It’s my dad’s birthday today! That means lots of cooking for me, which I am very excited about. I started out with a quiche for breakfast, and I’m doing chicken fajitas, at his request, for dinner, but what I’m really excited about is his cake! His favourite treat is chocolate eclairs, which I did try to make and was excited about, but I swiftly discovered that I am really bad at making cream puffs, and scrapped that plan. I must admit, I was annoyed. I tried several times, and just was never able to get them right, which has never happened before. I will keep trying, and if I ever get them they’ll be on here, but I don’t have high hopes. Sigh.
I did, however, discover that I’m good at making pastry cream, which just so happens to be his favourite part of the eclair anyway, so I decided to turn it into a cake. This recipe makes a small cake (the size of a loaf pan, but could feed a surprising amount of people–very rich), and is pretty simple. My dad prefers his eclairs frozen, so this is kind of an ice cream cake which I made the night before, but you could try it just chilled instead. If may be kind of prone to falling apart if you do that, though. Experiment 🙂
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups crushed grahm crackers
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp milk (I used cream)
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
I know I said it was easy, and that looks like a long list, but it really isn’t difficult. You can’t mess this up.
Start with the pastry cream, as it should chill in the fridge for an hour or two before use. I got my recipe from Dessert For Two, which is such a wonderful blog!
Grab a medium saucepan, and warm the whipping cream until the tiniest of bubbles appear on the edge of the pan, making sure not to boil it. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the egg yolks, and whisk, to create a crumbly mixture. Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking as you do. When finished, pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat, and whisk constantly while it comes to a simmer. Once simmering, it will begin to thicken. Once large bubbles pop on the surface, continue to cook for a few more seconds while whisking, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, then chill in the fridge.
Crust time! I took a sleeve of honey grahm crackers and crushed them in the loaf pan I was using for the cake, by smushing them with a meat tenderizer, then I poured the melted butter into the mix and combined them well, then separated half of the mixture out to a separate bowl. Press the crumbs into a flat layer on the bottom of the loaf pan.
Next, spread the chilled cream in a smooth layer over that, being careful not to pull up the grahm cracker crust as you do.
Sprinkle the other half of the crust evenly over the cream, and VERY gently press it down, without disturbing the cream.
Put that in the freezer while you very quickly make the glaze. You have to be careful, because it sets up really fast, so you need to be ready to pour. There will be just enough to cover the cake, but you’ll need to scrape the pot. If you want to be really safe, double the recipe.
In a saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then add milk. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Blend your confectioners sugar and cocoa powder into the butter mixture and add vanilla. If consistency is too stiff (which mine was), add more milk (I used a splash of almond). Quickly pour evenly over the entire cake, and watch with satisfaction as it quickly sets up into a beautiful glossy finish 😀
Cover with foil, and place in the freezer.
You’ll have a hard time slicing this, I must say, and this tiny loaf pan could have fed about 16 people, easily! This is the richest, most decadent thing you will eat, but you will love every second of it! It was a total score with my fabulous dad. To slice, get a large knife (for leverage) and run it under hot water several times as you slice. It’ll take patience, but you can do it!
Here’s the man of the hour! I honestly feel bad for any kids who don’t have him as a dad.