The Eat Boutique Team has wanted to showcase our favorite birthday cakes for a while. We don’t want to knock professional bakers – we totally aspire to be you! – but we think homemade cakes are pretty wonderful too. They may be messy and somewhat lop-sided, but homemade birthday cakes are what most of us grew up on and, frankly, we really prefer them. We’re taking this week to celebrate some of our favorite cakes and hope you’ll love them too. Let’s start with this gorgeous no-bake cake by our friend and new contributor, Christine Tobin. Thanks, Christine! — Maggie
What is not to love about a beautiful cake that you don’t actually bake?
Anyone that knows me knows that I love to cook. Baking is another story. I have tried my hand at cakes, pies, crisps, crumbles, cookies. I am usually left feeling disappointed with myself and coming to terms that I just don’t have the baking gene.
Wipe the tears. Thankfully, there are many lovely desserts that can be presented with pizzaz that do not require any baking. This elegant Lemon Curd Crepe Cake is one of them. With it’s soft cream, and tender layers, it is the perfect dessert from spring to summer.
I came across this cake while visiting a friend. It was one of those gasp moments as I flipped through her April 2010 issue of Martha Stewart. Upon seeing this cake, I just had to make it! I made it and presented it to 20 unknowing dinner guests. It was an instant success. This sweet lemony dessert was the perfect ending to a spring dinner of Pea Soup, Lamb Ragu and Stone Ground Grits. It is surprisingly rich so please don’t let the circumference in size deter you.
Be prepared to stand at your stove for a bit while you swirl the batter in a pan. As methodical as the process can be, I find it relaxing. No oven mittens, no sweaty kitchens, no anxiety about timers. Just you, the pan, and a big bowl of cream.
This recipe has been adapted from April 2010 Martha Stewart Living magazine, Anne Willan’s, The Cooking of France, and my lovely Belgian friend Elisabeth.
Lemon Curd Mousse
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 4 large eggs plus 6 large yolks
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand until softened. Approximately 5 minutes.
2. Whisk together eggs and yolks in a heavy small saucepan. Whisk in sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 8-10 minutes.
3 . Remove pan from heat; add gelatin, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves and mixture is slightly cool. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, stirring after each addition, until smooth.
4. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to remove as much curd as possible; discard any undissolved bits of gelatin and egg. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of curd to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Stir curd, and gently fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir before using.
This mousse can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Crepes & Assembling the Cake
This is a double recipe. If you should have extra crepes, keep refrigerated and enjoy at a later date with sweet or savory fillings.
- 2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, more if needed
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and about half of the milk. Whisk the central ingredients until mixed, then gradually whisk in the milk to make a smooth batter. Whisk only until smooth, do not beat for the crepes can then be tough. Stir in the remaining milk and the melted butter. Cover the batter and leave it to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, so the batter can thicken.
2. Lightly coat an 8 inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet with vegetable oil. Heat over medium high heat until just starting to smoke. Remove from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into center. Swirl to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return to heat. Cook until edges are golden and center is dry. About 30 seconds per side.
3. Place crepes onto an overturned dinner plate. Repeat with remaining batter, coating pan with oil as needed. Let the stack crepes cool.
4. Place 1 crepe on a flat serving dish. Spread about 1/4 cup lemon curd mousse onto crepe. Top with 1 crepe. Continue layering crepes and mousse. End with a crepe.
5. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
6. Top crepe with powdered sugar or fresh whipped cream.
Christine Tobin’s 20-year career in food has taken her from Boston’s best restaurant’s to the studio’s of NYC as a food stylist. Using a hungry iPhone, her nightly family meals can be see at Last Night’s Supper. All photos were styled by Christine and taken by Maggie Battista.
If you don’t have the time to make a homemade birthday cake for a friend this year, send them a gift box of local, pure and comforting handmade food. Eat Boutique sells a handmade gift box filled with handmade sweet and savory treats. Send food that hugs you back today.