Inspiration comes to me from all corners of the world. This week, one of my girlfriends from Book Club unwittingly inspired me to make this creation for another friend of mine.
A while back, I asked some of my girlfriends to send me photos of cakes they thought were interesting/cool/creative/unique. As someone who stares at photos of extremely talented cake artists’ masterpieces all day, I was wondering a) what are other people looking at all day, and b) what types of cake do other people think are showstoppers? So I asked my friends, and boy did they deliver! I get photos and links on our group text CONSTANTLY. I tried my hand at some of the techniques, and others I didn’t even bother with because they are waaaaaaaaay outside my current skill set (I am so willing to change that, though!). But I was so happy to see all of the photos and certainly used them for inspiration from time to time.
That’s why it wasn’t too out of the ordinary when my friend sent me this photo this past week.
She thought it was pretty and knew I’d love it, too. (My friend is Swedish and shared the proper Swedish name of this cake 🇸🇪 Now I just need her to tell me how to pronounce it 😅) She didn’t know it at the time, but I was SO grateful that she sent it because it just so happened that I had invited another friend over for a birthday dinner later in the week and wanted to make her a birthday cake, even though I was aware that she didn’t really like to eat sweets.
There are a surprising amount of people in my life - including my own father - who don’t love sweets (or maybe it’s a normal amount but because I try to force feed people sweet treats so often, the subject comes up more than usual and that’s why I know about all of these non-sweet-eaters). I love these people because they always (somewhat begrudgingly) try the creations that I’ve made and end up loving it! And that’s how you know that you’ve really done a good job!
When it comes to making sweets for my dad, he tends to only love tart treats like lemon meringue pie, or a lemon tart, or actually he would probably prefer just a whole lemon. 🤷🏻♀️ SIDE NOTE: I actually think I almost killed my own father by packing up and leaving New Orleans (a land of many cultures represented in its food scene - especially French!) to move to Chicago to study French cuisine. But not just any French cuisine. French pastry #facepalm But I digress... I had been wracking my brain for ideas of what I could make for my friend that wouldn’t be too sweet, and then this idea from my other friend saved the day. #FriendsFTW
Crepes are so versatile - you can eat them for dinner as a savory meal, maybe with spinach and artichoke filling, or stuffed with lobster in a butter cream sauce, or you can eat them for breakfast with fruit topping, or even as a dessert with Nutella™️ spread across it and topped with toasted hazelnuts... #drooling For those of you who aren't quite sure about what a crepe really is, just imagine a paper-thin pancake. You can sweeten it with just a bit of sugar and vanilla extract, like you do with pancakes, or you can leave out the sweet stuff if you plan to have it for dinner.
(I consider this this cheater method.)
And I knew that because the crepe base is fairly neutral, I could pair it with a frosting that is more tangy than sweet, et voila! A non-cake cake that isn’t too sweet for the birthday girl!
In pastry school, my chefs instructed us on the proper pan tilt technique in order to get an even layer of crepe batter in the pan (NOT the cheater method). This was the first time I have done this technique since I graduated, but I did ok I guess. It’s a two handed process: one hand pours crepe batter into the pan while the other hand holds the pan and tilts the batter around while it cooks the very bottom layer. After the first side cooks you have to suck it up and reach into the pan to flip your freshly cooked crepe with your bare hands. It helps if you've been a chef for a while and can't quite feel anything in your fingertips anymore. I filmed myself doing the whole process (still not great at filming) and I captured the sound of the batter sizzling in the pan. Watch with sound:
After the crepes were fully cooled to room temperature, I made a cream cheese frosting with fresh lemon juice and zest folded in (I figured if my non-sweets loving Dad was into lemon, my non-sweets loving friend would like it, too) and smeared it between the layers of crepes.
Use the left and right arrows to scroll through the photos I took while building this cake:
All in all I think I had 17 crepe layers with frosting in between, and I topped the cake off with some fresh blueberries for contrast.
I’ve mentioned my dad a lot in this post, and that’s because his tastes had a lot of influence on what I made this week. Since it is Father’s Day, I do want to give a shout out to dear old Dad (he’s one of two, maybe three men that actually read my blog [maybe there's more, but I have no idea who actually reads this] - and by “read my blog”, I mean my mom reads my blog and then shares excerpts with him that she thinks are funny. Mom - please do me a solid and show Dad video, ok? 💜 Thanks!)
Happy eating, y'all! And Happy Father's Day! 💜