Layers and layers of buttery crepes, butterscotch pastry cream, sliced bananas, and rich chocolate ganache come together in a Crepe Cake that looks spectacular and tastes freaking amazing.
This Banana Split Crepe Cake was the winning recipe in the baking category of the 2017 Steviva Bloggers Challenge. While it might look like the kind of thing that's sure to put you into a sugar coma, it's actually very low in sugar, proving that sometimes you actually can have your cake and eat it too.
I am seriously in love with this crepe cake, friends.
Ok. So yes - there are several different components to this crepe cake, and you might be looking at the length of the recipe and thinking that the cake requires a culinary degree and a week of spare time. THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
Think of this recipe as 4 for the price of 1. Each component - the butterscotch sauce, pastry cream, crepes, and ganache - is simple to make and a useful low-sugar recipe in and of itself that you'll want to use over and over in all sorts of delicious treats.
Let's break this crepe cake down, layer by rich, decadent layer...
Low Sugar Butterscotch Sauce
But, the traditional version includes 2 cups of sugar. Which is why this rich, flavorful Low-Sugar Butterscotch Sauce is a revelation to me, friends. This version replaces all that sugar with low-carb Nectevia and Fructevia. It's just as tasty as the regular version, but with significantly less sugar.
Also, it's really, really easy. You basically dump everything into a pan and let it simmer for a while.
Low Sugar Butterscotch Pastry Cream
Making this Pastry Cream will take you roughly 15 minutes. And aside from the fact that you must stand at the stove and stir it continuously, it is also mostly about dumping ingredients into a pan and allowing them to cook for a while.
After that, the only challenge is not eating it all by the spoonful before you get around to using it in this crepe cake or whatever other sweet treat you've intended it for.
Can you make pancakes? Than you can make crepes. That's really all a crepe is - a large, thin pancake. Whip up the batter, pour some in a pan, and flip, flip, flip.
Crepes don't typically have much sugar in the batter itself, but, in this recipe, the little bit that was in there has been replaced with Fructevia. They taste just as buttery and rich as the original version, so again - I'm thinking this low-sugar version is my new go-to.
My favorite way to eat crepes is when they are still warm, spread with butter, then sprinkled with sugar and fresh lemon juice. Since I was busy replacing sugar in everything else, I tried sprinkling a crepe with Fructevia instead of the sugar and am happy to report that it was just as delightful.
Chocolate Ganache is nothing more than warm cream and melted chocolate. Warm some cream, pour it over chocolate, let the chocolate melt, stir. That's it.
It will be quite runny at first, but let it sit and cool down for a bit and it transforms into a lovely, spreadable chocolate frosting that's the consistency of Nutella. It's delicious layered into this crepe cake and as a rich, simple icing.
What's a Banana Split without Toppings?
The crunchy salty sweet Candied Peanuts that top this Banana Split Crepe Cake are also a cinch to make - BUT, you don't even have to. If you'd rather, just pick up a jar of roasted peanuts or honey roasted peanuts and call it good. Or any kind of chopped nuts.
If you're a Maraschino cherry kind of person, top your slice with a couple of those.
A dollop of whipped cream would not be unwelcome.
And, of course, a few extra drizzles of butterscotch sauce is a no-brainer.
So there you have it. If you really want to show off your mad baking skills and impress your friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers, this is your cake. "Yes, I made that.... Yes, it's from scratch... I made the crepes too.... Yes, it really is very low in sugar.... No, I'm not a professional baker." (Unless, of course, you are.)
The ratio of "oooh's" and "ahhhh's" you will receive in comparison to the amount of effort it takes to make this crepe cake is excellent. Birthday parties and other holidays will never be the same.
Used in this Recipe:
FOR THE BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup Nectevia
- ½ cup Fructevia
- 2 tablespoon blackstrap, unsulphered molasses
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoon rum
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM:
- 3 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 6 teaspoon cold water
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups cream
- ½ cup granulated Fructevia
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 large egg yolks (Save the whites for Italian Meringue Buttercream or Angle Food Cake)
- 8 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CREPES:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon Fructevia
- 12 large eggs
- 2 ¼ milk
- 2 ¼ cup cream
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 9 tablespoon butter
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
- 18 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (at least 60% cocoa)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2-4 tablespoon Frangelico (optional)
FOR SERVING AND ASSEMBLY:
- 4 medium ripe bananas, sliced into thin, ¼ inch slices
- 12oz Candied peanuts (recipe in notes), OR - roasted salted peanuts or honey-roasted peanuts
- Maraschino cherries (optional)
MAKE THE BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE:
- Add the cream, Nectevia, Fructevia, molasses, and butter to a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
- Turn heat down to medium and boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is deep brown and thick enough to coat a spoon. If you run your finger across a wooden spoon or rubber spatula that's been dipped into the butterscotch sauce, the sauce should be thick enough to hold the line. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the salt, vanilla, rum, and lemon juice. Stir to mx and then stir into butterscotch sauce until blended. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool.
MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM:
- In a small dish, stir the gelatin and water together to combine. There should be just enough water to moisten the gelatin, creating a thick paste. Set aside.
- Add milk, cream, Fructevia, salt, egg yolks, and cornstarch to a large heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk vigorously to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, at which point the mixture will have thickened to the point that the whisk will leave tracks as you stir. Remove from the heat and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds longer. Pour into a bowl.
- Break the gelatin into small pieces, dropping them into the hot pastry cream. Whisk until the gelatin is completely incorporated, about 20 seconds. Whisk in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap over the surface of the pastry cream, and punch a few holes in the surface of the wrap with a sharp knife. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Once cool add all of the butterscotch sauce to the pastry cream - except ¼ cup. (Reserve ¼ cup butterscotch sauce, covered in the refrigerator, for drizzling over the top of the cake.)
- Using an electric mixer, whip the butterscotch sauce into the pastry cream for about 20 seconds, until completely blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
MAKE THE CREPES:
- Add the flour, salt and Fructevia to a bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla together to combine.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and whisk vigorously with wire whisk until batter is smooth. Whisk remaining flour in to the batter just until blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 min.
- Melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl. Stir into batter.
- Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes and brush very lightly with vegetable oil. Using a ½ cup measure, pour batter into the center of the hot pan and quickly swirl the batter in the pan so that it stretches out into a circle that touches the edges of the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the edges of the crepe are set and the center of the crepe is semi-set. Flip the crepe over and cook for 5 - 10 seconds, just until set and lightly browned. Flip the crepe out onto a wire rack to cool. Continue until all the batter has been used. You should have between 16-20 crepes. (*The cake only requires 15 crepes, so if you have one or two tear or burn, you'll still end up with at least 15 crepes.)
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
- Add the chocolate to a medium size bowl.
- Heat the cream over medium high heat just until it barely begins to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the chocolate and cream until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is blended and smooth. Stir in the Frangelico, if using.
- Let cool, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened to a spreadable consistency, similar to Nutella.
ASSEMBLE THE CREPE CAKE:
- Lay one crepe in the center of a plate, cake stand, or serving dish. Spread the crepe with a generous ⅓ cup pastry cream, spreading the cream out into an even layer to within ¼ inch of the edge of the crepe.
- Lay another crepe over the pastry cream and spread with another generous ⅓ cup pastry cream. Lay approximately 30 banana slices over the pastry cream in an even layer so that they are laying edge to edge, but not overlapping.
- Top bananas with another crepe and spread it with a generous ¼ cup chocolate ganache in an even layer that comes to within a ¼ inch of the edges of the crepe.
- Repeat steps 1-3, using a total of 15 crepes, alternating between a layer of pastry cream, a layer of pastry cream and sliced bananas, and a layer of chocolate ganache.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, trim the around the edges of the cake to create straight sides. Use your hands to pat around the sides of the cake, smoothing the edges as much as possible to make it easier to frost.
- Frost the cake with the remaining chocolate ganache.
- Warm the reserved butterscotch sauce slightly in the microwave - about 15 to 20 seconds. Drizzle the sauce over the frosted cake.
- Top the cake with candied peanuts (recipe follows), roasted salted peanuts or honey roasted peanuts and a few maraschino cherries, if desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
How to Make Candied Peanuts
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon water
- 12 oz (about 2 ¼ cup) salted peanuts
- Have at the ready: A large sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil that's been sprayed with non-stick baking spray.
- Add the sugar and water to a medium size saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a rapid boil. Continue to cook until you can see that the bubbles have slowed down a bit.
- Remove from the heat and add the peanuts all at once. Stir to coat with the syrup, continuing to stir until the syrup begins to turn white and crystalize in places.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes. To test that it's the right temperature, toss a couple of peanuts into the pan. They should begin to caramelize within 5-10 seconds. If they begin to burn within that time, the pan is too hot. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool down a bit.
- Add all the peanuts to the skillet and begin stirring. Stir continuously, breaking clumps apart and using the spoon to flip the peanuts from side to side so that they caramelize evenly. Continue to cook until they are a rich golden brown. If they start to smoke, or smell like they are burning, remove from the heat immediately.
- Dump the peanuts onto the parchment paper or foil and allow to cool completely. Break apart.
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Steviva and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. While I was not compensated for my time, I did receive free product samples. As always, all opinions are my own.