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Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake

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The decorative nuts are dipped in caramelized sugar and hung in bat fashion—upside down—so the sugar streams and hardens into the best candy on the block.

  • Servings: 16

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2006

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus melted for pan
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Hazelnut Filling
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • Candied Hazelnuts

Directions

  1. Bring 1/4 cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  3. Lightly coat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove pan from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into pan, swirling to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook, flipping once, until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.

  4. Slide crepe onto a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed. Crepes can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.

  5. Place a crepe on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with about 3 tablespoons hazelnut filling. Top with another crepe. Continue layering with hazelnut filling and crepes, using about 32 crepes and ending with a crepe on top. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

  6. Spoon 1/2 cup glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely. Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 20 minutes. Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Garnish with toasted and candied hazelnuts.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS11646240
    9 FEB, 2015
    This looks like a knock0ff of Kate's cake in the The Great British Baking Show (Season 5). I like Kate's use of thin layers of a simple white sponge cake better than the crepes. She also created the caramel sugared nuts with the spikes for her cake.
    Reply
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      18 APR, 2019
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    • MS11030560
      20 OCT, 2017
      I made this cake in 2006 just after it was published in Martha Stewart Living magazine (well before The Great British Baking Show existed!) for a charity event. It was a bit time consuming but not difficult to make. Well worth all the effort though - it's quite spectacular looking - and it fetched $550 during the auction!
    • MSModerator601
      9 FEB, 2015
      We (politely) disagree that ours looks like a knock-off! Our recipe for Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake originally appeared in the January 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. (The source is provided under the recipe name and photo.)
  • allegrajabo
    25 DEC, 2018
    We got this recipe to work on the first try, but I must say we strayed widely from the recipe’s instructions, but not on the ingredients: 1. CREPES - we did not have a crepe pan, so needed to choose between an 8” & 10” non-stick pan. The bottom surface of our 8” pan was only 6”, so we went with the 10” pan that had an 8” bottom surface. There was no possible way that 2 Tbs of the crepe batter would work. We ended up doubling the batter per crepe to 1/4 cup. Crepes worked better without butter added to the pan. There is lots of butter in the batter and it was plenty. Flipping the crepes was very difficult. With chocolate in the batter, the crepes were extremely delicate. We ended up flipping the crepes onto a plate and then carefully with fingers moving it back. For our stove, pan was at medium low the entire time, cooked 2 min on first side until top was mostly dry, flipped using a plate, then cooked on the 2nd side for 30 sec - 1 min. Note: we didn’t stack the crepes coming off the pan for fear they would stick. They might not have, but we lost 2 crepes getting them to cook right, so we didn’t want to risk more. We would put the first crepe on a plate in the fridge to cool while cooking the 2nd. 2nd went on a new plate in fridge to cool. When 3rd crepe was ready, 2nd was moved onto wax paper on top of first. We continued this system so that crepes were totally cooled before stacking with wax paper in between. It took a couple of hours at least to make the crepes and got much easier as the batter warmed to room temperature. Cold batter is harder to swirl. Despite doubling the amount of batter used per crepe, we still ended up with 30 crepes (2 lost in our first attempts). 2. HAZELNUT FILLING - you definitely want to use the ingredients listed in the Martha Stewart hazelnut cream recipe. Others asked about hazelnut coffeemate, or linked to a different filling recipe. I can’t imagine those working or being as good. In the M.S. recipe for Hazelnut Filling, she lists “Hazelnut Cream” as an ingredient. We found it on Amazon: “Cream of Hazelnut from Sicily”. The brand is Vicente. It can probably be found at specialty grocery stores. 3. CHOCOLATE GLAZE - this was easy and came out as the recipe described. It does not, however, look like the picture. The picture implys a true glaze you can pour over the cake to coat. The recipe describes what you end up with...more of a floating. But it is delicious and worked out fine. 4. ASSEMBLY - We were extra sure that all the ingredients were cold. You put a lot less filling in then you think you should, barely enough to cover the crepe. But it comes out perfect in the end. The finished cake is about the size of a 2 layer cake in diameter and height. Ours was slightly domed in the center because swirling the batter results in slightly thicker middles on the crepes. 5. CANDIED HAZELNUTS - this went as expected. The sugar starts to harden fast, so work quickly. Although the crepe cake itself can sit a couple of days in the fridge once complete, the hazelnuts cannot. If you want to do the hazelnuts on top, wait and do them the day you serve the cake. 6. FINAL COMMENTS: We made the batter on day 1, cooked the crepes and assembled the cake with hazelnut garnish on day 2, ate it on day 4. By day 4, the spires on the hazelnuts had moistened in the humidity of the fridge and melted onto the cake. Not in a bad way, but less dramatic looking. This recipe didn’t get 5 stars from me simple because of the amount of work involved. Delicious, absolutely. Impressive to look at, definitely. But I probably won’t make it again unless I really want to impress, or experiment with different flavors.
    Reply
  • mindia
    30 JAN, 2014
    I had no problems with the recipe- thank you previous commentors for your tips!- I have to say though that the cake wasn't nearly as high as the one pictured. I did use an 8" pan, so it's unclear to me why this would be.
    Reply
    • Thoracias1973
      18 FEB, 2015
      I have never made crepes before so last week I made a smaller, basic recipe to try the technique. I was surprised how easy it was! Unfortunately, that recipe was thinner than this chocolate one and called for 1/4 c. batter per crepe. I tried using the 2 Tbls. listed here and it didn't work as well. I used slightly less than 1/4 c. and they were perfect but I did add another 1/3 c. milk to the batter to thin it more. However, I didn't get 32 crepes; I only got 27. Taste tested one - delicious!
  • Daniel Whosoever
    14 FEB, 2014
    The cake was much richer than I like but it went over well with everyone else. I had issues making my hazelnut cream and it was a little thinner than I had planned so as the 30+ crepes took shape it did begin to slowly slide so I put wooden skewers in it to hold it while it set in the refrigerator. Keep in mind this is not a big cake, it will be about 8 inches wide (given an 8in crepe pan and probably about 6 inches tall. I took two days making it, 1 for prep and chilling and 1 for finishing.
    Reply
  • mindia
    30 JAN, 2014
    Also, when I look at the picture it seems like there is probably twice as much cream between the layers as what mine looked like (I used the 3 Tablespoons called for). For it to look like that cake I would probably have to have doubled the cream.
    Reply
  • Kitty Bea
    5 OCT, 2013
    I made this for a dessert contest and won overall. For awhile though while making it I was ready to give up--it takes a long time to make and crepes aren't easy. I like to make the chocolate crepe recipe by itself... it'd be good with strawberries. Couple things.... I didn't have the hazelnut cream -whatever that is exactly- but I used part hazelnut coffee creamer and part ground-up hazelnuts. It worked really well; I food-processed the hazelnuts very fine. I halved the chocolate glaze recipe.
    Reply
  • ptg408706
    11 MAR, 2013
    P.S. there is also a recipe for hazelnut cream here, that I think would work. http://www.marthastewart.com/355331/hazelnut-cream-tuiles The hazelnut cream that I found was simply sweetened nut butter. Be sure you are not using hazelnut coffee creamer, that is not what they are talking about.
    Reply
  • ptg408706
    11 MAR, 2013
    This cake is epic, but it truly does take forever. I had no problems with stability, I am guessing those who did, did not whip the filling long enough after adding the butter. It is Swiss meringue buttercream, so after adding butter, it will get soupy, so whip the heck out of it until it's thick and fluffy again...it will be perfectly stable between the crepes if you do this. I also chilled my crepes before assembling. I made my own hazelnut cream in the food processor. It's just nut butter.
    Reply
  • Gaeliceyes
    10 DEC, 2012
    My third attempt to make this cake was this weekend, and it finally turned out perfect! I've had stability problems in the past as well, but this time I refrigerated the crepes until they were cold. Also, since we don't like hazelnut much, I used nutella chocolate creme or raspberry chocolate creme (found in the peanut butter aisle) instead and raspberry extract instead of vanilla (to cover up the faint hazelnut taste in the nutella) in the filling. It turns out amazing.
    Reply
  • amyeskimo2
    28 OCT, 2012
    This was obnoxiously delicious!!!! Pure food pornography. ;-) I was a little nervous starting out as I read all the reviews about the stability of the cake but we had no trouble whatsoever. It did take about 8.5 hours of labor to pull it off however, so plan ahead! I think the most important part is to use actual hazelnut creme. I found it at Williams and Sonoma. I wasn't familiar with it prior, but it is basically the equivalent of the filling you find in a hazelnut creme filled chocolate.
    Reply