Mango Mille Crepe Cake (芒果千层可丽饼蛋糕)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

mango mille crepe cake photoCrepes may be tough and rubbery. Or they may be soft and delicate . . . so delicate they fall apart in the pan when you flip them.

What makes good crepes good, and bad crepes bad?


Batter with too much gluten makes rubbery crepes. Batter with too little gluten makes overly delicate crepes that tear easily. Making good crepes is about getting the right amount of gluten. Once you nail that, you win 50% of the battle.

What's the basic building block for gluten? Flour protein. Too much flour protein would create too
much gluten, and vice versa. The ratio of flour to other ingredients is crucial. And so is the type of
mango mille crepe cake photoflour. Some flours have more protein; some have less.

The amount of oil and egg yolk in the batter is also important. Why? Because fat reduces gluten formation, so it has a big impact on how the crepes turn out.

How much should you stir the batter? Stirring increases gluten formation. When you're making the batter, mix just enough to make it smooth.

Frying crepes one by one takes time. As the batter sits, the flour in the mixture sinks to the bottom of the bowl. To keep it evenly mixed, remember to stir now and then. Otherwise, crepes made with
thinner batter will tear. And crepes made with thicker batter will be rubbery.

mango mille crepe cake photoMost crepe recipes tell you to sieve the batter, and let it rest before frying. That's because there's a lot of flour in those recipes. Sieving removes some of the flour (which sticks to the sieve). And resting relaxes the gluten. Without these two steps, the crepes would be rubbery.

My recipe is different from others. It has far less flour. The batter would have too little flour, and the gluten would be too weak if it's sieved and rested. It must be fried once it's made.

If you want crepes that have the right texture, flavour and look, getting the batter right isn't enough.
You must also get the heat right.

The pan must be hot enough. Why? Because heat turns the water in eggs and milk into steam, which
mango mille crepe cake photomakes the crepes puff up. When crepes puff up more, they're softer.

Heat is also needed to turn crepes brown. The browning gives crepes a lacy look, and it enhances the fragrance of the crepes.

The frying pan mustn't be too hot either. If it is, the batter sets once it hits the pan, and the crepe
would be too thick. Thick crepes are tough. When the pan isn't too hot, there's time to swirl the batter into a thin layer before it sets. Good crepes are just thick enough to flip without breaking.

Turning a pile of crepes into mille crepe cake takes a lot of filling. If I fill my mille crepe cake with only whipped cream, that's way too rich for me.

mango mille crepe cake photoI need to lighten whipped cream with something. Pastry cream? Too much work. Durian? The fridge will smell for days. Strawberries? Too hard. Mangoes? Hey, bingo!

Sweet and soft, mangoes go well with crepes and cream in both flavour and texture. The cheerful yellow doesn't hurt either. Who doesn't like colourful food?

Most people make about 20 crepes for their mille crepe cake. I do only 11. Why? Because I have a layer of mango between each crepe. That's adding 10 layers in total, so my cake isn't short at all.

Here's how I make my sunny, cheerful, and delicious mango mille crepe cake:

(Recipe for one 16 cm cake)

Crepes (makes 11 pieces using 18 cm frying pan)
mango mille crepe cake photo30 g sugar
100 g eggs
15 g egg yolk
30 g corn oil
60 g plain flour
200 g full-fat milk
1/4 tsp pandan paste

lard for greasing steel pan
or corn oil if using non-stick

200 g dairy cream with 35% fat, cold
30 g sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 mangoes, each about 250 g

To make crepes
1) Mix sugar with eggs, yolk and corn oil till dissolved. Sift plain flour into mixture. Mix till even and smooth. Add half of full-fat milk. Mix till even and smooth. Add remaining milk. Mix till even and smooth.

mango mille crepe cake photo2) Heat 18 cm frying pan over medium-low heat till medium-hot (125-130ºC). Reduce heat to low. Grease pan lightly.

3) Measure 39 g batter into cup. Pour into middle of pan. Swirl quickly to form even layer. Measure another 39 g batter into cup. Set aside. When crepe turns slightly brown around edges (takes about 30 seconds), loosen and flip with flexible spatula. Fry till second side is slightly brown (about 20 seconds). Remove crepe to plate. Repeat frying as before, making 11 crepes in total. Whilst frying, mix batter gently once per batch of 3-4 crepes.

4) Leave crepes till cool. Refrigerate till thoroughly chilled.

mango mille crepe cake photoTo make filling
5) Whip dairy cream with sugar till thick. Add vanilla extract. Whip till cream is just stiff enough to stick to whisk. Place cream in fridge.

5) Peel mangoes. Cut into 1 mm thick slices. Discard peel and seeds.

To assemble cake
6) Place 1 crepe on serving plate. Spread with 23 g whipped cream. Top with mangoes. Place another crepe on mango layer and repeat layering as before, making sure cake isn't lopsided.

7) Gently press top of cake with bottom of cake pan. Cover cake with pan. Refrigerate for about 12 hours. Serve.

Macarons, French Meringue Method (法式马卡龙)

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Here are 12 FAQ to help you make macarons:

1) Which almond flour?
I use Phoon Huat's superfine almond flour. PH sells three types of almond flour. Only the one labeled "SUPERFINE" is good for macarons.

Almond flour that's not "macaron grade" is too coarse. Can you grind it to make it superfine? If you have a super duper grinder that's leagues ahead of what most people have at home, yes.

Edith Chong Pei See: A Thief?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Some readers share my recipes on their blogs, such as here, here and here. The bloggers in these examples rewrite the instructions, in their own words. I am flattered and happy that they share my recipes with their readers.

Sadly, not all bloggers are honest. Some people just copy and paste from my blog.

Copying word for word, or almost word for word, is an infringement of copyright, even when the original author is credited. If it weren't, we can all upload best selling books and make loads of money, right?

Matcha Swiss Roll

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Knock, knock!

Who's there?


Matcha who?

Much ado about Swiss rolls.

This is another Swiss roll post, the third on this blog. 

Marble Butter Sponge Cake (Tang Mian Method)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Tàng, 烫: scald.

Miàn, 面: flour.

Tang mian is roux, made by cooking flour in bubbling hot butter.

Tang mian cake has the fluffiness of chiffon cake and the butteriness of butter cake. It has the best of two cake worlds but that's not all. It is smooth, smoother than chiffon or butter cake could ever be.

Some people call tang mian "cooked dough" instead of "roux". And the cake is sometimes called "黄金蛋糕" or "golden sponge cake". Hey, a rose by any other name . . . .

Chocolate Swiss Roll (巧克力瑞士蛋糕卷)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

If you've never made Swiss roll before, or never made one successfully, please don't try my chocolate Swiss roll recipe.

Making chocolate Swiss roll is a bit tricky. Why? Because cocoa powder complicates things. If you want a straightforward recipe, go for vanilla roll. That's almost idiot-proof (not that idiots are the lowest common denominator).

Cocoa powder makes the cake less stretchable, so you have to be careful not to overbake the cake. Even slight overbaking makes the cake crack when you roll it.