The day I opened my copy of Chocolate Epiphany , by Francois Payard, I knew I had to make this cake. While there are so many amazing recipes inside, this one just spoke to me. I love layers- and this one had 20 mouth watering layers of chocolate crepes, infused with orange zest, filled with a luscious green tea (Matcha) pastry cream. Not something this dieting gal could just make and leave lying around though ~*sigh*~ . A perfect opportunity presented itself though, with the celebration of both my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-laws birthday yesterday.
I enjoyed this so much better than a traditional birthday cake. Despite its use of chocolate and pastry cream, this cake was light in texture, the green tea and orange zest a perfect pairing.
I was a very good girl, you'd all be proud- I only had a sliver. Even with all of the baking I've been doing this past week, I've still managed to lose 16 lbs so far since this get fit challenge began. But I have to admit, I battle thoughts daily of immersing myself in pastry cream, painting myself with chocolate and sprinkling myself with bacon bits... an odd combination, I know, but when you go without for so long, the combination just sounds so irresistibly sexy.
by Francois Payard
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (220g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (30g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
Pinch of salt
8 large eggs
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (500g) whole milk
Grated zest of 2 oranges
10 tablespoons (5 oz. or 150g) unsalted butter, browned
1 cup (250g) heavy cream
Vegetable oil, for the pan
Green Tea Pastry Cream
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (500 g) whole milk
2 teaspoons (10g) powdered green tea
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (120g) sugar
5 tablespoons (40g) cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons (2oz.; 60g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup (250g) heavy cream
Make the crêpes: Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and orange zest. Incorporate them gradually into the dry ingredients, whisking constantly with one hand as you pour them with the other. Doing this slowly will prevent lumps from forming. Whisk in the butter, then the cream. Strain the batter over a bowl to make sure that it is smooth, then whisk it again so that it is thoroughly combined. Cover the batter, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Whisk the batter well. Place a small crêpe pan or nonstick skillet (about 8 inches in diameter) over medium heat. Pour about 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in the pan to grease it. Once it is hot, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or a small ladle to pour a little less than 1/4 cup of batter in the pan. There should be just enough batter in the pan to coat the bottom in a thin layer. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter is evenly spread in the pan.
After about 2 minutes, the edges of the crêpe should start firming up. Use a spatula to lift a side of the crêpe and flip it over. Cook on the other side for about 1 minute, then remove the crêpe to a plate. Repeat the process until all of the batter is used, piling the crêpes one on top of the other as they are cooked. If the crêpes start to stick to the pan, add a little more oil. Cover the stack of crêpes with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool, up to 1 day.
Make the Pastry Cream: Line a shallow pan, such as a 9-inch square cake pan or a small rimmed baking sheet, with plastic wrap. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the green tea powder.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl, and whisk in the yolks. Continue whisking until the yolks turn a very pale yellow. Slowly pour a fourth of the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from curdling. Once the milk is well incorporated, return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot with the whisk to prevent lumps from forming, until it becomes very thick and bubbles start popping from the center of the pan for at least 20 seconds. You need to bring it to a boil so that the cornstarch gets activated.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Pour the pastry cream in the prepared pan and cover it with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate it until it is completely cool, up to 1 day ahead.
Whip the heavy cream at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until it holds soft peaks. Whisk the pastry cream to a creamy texture, then gently fold in the whipped cream with spatula.
Assemble the Cake: Place one of the cooled crepes on a serving platter. With a small offset spatula, spread a very thin layer (about 1/16 inch) of the green tea pastry cream over the crepe, going all the way to the edges. Place another crepe on top and repeat the process until the cake is 2 to 3 inches tall. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving, up to 6 hours ahead, so that the cake has time to set.Makes one 8-inch cake; serves 8