Thai Coffee Crepe Cake
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WHAT YOU'LL NEED
 

FOR THE CREPES

4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 3/4 cups milk (whole or 2%, no less) 
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbs melted butter, + extra for cooking 

FOR THE CARAMEL

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water + 2 Tbs (hot) water, divided
2 Tbs strong instant coffee (I used Nescafé Redcup, an extremely popular option here in Thailand) 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 Tbs butter, cut into smaller cubes
2 Tbs sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp large flake sea salt or kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract 

FOR THE THAI COFFEE WHIPPED CREAM

2.5 cups + 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
3 Tbs strong instant coffee
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbs powdered sugar 

FOR ASSEMBLY

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract


WHAT YOU'LL DO
 

FOR THE CREPES

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse for 20 seconds until incorporated. Scrape down sides and pulse again, if needed.  Transfer to the refrigerator for at least one hour.  (According to popular opinion, this helps the ingredients meld and the bubbles subside.  Bubbles = crepes that are more likely to tear). I would recommend making the caramel while you wait. 

To make the crepes, preheat a medium (9-10 inch) sized skillet on medium heat.  Melt a pat of butter and if it sizzles your pan is ready.  Measure out 1/4 cup of batter and pour in a steady stream in the center of the pan, then swirl the pan so the batter spreads into a larger circle. Leave for 45-60 seconds, and then use a thin rubber spatula or fish spatula to flip, quickly.  You will need perhaps another 30-45 seconds on the other side.  There should be golden spots, but your crepes should not be crispy except on the edges where the batter was particularly thin. Repeat 20 times until you’ve used up all your batter, measuring 1/4 cup of batter each time to ensure consistency of size, stacking them flat on a plate and allowing to cool at room temp.  When cooled you can cover with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator until needed. 

As a note of encouragement: my first crepe is ALWAYS a disaster.  I’m not sure why, maybe the pan is just getting geared up? But seriously, if not unusable, the first crepe is difficult to flip and mangled when finished.  There will be a moment where you think “maybe I can’t do this?”  But push on.  The second crepe will be better and by the third, the voice in your head will say “I got this” instead of total failure. So DO NOT PANIC if your first crepe is a disaster.  I’m telling you, it’s just a part of the process. 

FOR THE CARAMEL

First, pour sugar in a small skillet or medium saucepan.  Turn on low heat, and then stir in the 1/3 cup of water until the sugar dissolves.  Then increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, you can swirl the pan but from this point on don’t stir. It will take between 8-10 minutes, but the color of the sugar will begin to deepen, eventually becoming a deep amber. Remove from heat.  

Mix 2 Tbs of boiling or hot water with the 2 Tbs instant coffee until dissolved. Pour this coffee concentrate, along with the rest of the ingredients (butter, cream, vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, sea salt) into the caramel, one ingredient at a time, whisking constantly and carefully because the mixture will bubble up.  Once incorporated, return the caramel to medium heat, and bring to a boil again.  Stir until completely smooth, for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat again. Cool slightly and pour into a jar. Store in the refrigerator. To use, place jar in bowl of boiling water to bring the caramel sauce to room temp, the best consistency, before serving. 

FOR THE THAI COFFEE WHIPPED CREAM

Warm 1/3 cup of the cream (in the microwave is fine, or on the stovetop, but I put it in a jar and placed the jar in a bowl of boiling water, swirling the cream occasionally until it was hot to the touch).  Pour in the 3 Tbs of instant coffee powder, put the lid on the jar, and shake until dissolved.  Pour the 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk in the jar, and now shake to combine again.  Place jar in freezer to get the mixture as cold as possible for 10 minutes. 

Pour the 2.5 cups of whipping cream into a deep mixing bowl, and then add the coffee and condensed milk mixture.  Wisk gently to combine.  Sprinkle in 1 Tbs of powdered sugar.  Taste and adjust accordingly, adding more powdered sugar if desired.  With electric beaters, or in a stand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form, every once in a while scraping the sides down. You want to whip this a little stiffer than you would normally whip cream, because the layers of this between the crepes create the structure of your cake. Get as close to a mousse consistency as possible, (but be careful you don’t whip so long you get butter). Keep chilled until ready to use. 

FOR ASSEMBLY

On your favorite cake platter (or a large rimmed plate) lay your first crepe.  Take a large spoonful of the whipped cream and spread out with the back of the spoon or an offset spatula across the surface of the crepe.  Then add your next crepe directly on top, and repeat with all the crepes and whipped topping.  I got a little crazy and drizzled the coffee caramel every 4 layers or so. Immediately transfer the cake to the refrigerator to firm up (I recommend at least 30 minutes, if not more) before serving while you make the final whipped topping.  

Confession: I didn’t allow it to refrigerate as long as I should have after assembly before photographing it, but later that evening after being in the fridge for a few hours, I served it and it sliced absolutely beautifully, with even more picture perfect layers.  Of course by this point, I had lost my daylight to take any more photos, so you’ll have to take my word on that one.

For serving: combine the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream with the vanilla bean paste or extract and powdered sugar, and beat until soft peaks form. 

Remove the cake from fridge, top with the vanilla whipped cream, and drizzle liberally with the coffee salted caramel. Slice and serve! 

Serves 8-10

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