It was T & J's housewarming party and I warmed their house by bringing a cake! A belated birthday cake for J, actually - this creation was a tower of crepes topped with chocolate ganache and candied hazelnuts. Yes, I'm in a candy-ing phase... kind of like this summer's ice cream blizzard.
I had been wanting to make this cake for a long time - I believe it was originally featured in Martha's January 2006 "Year of Cakes" spread. Yes, I have been holding onto this recipe for almost four years.
I'm glad I waited - I think if I had made it in 2006, it would have been a disaster. In the almost-four years since, I've really improved my cake and dessert making skills. Not to mention scheduling.
(above: view of cake in box)
Let's take a look at the pictures (unformatted again!) before we begin dissecting:
(upper left: candied hazelnuts with tails - air bubbles - reheated caramel? 'Virgin' caramel yields clear caramel? upper right: originally, I had 'x' amount of hazelnuts in the centre of the cake ONLY. However, I had a plate of caramel tail scraps, and therefore it became a nest of caramel. Bottom left: a stack of crepes. Bottom right: a cross section of the cake - with layers of strawberries and various other fillings. Funny, we ate lasagne for dinner too.)
So. Final thoughts.
The recipe called for 8" crepes. I went with 10" crepes because I would be feeding a large crowd. However, I used 10.5" - 11" pan. In retrospect, if I wanted to really duplicate the cake, I would have filled the entire pan instead of trying to make 10" crepes. All the layers were different in diameter and although it really didn't make much difference in terms of height, it just didn't look as nice. I also think making thicker crepes would have yielded a taller cake. This cake was tall, yes, but it wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped.
I used a variety of fillings - Nutella whipped cream, chocolate frosting, strawberries, hazelnuts, and icing sugar. I'm glad I used a variety of fillings - I think using the same one would have been pretty boring. Although my final results was a little...lumpy.
But like the title, it tasted better that it looked.