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