If you’ve never made a mille-crepes cake before, the good news is that even a beginning baker can pull off this stunning dessert. The idea behind this crepe cake recipe started with buckwheat crepes, also known as a galette, traditional from the Brittany area of France. With buckwheat as the main ingredient, they don’t use any wheat and are naturally gluten-free. That’s a plus in our book since it means more kinds of eaters can enjoy it. If you’re not up for making the whole crepe cake recipe right now, you can make the buckwheat crepes and fig hazelnut ganache for a decadent breakfast.
Sandwiching the layers of the mille-crepes cake is a mission fig hazelnut ganache you will want to spoon on everything! Trust us, we tried it on toast, swirled into yogurt and even spread it on sliced bananas. It’s like Nutella’s grown-up cooler cousin because the mission figs really ramp up the flavor. We are always open to chocolate and fig desserts but this is our new favorite! It looks harder to make than it is. Like the first pancake which is usually the experiment / trial run, the swirling of the crepe batter takes practice, but you get a lot of opportunities to practice with this cake. Plus, if you have a few crepes that don’t look perfect, they will all get covered with the fig hazelnut chocolate ganache, so no one has to know and you can put less than perfect crepes at the bottom or in the middle of the stack.
Plan ahead for this crepe cake recipe: since there is no gluten in buckwheat and buckwheat isn’t great at binding, the batter needs to cure in the refrigerator, letting all the ingredients meld and chill for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. A small slice of this mille-crepes cake is all you need since this cake is rich. You can also garnish it with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and extra roughly chopped hazelnuts and mission figs.
Chocolate Fig Mille-Crepes Cake
Cocoa Buckwheat Crepes
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup water
Fig Hazelnut Ganache
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces stemmed and quartered Blue Ribbon Orchard Figs (1 cup)
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate bars, chopped (or feves)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts (plus more for garnish if desired)
Make the Mille-Crepes Cake
Heat the milk, whisking in cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar until combined over medium low heat for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally until combined and warm. Cool for 5 minutes.
Using a whisk or fork and bowl, or blender, combine the buckwheat flour, salt, butter, eggs, and warm cocoa milk together until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill the batter for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
When ready to make the crepes, whisk 1/2 cup water into the batter. Place a large dinner plate or sheet pan on the stovetop next to where you will be cooking.
Set an 8-inch nonstick skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Drop a small knob of unsalted butter into the pan, swiping around the sides with a paper towel to coat the bottom. Turn the heat down to medium low. Taking the pan off the heat, pour and swirl in 3 tablespoons but no more than 1/4 cup batter into the pan, tilt and swirl off the heat spreading the batter over itself in the middle until the batter stops moving. Place the pan back on the stovetop and cook for 1 minute and 30 seconds or when the top looks more dry and the edges have begun to release from the sides of the pan. Nudge a flexible spatula underneath and flip, cooking on the other side for 30 seconds. Place the crepes in a stack on the plate or sheet pan. Repeat until you’ve cooked all the batter.
Make the Fig Hazelnut Ganache
Place the cream and California Mission Figs in a small saucepan set over medium low heat, for about 5 minutes. Tumble the chopped chocolate or chocolate feves into a medium sized bowl. Place a strainer on top of the bowl and pour the cream through the strainer onto the chocolate below. Ignore the cream and chocolate for 3 minutes. Transfer the figs from the strainer to a food processor along with the salt and hazelnuts. Stir together the cream and chocolate until smooth. Then, transfer to the food processor. Process until smooth.
Assemble the Mille-Crepes Cake
Place a crepe on a cake stand or whatever surface you plan on presenting it. Select your 20 best crepes. Using an offset spatula, spread about 2 tablespoons evenly across the crepe. Top with another crepe. Continue the crepe and ganache layers until you’ve used up all the crepes. Dollop and spread the rest of the ganache on top of the cake. You can scatter chopped toasted hazelnuts on top or slices of dried mission figs. Chill for 2 hours before serving.
Recipe and photos by Annelies Zijderveld