Gateau de Crepes
I made a crepe cake, again! It's a different, more traditional, recipe from Deb of smitten kitchen. May I suggest, don't make this cake in the summer if you don't have a/c in your apartment. You can still make your friends-with-summer-birthdays cakes without breaking a sweat. Just bake the layers in the evening while it's cool outside, and the rest is...well, cake!
This is a different beast altogether. I did not want to risk crepes getting soggy with custard overnight.* The batter and the custard were made the night before, but those are the no-heat-required jobs. Whoever came up with this treat must've had fall/winter in mind. But I wasn't about to let Grandpa Jerry's 93rd(!!) birthday go by without a chocolate AND a vanilla cake. I mean, I would hope that if I were to turn 93, the least people could do is make me two cakes.
So, it's 7:30 am, still cool but heating up in my apartment. I size up the bowl of batter with my sleepy eyes, and think, "Meh, shouldn't take more than half an hour." As soon as the gas burner starts clicking both cats look at me and go "WAT."
They have been dying during the day over here. And here I am, turning on the stove at the beginning of the day. I'm pretty sure they were giving me the IZ YOU STUPID look the whole 2 hours that I was sweating next of the hot pan while burning my fingers flipping the crepes. Moos was too disgusted by my stove-usage to even look at me.
Never mind the cats, they clearly don't know anything about French pastries and the sacrifices that French cuisine gods require. It turned out beautiful. The custard was airy, with plenty of vanilla flavor. I used this awesome trick from Cook's Illustrated for getting vanilla seeds out of the bean. That was, by far, the most effective way - you get all of the seeds into your dish and none under your fingernails. Using a vanilla bean leaves your hands smelling heavenly for days.
The cake survived the drive to the Bees home, Mark caramelized some sugar on top, we sang Happy Birthday, and cut into this beauty. Miam, miam!
* I suppose you could make the crepes and assemble the cake the morning, but that would require starting on the batter two days ahead of time. That's far too much planning in advance.