

    Looks great– sounds amazing. I can’t even find lady fingers anymore so this is a perfect solution. I was thinking– since the cream is apparently pretty thin and I don’t see much of it between the crepes– have you ever tried rolling/folding some of the cream in a crepe in the traditional way. Bet that would be good too without the layers slipping all over the place.

  24. mrshealey says:

    Made this today and it is so sinfully delicious! First time to make crepes ever and boy were they truly difficult :( But that’s ok my hubby enjoyed the first 10 bad looking crepes. Also, I skipped out on the Mascarpone because it was bloody expensive so instead I took a substitute from food.com to blend a block of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/4 heavy cream. It worked out beautiful-ly. Thank you so much for this recipe. This will become a staple every Christmas :)

  25. Tyng says:

    Nice crepe cake! May I know whether you use plain flour or all purpose flour for the crepe? =)

  26. Jes R Kiran says:

    Looks amazing…. Was feeling very down about not baking for the longest period of time…due to lack of inspiration.
    Now am totally inspired… am so happy that I came across ur video in youtube. Thank you:)

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