This impressive tiramisu crepe cake features 25 paper-thin homemade crepes, 24 layers of fluffy tiramisu filling, dustings of cocoa powder, and is finished with sweet whipped cream on top. It’s almost unbelievable that such a fancy cake is totally doable in your home kitchen. There’s no baking involved and everything can be prepped in advance!
The cake is 8 inches wide and about 7 inches tall with the whipped cream on top.
At first glance, does this look like a stack of tortillas with sour cream? Because as I was editing these photos, I kept seeing things. Or maybe I was just craving tacos. HA!
In all seriousness, this is CREPE CAKE. Here we have over 2 dozen delicately thin crepes stacked high with tiramisu-inspired mascarpone filling. The mascarpone features rich espresso flavor and is spiked with a hint of rum. We’re reaching new levels with this mile high crepe cake, also known as mille crepe or Gâteau de Crêpes in French. This show-stopping dessert is becoming increasingly popular in American bakeries and since we aren’t able to do much travel these days, why not try this lovely dessert in your home kitchen?
I promise you can handle it.
This Tiramisu Crepe Cake Is:
- Secretly simple (I promise! My instructions are super detailed.)
- Creamy & light
- Boozy, but you can skip the alcohol if desired
- Best made ahead of time
- Perfect if you’re searching for a unique cake
Overview: How to Make Tiramisu Crepe Cake
- Make the crepes. Crepe batter must chill for 30-60 minutes before cooking, then it usually takes about an hour to cook them all.
- Make the tiramisu filling. You can do this ahead of time. More on the filling below.
- Assemble the crepe cake. If you know how to spread creamy filling onto a crepe (like spreading butter on bread!), you can assemble a crepe cake. Using a fine mesh strainer, dust each layer of filling with cocoa powder. If you don’t have one, skip the cocoa powder or use your fingers to sprinkle it on top.
- If desired, pipe whipped cream on top.
- Chill cake for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving. This time in the refrigerator helps the flavors develop and more importantly, allows the cake to set. If skipped, you won’t be able to slice it.
Do you know how to make homemade crepes? I have a detailed How to Make Crepes tutorial that sets you up for success. After you read about the proper techniques and watch the video tutorial, you’ll find that crepes are relatively simple. (And anyone who tried them for Sally’s Baking Challenge earlier this year can agree. Much easier than expected!)
- We’re using the same crepes recipe, only doubled. I switched around the milk:water ratio and since this is dessert, I added a little more sugar. A little extra sugar helped crisp up the edges. These crepes taste incredible by themselves or in a cake.
The recipe below yields about 28 crepes. Use 25 in this cake. It’s always convenient to have a few extra on hand if any crepes tear. Or let’s be serious, if you want to taste test.
Crepes Success Tips
- Chill the batter: I include this in the written recipe below, but it’s definitely worth explaining. One secret to the best crepes is to chill the crepe batter for at least 30-60 minutes and up to 1 day. This time in the refrigerator enhances the batter’s flavor and gives the flour a chance to fully hydrate.
- Butter the pan between each crepe: The best part of crepes is their thin and delicately crisp edges. To achieve this, butter the pan between EACH crepe. Sounds like a pain, but just grab a stick of butter and coat the pan before adding more batter. You won’t regret it.
- Twirl the pan: Pour the batter into the center of the hot and buttered pan. Lift the pan up and twirl it so the batter stretches as far out as it can go. (The thinner the crepe, the better texture it has– trust me.) This crucial technique is much easier than it sounds and you can watch me do it my crepes video tutorial.
Tiramisu is a timeless Italian dessert and easily one of the most popular desserts in the world. I love using its flavors in other ways. Like traditional tiramisu, this filling is made in a couple different parts. Whip heavy cream into medium peaks (I like to add rum!), set aside, then beat mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and espresso together until creamy. For the espresso, simply combine warm water and espresso powder together– we’ll make it very strong so we aren’t using too much liquid. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Have no fear if the filling looks a little curdled– it doesn’t taste that way in the cake.
- You will love this tiramisu inspired filling. It yields about 4 cups, which is plenty to use as a filling inside a 2 or 3 layer cake. (Maybe in vanilla cake?)
- If you’re not into these flavors, use my homemade whipped cream as the filling instead. Feel free to flavor the whipped cream with a little cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, almond extract, coconut extract, lemon extract, or however you’d like. You could even top it with chocolate ganache!
Here are a few step-by-step photos of the filling. The whipped cream + rum, then the mascarpone mixture:
Combine both to yield a fluffy mousse-like filling:
Let’s Assemble The Cake
If assembling or decorating a traditional layer cake intimidates you, you’re in luck. For a crepe cake, all you have to do is spread and stack. Start with a dollop of filling on your cake stand or serving plate, which helps keep the tall cake in place. Place your bottom crepe securely on top, then spread a heaping 2 Tablespoons of filling on it. Dust with cocoa powder. Repeat until everything is used up. This goes pretty quickly if you have a baking buddy helping out!
Baker’s Tip: The tiramisu filling uses 1 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream. If you pick up a pint of heavy cream, you’ll have 1/2 cup leftover and you can use that for your whipped cream topping! I piped the whipped cream, but you can simply spread it on top if you’d like. If you have extra, feel free to spread it all around the edges of the cake too. I skip that, so mine is more of a naked-style crepe cake.
What’s the Texture Like?
Are you familiar with icebox cake? Icebox cake is essentially cookies or graham crackers layered with a creamy filling– exactly like tiramisu. After refrigerating or freezing, the graham crackers/cookies take on a super soft texture. The whole dessert tastes like mousse or a slightly textured creamy trifle. It’s delicious. We have the same texture here! After chilling for a couple hours, you can slide a fork right through each slice.
- A blender works WONDERFULLY to smooth out the crepe batter because it cuts that flour perfectly into all the wet ingredients. If you don’t have a blender, just use a mixing bowl and whisk. I use my Ninja Blender. (affiliate link*)
- Though professional chefs may use a specialty crepe pan, I find a Small 8-inch Skillet (affiliate link*) works perfectly at home. If you don’t have a small skillet, use a larger one but make sure you keep the crepes THIN.
- Offset Spatula for spreading the filling.
- Fine Mesh Strainer for dusting cocoa powder.
- Large Round Piping Tip (and a disposable or reusable piping bag) for whipped cream topping.
This recipe yields a 50 layer 8-inch wide crepe cake. Make sure you chill the crepe batter in the refrigerator before cooking the crepes and chill the assembled cake before serving. With the piped whipped cream on top, this cake is about 7 inches tall.
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, plus 5 more Tablespoons (70g) for the pan
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (480ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
- 1/2 cup (120ml) room temperature water
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder*
- 2 teaspoons warm water
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) cold heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) rum or Grand Marnier* (optional)
- 8 ounces (1 cup) mascarpone, cold or at room temperature
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (22g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder (optional)
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1/2 cup (120ml) cold heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) rum or Grand Marnier* (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder (optional)
- If you’ve never made crepes before, I strongly recommend reviewing my How to Make Crepes tutorial post, which includes plenty of helpful success tips and a video tutorial.
- Make the crepes batter: Melt 6 Tablespoons of butter in the microwave or on the stove. Cool for about 5 minutes before using in the next step. The remaining butter is for the skillet.
- Add the cooled melted butter, flour, sugar, salt, milk, water, eggs, and vanilla in a blender or large food processor. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, use a large mixing bowl and whisk by hand. Blend on medium-high speed for 20-30 seconds until everything is combined. The mixture will be silky smooth and the consistency of cream, much thinner than pancake batter. Cover the blender tightly or pour into a medium bowl, cover tightly, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour and up to 1 day. This time in the refrigerator is imperative because it gives the flour a chance to become fully hydrated.
- Cook the crepes: Use the remaining butter for greasing the pan between each crepe. Place an 8-inch skillet over medium heat and generously grease it with some of the reserved butter. If you don’t have a skillet this size, use a larger one but make sure you keep the crepes thin. Once the skillet is hot, pour 3-4 Tablespoons (closer to 3 is best) of batter into the center of the pan. Tilt/twirl the pan so the batter stretches as far as it will go. The thinner the crepe, the better the texture. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip as soon as the bottom is set. Don’t wait too long to flip crepes or else they will taste rubbery. Cook the other side for 30 seconds until set. Transfer the cooked crepe to a large plate and repeat with the remaining batter, making sure to butter the pan between each crepe. If desired, separate each crepe with parchment paper so they do not stick together. Though, if using enough butter in your pan, the crepes won’t stick. Yields about 28 crepes.
- Loosely cover and set your crepes aside at room temperature as you prepare the tiramisu filling. You can also tightly cover and refrigerate the crepes for up to 1 day. Crepes must be room temperature or cold before you begin assembling the cake.
- Make the tiramisu filling: First part of the tiramisu filling is to prepare concentrated espresso flavoring. Using a fork, mix the espresso powder and warm water together in a very small bowl. Set aside to cool down for a few minutes. You will mix it with the mascarpone. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and rum (if using) together on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks. Set whipped cream aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and cooled espresso liquid together on medium speed in a large bowl until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Don’t worry if it looks curdled– mine sometimes does– it doesn’t taste that way and will smooth out when it’s stacked in the cake. Use filling immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Yields about 4 cups filling.
- Assemble the cake: Spread 1-2 teaspoons of filling on the center of your cake stand or cake serving plate. This helps adhere the cake to the plate. Place a crepe on top. Spread about 2 heaping Tablespoons of filling evenly on top. If desired, dust with cocoa powder. Repeat layering crepes, filling, and a dusting of cocoa powder. Top with final and last crepe.
- Whipped Cream Topping: You can frost the cake with whipped cream before or after chilling the cake in the refrigerator in step 9. My advice– I find it tastes better and slices easier if you chill the cake WITH the whipped cream on top. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, rum (if using), and confectioners’ sugar together on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for spreading or piping. Spread or pipe whipped cream on top of the cake. If you have extra, feel free to spread all around the sides of the cake too. If desired, dust with cocoa powder.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours and up to 1 day before serving. Chilling the cake in the refrigerator is imperative because the cake won’t slice otherwise. No need to cover the cake if you’re chilling it for only 3 hours. If chilling longer than that, I recommend loosely covering the cake.
- Cover leftover cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Crepe batter, cooked crepes, filling, and assembled cake can all be prepared in advance. See the end of step 3, step 5, the end of step 6, and step 9. To freeze, prepare cake through step 8, but do not dust with cocoa powder on top. Tightly cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer, evenly dust the top with cocoa, then thaw in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. (Can thaw covered or uncovered.)
- Milk: I prefer whole milk in the crepe batter. For a richer tasting crepe, half-and-half or heavy cream work too. 2% is OK, but I wouldn’t use lower fat milks. Any low fat or full fat nondairy milk works too.
- Espresso Powder: You need very strong espresso for the filling. Here we are making it using espresso powder and water. If you can’t find espresso powder, use instant coffee powder instead. You can also use 1 Tablespoon of super super super strong room temperature or cold black coffee instead of the espresso powder/water.
- Alcohol: The filling and whipped cream topping include alcohol. I recommend rum or Grand Marnier. Skip the alcohol for a non-alcoholic version. No need to replace it with anything.
- Cocoa Powder: Dusting cocoa powder between each layer, as well as on top of the crepe cake, is optional. If using, you can use natural or dutch-process cocoa.
Keywords: tiramisu, crepes, cake