Short History of this Strawberry Crepe Cake Recipe
The internet will tell you that Emy Wada, the Japanese pastry chef famous for her Lady M boutique invented the “mille crepe cake” (or “thousand crepe cake”) cake in the 1980s, but it’s hard to imagine that Wada was the first to think of stacking crepes into something delicious.
One can find, in fact, numerous chefs who lay claim to this magical recipe. Freddy Israel, chef at La Petite Tour in Paris, was associated with a version in the early 1970s. Israel’s version, like Wada’s, used pastry cream as a layer between the crepes, and the idea may have come from another very famous traditionally French dessert, the Napoleon, which layers pastry cream and fruit between sheets of crackly puff pastry. Julia Child published both a savory and sweet version of a crepe cake at various points. Our version is altogether simpler, layering crepes, whipped cream, and thinly sliced fresh strawberries, for a back-to-basics delicious summer treat.
Love crepes? So do we! Here are some of the many variations that we like to make of this global phenomenon.
Looking for more ways to celebrate strawberry season? Here are some more of our favorites!
Strawberry Crepe Cake Recipe
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 3 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large basket strawberries thinly sliced (we used a mandoline)
For the Homemade Crepes:
- Combine milk, flour, cornstarch, sugar, eggs, and melted butter in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into a large bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Heat a little vegetable oil or a small amount of butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium or medium-low heat. Wipe any excess oil with a paper towel.
- Pour 1/4 cup of batter, swirling the crepe batter to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Heat gently until the surface becomes matte and small air bubbles appear, roughly 1-2 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook 30 more seconds until golden brown.
- Repeat with remaining batter.
- Allow all crepes to come to room temperature before proceeding.
- You can prepare the crepes a day ahead. Layer with parchment paper and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator.
Prepare the whipped cream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whip attachment, or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream and sugar on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
- Thinly slice the strawberries using a mandoline or a sharp paring knife, saving 2-3 of the best-looking fruits to put on top of the cake.
- Place the first crepe on your serving plate. Spread a thin layer of cream filling over the top of the crepe. Add the next crepe on top of that. Continue until you have assembled four layers of crepes, then top the next crepe with whipped cream and thinly sliced strawberries, arranging the strawberries to cover as much of the crepe surface as possible. Repeat, adding a layer of strawberries after four whipped cream only crepe layers. Continue to layer crepes until all of the crepes have been used. Decorate the top of the crepe stack with more fluffy whipped cream and whole strawberries, or thinly sliced strawberries. For a more formal look, you can trim the edge of the crepe cake with a sharp knife, or you can leave the ruffly edges for a more rustic look for your beautiful cake.
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