Coconut Amaretto Crepe Cake (gluten-free, paleo)
Updated Mar 20, 2019
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This delicious coconut amaretto crepe cake is not only delicious, it’s gluten-free and grain-free! Sure, it takes a bit of work, but it’s worth the effort!
Merry Christmas week friends! I have one last recipe for you before the big day – and holy smokes, it’s a doozy. A crepe cake! And one that’s filled with scrumptious coconut amaretto buttercream. It’s gluten-free, grain-free and refined sugar-free. Yes yes and yes!
A couple of days ago I was doing last minute Christmas shopping and popped into Restoration Hardware for a little looksy (which is always a dangerous endeavor). And instead of leaving with gifts, I ended up buying this gorgeous, light-up Christmas tree for myself. It just looked peaceful and snowy and well, perfect. So of course, my brain starts thinking of all the holiday desserts that would “match” my new little tree (truth: that’s how I do recipe development). And all I could think of was coconut, snowy flakes.
I had also just bought a bottle of Ciroc Amaretto for the holidays, so coconut and amaretto seemed like a match made in heaven. From there, it all just sorta came together. Now mind you, I’ve never actually made a crepe cake before. I’ve made cassava flour crepes before, but this was my first try at a crepe cake! And for once, the vision in my head turned out EXACTLY as I imagined.
I will say that the buttercream took a few tries though. It’s based on a swiss meringue buttercream – and if you’ve ever made it before, you know it can be temperamental. Too hot, too cold, too runny, too clumpy…you get the idea. So my recommendation is to make the buttercream a day or two in advance. That way, if you have a buttercream fail, you have time to fix it.
The crepes take an hour or so if you make as many as you see here (24 8″ round crepes) – so make sure to plan for that. Though honestly, I don’t think you need more than 17-20. I was showboating a little with this cake height (ha!).
I’m also not gonna lie, this cake is quite a bit of work. It’s definitely not an “oh, I’ll just whip out a crepe cake” sorta dessert. It takes planning. And patience. But the end result will garner you tons of wow’s – and for me, that’s worth it!
So here’s a few tips:
- Make the buttercream at least a day in advance. I also think it tastes better when the amaretto vodka has had time to meld into the buttercream. If you want non-alcoholic, you can opt for amaretto extract (though use far less). Always add liqueur and flavorings in small amounts, taste, then add more.
- This buttercream uses only palm shortening (to keep it dairy-free), but I personally prefer buttercream with my fave Kerry Gold butter. Or you could go half and half. I find 100% palm shortening buttercreams to be more temperamental than butter-based ones, so heads up. If it ends up too runny, chill it for an hour, then re-whip. You could also add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut flour, as coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture. If it’s clumpy, just keep whipping for several more minutes. That means the shortening or butter was probably too cold, so it just needs to warm up. And if you need more tips – Google is your friend! There’s tons of websites dedicated to helping you with your swiss meringue buttercream. It takes practice, so if your first try doesn’t work, you’re not alone! (but 99% of the time they’re salvageable!).
- If you’re making the crepes a day in advance, store them in a sealed container or stacked in a large ziploc on top of a paper towel (once they’re cooled).
- Keep your layers super thin! Otherwise you’ll run out of buttercream and your cake will be more likely to shift and wobble. The number of layers in this cake mean you’re definitely eating lots of crepe in each bite. If you want more buttercream and less crepe…I’d recommend 13-16 layers with more buttercream. And in that case, I’d double the buttercream recipe below.
- While you can make the cake components ahead of time, I would only assemble before serving. The edges of the crepes with no buttercream will dry out if left uncovered over time.
This cake is definitely a showstopper, so I hope you give it a try! And if it doesn’t work out on your first attempt, look on the bright side. You’ve still got a bottle of amaretto vodka to enjoy!
Merry Christmas!! xo
Coconut Amaretto Crepe Cake
Crepes (makes approx 25 crepes)
Coconut Amaretto Buttercream
- Place all crepe ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix together for one minute. The consistency should be that of a very thin batter. If it's too thick, add more water.
- Cover your batter and refrigerate for 30 minutes, to let the bubbles settle.
- Heat a crepe pan over medium heat. Once hot, lift the pan up, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the pan and quickly swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Place back on the heat and cook for 1-2 minutes. Once the top looks dry, flip it over and cook an additional 30-45 seconds.
- Place the cooked crepe on a paper towel to cool and repeat this process until all crepes are made. Once fully cooled, store the crepes in an airtight container/ziploc with a paper towel until ready to assemble the cake.
- To make the buttercream, combine the egg whites, maple syrup and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl. Make a double boiler by placing this bowl on top of a pot of simmering water (ensuring the water doesn't touch the bottom of the top bowl). Whisk the mixture constantly for 4-5 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Start by whipping on low, then gradually increase the speed to high as the mixture thickens. Whip for several minutes, until stiff peaks have formed and let cool. (*tip - make sure the meringue is fully cooled. Any heat will instantly melt the shortening or butter and make it too runny).
- Turn the mixer back on medium-high speed and add the shortening slowly, in 1 tablespoon increments. It's normal for the meringue to deflate, but it should thicken up. If not, see the tips mentioned above. Continue mixing and add the coconut cream and amaretto, until flavored to your liking, then add the shredded coconut until fully combined.
- To assemble the cake, spread a thin layer of the buttercream on a crepe. Keep the layers thin and flat. Add a crepe and repeat.
- To make the coconut whipped cream, scoop out the solidified coconut cream from the top of the can (leaving the water behind) and place in a bowl. Add the vanilla and honey and beat with a hand mixer for 10-20 seconds.
- Scoop the coconut whipped cream on top of the cake and sprinkle with almonds.
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