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Chocolate Cannoli Crepe Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream, Orange Cream Sauce and Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Cannoli Crepe Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream, Orange Cream Sauce and Chocolate Ganache

I have really been trying to plan ahead with my blog recipes. Last Friday, I decided what I was going to make this week and I went grocery shopping on Saturday. I was determined to get through this week without having to make emergency stops at the grocery store. Then inspiration struck. Sunday morning I woke up inspired by the idea of cannoli crepes. As the day progressed, my mind went through all sorts of flavor iterations and by the end of the day I was brimming with excitement and just could not wait to make what I came up with. Needless to say, I had to make another trip to the grocery store - okay that's a lie, my seriously wonderful husband made a stop there for me.

Now for this crepe cake. Alternating layers of vanilla whipped cream and orange ricotta cannoli filling sit between light chocolate crepes with crispy outsides. Chocolate ganache and orange cream sauce is throughout the cake in the whipped cream layer and then poured down the finished product. I must say the cannoli filling is my favorite component. It is sweet without being too sweet with a slight orange flavor.  I chopped up chocolate chips and added a small amount for a hint of chocolate without it being too overwhelming.

Two base layers of crepe and filling with a small amount of ganache and orange cream sauce

You may not believe this, but despite the number of components this is relatively easy to put together. I made the cannoli filling the day before I made the cake and I recommend doing the same. If you have never made crepes before, you may struggle with the first couple, but then you will probably become a crepe making machine, knocking them out quicker than you ever imagined. The recipe makes 18 crepes and I only used 14 in the cake so don't worry about having a few "first pancakes".

In terms of serving, cutting through the cake is actually pretty easy. I used a chef's knife and it went right through. In terms of WHEN you eat this thing, I think it's the perfect special occasion breakfast/brunch. You could also serve it as a dessert.

Chocolate Cannoli Crepe Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream, Orange Cream Sauce and Chocolate Ganache

Orange Cannoli Filling
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons orange juice

Chocolate Crepes
Makes 18 crepes
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Orange Cream Sauce
2 oranges, peeled
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Ganache
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Start by making the cannoli filling. Place all the ingredients except the confectioners sugar in a medium bowl and gently stir to combine. Add the confectioners sugar and stir until incorporated. Add the filling to a container and place in the refrigerator until it is time to assemble the cake.

Now it's time to make the crepe batter. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until combined. Pour the batter into a large bowl and let it sit, untouched, for 30 minutes.

While waiting for the crepe batter, make the orange cream sauce. In a small sauce pan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and let it cool for a few minutes. Add two peeled oranges and the cooled water mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth. Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the blended orange sauce through the strainer to remove any orange bits. Stir in the vanilla and heavy cream. Set the orange cream sauce aside.

It's time to make the crepes! Line your counter tops or a large workspace with wax paper and spray a 9 inch skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Have a 1/4 cup measuring cup, a mini silicone spatula and a large thin spatula ready to go. Heat the pan over medium heat and fill the measuring cup until a little less than 3/4 the way full (about 3 tablespoons). Lift the skillet off the stove with one hand and with the other pour the batter in the center of the skillet. Quickly turn the pan clockwise in a circle until the bottom is a complete circle of batter. You have to be quick with this process because it will cook quickly even though it's off the heat. Place the skillet back down on the heat. After a few seconds, the outer edge of the crepe will no longer look wet. At this point, use the mini spatula to carefully go under the crepe and around in a circle along the outer edge. After 20 - 30 seconds, use the mini spatula to lift a side of the crepe up and place the large spatula underneath the crepe. Now flip. Cook for about 20 seconds. Carefully slide the crepe onto the wax paper. Continue this process until all the batter is gone. Place the finished crepes on the wax paper side by side. Don't stack the crepes on top of each other.

When you are done with the crepes, make your whipped cream and chocolate ganache. Add the cold heavy whipping cream to a mixing bowl attached to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and continue to mix until stiff peaks form.  To make the chocolate ganache, add the chopped chocolate to a medium bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat until it is simmering, but take off the heat before it starts to boil. Since it is such a small amount this won't take long so watch carefully. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted.

By the time you finish making the whipped cream and ganache, the crepes should be completely cooled. Get out the cannoli filling and have all the components ready to go. Place one crepe on a serving dish and smear with a layer of cannoli filling about 1/4 inch thick. Place another crepe on top. Smear with a layer of whipped cream also an 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick and place a small amount of the chocolate ganache and orange cream sauce on top of the whipped cream. See the picture above for an example. From this point forward, you are going to smear the cannoli filling or whipped cream on a crepe before placing on the pile. Continue the process of stacking until you go through the crepes or your cake looks unstable. Pour some of the excess orange cream sauce and ganache over the cake. The ganache is thick so you may need a knife to spread over the cake. If the ganache gets hard, heat in the microwave for 5 seconds and stir.


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