Dude. I have sat down to write this post eleventy bajillion times now* and keep coming up with another post, but one that  I’m unhappy with.

The post I keep writing is about staying adventuresome and not being self-limiting, but I don’t like the way it keeps getting snarky and finger-pointy in the middle, and anyway I really just wanted to talk about how much I love Game of Thrones (both the book and the HBO series), and tell you about this marvelous cake I made!

SO. I made a crepe cake, guise! I used the crepe recipe from Smitten Kitchen, improvised a dark chocolate ganache (my very fist one) by mashing together a bunch of recipes I found on different sites and the advice of lovely downstairs neighbors Jaquelyn and Daniel, warmed up some orange marmelade, and went to town. 31 layers later, it was delicious!

This cake was kind of a big deal for me. See, I haven’t done a whole lot of sweet cooking. I can do regular cooking pretty well – and I understand how to cook pretty well. Improvising on the fly isn’t a problem – I know some flavor profiles, I can adjust as I go, and I know when stuff smells like it should at different stages of the game. I get it. But baking, and especially baking sweets, is new territory for me – if you’ve been playing along, you’ll know that I struggled to make cookies for a very long while, and was super stoked when I finally made some that were good. I can even bake yummy bread now (thank you Michael Ruhlman!). But with baking and sweets, it’s less of an understanding, and more of being good at following directions. The part I’m getting better at understanding is the how-long-it-bakes part – I can tell when I need to pull stuff out of the oven before it will become hard tack, that part I get. I have a very vague understanding of ratios, but am still learning.

And I’d put off making this cake for about… five years? For reals. The last time I attempted crepes was in high school home ec,** and I ripped every one that I poured into the pan, so when I saw a picture of this crepe cake thingsy, as much as I wanted to eat it, I was all like, Nah, I can’t do that about making it.

And then I got a bug in my bonnet over the weekend. We wound up with two and a half dozen eggs, for one thing. (I should really inventory the kitchen before I shop. ‘Nuff said.) For another, on Saturday I made ciabatta so that I would have bread for the crouton on some homemade french onion soup, so I was all primed and confident by after dinner. So I made the batter. And once you have the batter made, you have to use it or you’ve just spoilt a dozen eggs for nothing, right? Committed: top of the rollercoaster, friends – no getting off allowed. So on Sunday morning, I made the cake \o/

You know what? As it turned out, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. A little time consuming, yeh, sure,*** and I ripped some crepes before I figured out the best way to flip them,† but overall, a fairly painless process. The final reward was totally worth it, too – YUM!

Here’s how I did it – I made two batches of crepes according to the Smitten Kitchen method:

6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
7 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt

The day before, make the crepe batter: In a small pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Martha says you should bring the batter to room temperature before you start cooking. I didn’t listen, and I should have – as I got further into the first batch and the batter warmed up, I found that there was more OOOh, crepes! and less Oh, crap! in the kitchen. But then again, Man Cub was thrilled to eat hot (if torn) crepes for breakfast, so it all worked out in the end. Also, I found that if I didn’t add butter to the pan (I used a nonstick) before the batter, I got nicer (and ungreasy), crepes.

For the ganache, I warmed up 2/3c whole milk and 1/3c light cream†† with a dash of almond extract, and poured it over 8-ish oz of dark chocolate morsels and 2Tbsp of butter. Also, I warmed up some orange marmalade in a double boiler. Construction of the cake involved layering the crepes with alternating layers of ganache and marmalade (until I ran out of maramalade). Putting it together went super fast – less than fifteen minutes, probably.

Long story short, I’m glad I managed to tell the self-limiting jerk who lives in my head (and ruins everything) to fuck right off, because the cake was delicious, and the experience of making it was a little victory that I totally needed, thank you very much. Also, that same jerk jumped up and down and said that Game of Thrones wouldn’t be as good as everyone was telling me. I started the second book (I finished the first one last month) while I cooked the onion soup††† on Saturday afternoon, and enjoyed the hell out of it. I hate the self-limiting jerk a whole lot, and I’m working on evicting his scrub ass from my real estate.



*Ok, four.
**I graduated in ’88.
***2 hours to cook the crepes and assemble them? Maybe a little more?
†To man Cub’s delight – YaY breakfast!
††Really, you’re supposed to use all heavy cream, but I didn’t have that. Mine came out a little bit thin, consequently.
†††It’s like making a roux – you stir for 40 minutes. Hello, good book.