Blueberry Lilac Crepe Cake: A Celebration of Ethereality
Spring is such a quickly-moving explosions of new colors, sounds, and scents. I try to spend as much time as possible out in it, for fear that I’ll blink and miss all its magic. The floral scents of this time of year are as entrancing as they are ethereal. Some of those lovely scents can be captured and preserved to enjoy during summer’s heat or winter’s starkness: violet sugar, elderflower syrup, rose jam, etc. But one beauty of springtime is a little more difficult to capture in a bottle.
Lilac enchants us with her powerful fragrance, an ethereal marker of spring. Those richly layered floral tones are even more precious for their scarcity, for lilac’s fragrance cannot be captured and preserved in the ways that rose, elderflower, and honeysuckle can. Infusions of lilac often turn bitter or grassy; sugars infused with the blossoms lose their fragrance quickly. There are no natural lilac syrups, no preserves, no scented sweetness. There is only a brief window in spring when we can soak up all of lilac’s loveliness before it vanishes into the spinning of time for another year. Show it reverence when you can.
This layered crepe cake is a wonderful way to highlight the beautiful flavor of lilac blossoms. Bright purple crepes are made with the addition of blueberry puree - a subtle flavor that can compliment the lilac-infused whipped cream (dyed blue with a tiny bit of blue spirulina, which gives color without flavor.) Serve this cake at your next faerie gathering and your guests will surely be impressed. Especially the Lilac Fairy. I have heard that this is her favorite.
*Note: You’ll want to begin infusing the lilac cream at least 24 hours before you make this treat. Just get a pint of heavy whipping cream, open it, and stick in about ½ c. of fresh lilac blossoms, separated from their stems, rinsed, and patted dry. Then close the cream container and let infuse overnight or up to 48 hours.
Naturally purple with a faint blueberry flavor, these crepes are the perfect compliment to delicate violet cream!
1 c. blueberry puree
⅓ c. milk
2 egg whites
½ c. melted butter
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp. Baking powder
1 c. flour
Add the blueberry puree, milk, egg whites, and butter to a blender and mix on low speed until smooth. Add the salt, baking powder, and flour and turn it on again just until everything is combined and no lumps remain. (Note: crepe batter is fairly runny, like a thick heavy cream. Add more milk if needed to thin it out.)
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Rub a tiny bit of butter onto it.
Once the pan is hot, you can start making your crepes. Holding the pan handle in your dominent hand, use a cup measure to pour in ⅓ c. batter. Immediately and gently tilt the pan around to move the batter to the edges and make an even surface. (This takes a little practice sometimes - the first crepe is for eating, anyways ;) )
Once the top is no longer shiny and wet-looking and the edges are just starting to pull away from the pan, gently flip the crepe over and cook the other side until it’s lightly browned. With purple batter this will look like a darker purple.
Place the crepes aside as you make them.
1 pint lilac-infused cream (see above)
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. Gelatin
¼ c. water
½ tsp. Blue spirulina powder (optional - just for color.)
Strain the cream and discard the lilac blossoms.
In a heat-proof bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and leave it to “bloom” for 5 minutes.
Heat the gelatin mixture in the microwave until it is liquid. Stir to dissolve any lumps.
Start whipping your cream using a hand or stand mixer. Once it starts making very soft peaks, add the powdered sugar and continue to beat.
Once the cream has firm peaks, keep mixing as you slowly pour in the gelatin mixture in a steady stream. Add the blue spirulina powder and mix until evenly incorporated.
To Assemble Cake:
1 recipe blueberry crepes
1 recipe lilac cream
2 c. fresh blueberries, washed
A lilac sprig, for garnish
Spoon the whipped cream into an icing bag fitted with a star tip.
Set down one crepe, then pipe little rosettes around the top edge and fill in the middle with whipped cream. Stick blueberries around the outside and disperse evenly in the cream in the middle. Stack another crepe on top.
Repeat this process until all of the crepes, berries, and cream have been used (depending on your size of crepe pan, number of crepes tasted beforehand, and size of your piping tip, you may run out of one ingredient before the others. That’s okay!)
Once your cake is all layered up, it’s ready to serve! It’s a bit easier to slice if you refrigerate it for 1 hour first for the cream to set up. If you refrigerate longer than 1 hour, be sure to cover the cake gently with plastic wrap to keep the cream from drying out. This cake should be eaten within 4 hours of making it.
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*New to foraging and don’t know where to start? Check out this blog post on Foraging 101!