A lot of ingredients go into this recipe, but once you’ve mixed it all up, assembling the crepes and meringue buttercream is quite simple. Crepe cakes are all the rage, so we naturally wanted to show you how to make a Red Velvet version!
This recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery's new ‘Life is Sweet’ cookbook!
Red Velvet Crepe CakeMakes one 22cm (9in) cake, to slice as desired
IngredientsFor the crepe batter 120ml (4fl oz) water 230g (8oz) unsalted butter, cold and cubed 340g (12oz) white chocolate, chopped 110g (4oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped 470g (1lb 1oz) plain flour 150g (5 ½ oz) soft light brown sugar 1 tsp salt 940ml (1 ½ pints) whole milk 230ml (8fl oz) buttermilk 12 large eggs 6 large egg yolks (reserve 3 of the whites for the buttercream) 2 tbsp red gel paste colouring mixed in 2 tbsp water 2 tbsp vanilla extract For the meringue buttercream 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened 125g (4.oz) icing sugar Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod (or 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract) 340g (12oz) full-fat cream cheese, such as Philadelphia, cold 110g (4oz) caster sugar 110g (4oz) soft light brown sugar 60ml (2fl oz) water 235ml (8fl oz) whipping cream Sugar thermometer and a 22cm (9in) non-stick frying pan
- To make the crepes, heat the water in a saucepan until it is almost boiling, then whisk in the cold butter, one cube at a time. Add the white and dark chocolate, shake the saucepan to even out the chocolate at the bottom of the pan, then take off the heat and set aside.
- Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, or a bowl you can use a handheld electric whisk in, and mix together with a fork. Add the milk and buttermilk and mix on a low speed. Add the eggs and extra yolks, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated.
- Whisk the melted chocolate – it will seem runny. Pour into the rest of the ingredients and mix on slow until all is incorporated – don’t overmix. The mixture will seem relatively runny and will be a light brown (not very nice) colour. Pour all this into a large bowl and mix in the red colouring and vanilla extract. The resulting colour should be a light red or dark pink. Put into the freezer to allow to cool down, thicken and relax for 10 minutes.
- To make the meringue buttercream, using the electric mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla seeds (or extract) together, then add the cold cream cheese and beat for 2–3 minutes until fluffy. Don’t overbeat or the cream cheese will split and become too runny. Put into a bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the caster and brown sugars and water over a medium–high heat and cook until it reaches the soft ball stage as measured on a sugar thermometer, about 120C/248F.
- While the sugars are cooking, put the reserved egg whites into the bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment or a bowl you can use a hand-held electric whisk in. When the sugar reaches soft ball stage, turn the mixer on to high speed and slowly pour the hot syrup down the inside of the bowl so that you don’t splash yourself. Beat until stiff peaks form
- Add the cream cheese mixture to the meringue about 4 tablespoons at a time while the mixer is on medium speed. Once it is all incorporated, beat for about 2 minutes until fluffy. Whisk the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks and fold into the meringue buttercream mix. Set aside in the fridge.
- To cook the crepes, take the batter out of the freezer. Grease the non-stick pan with a light cooking oil. With the pan on a medium-high heat, pour 60ml (2fl oz) of batter into the pan. Each crepe takes about 1 minute to cook. When you pour the batter into the greased pan, twirl the pan to get the batter to fill the entire base of the pan. When the edges seem ‘dry’, run a spatula around the edge, turn over and cook on the other side for a few moments. Make at least thirty-two crepes – you may have a few extra. The first one or two crepes can be discarded if they don’t out perfectly.
- To assemble the cake, put the first crepe on a plate and, using a palette knife, smooth 1 heaped tablespoon of the meringue buttercream over the crepe, stopping just before the edge. Place the second crepe on top of the smoothed-on buttercream and repeat until all the crepes have been used up. Remember, you don’t want a very thick layer of buttercream between the crepes, as there will be about thirty-two layers. Smooth the final bit of buttercream on top of the cake to finish.