Crepes have always been one of my favorite breakfast foods. My Dad made them for my brother and me a lot when we were growing up. And they were one of the first things I learned to make….mostly cause I wanted to eat them all the time. I’m not sure exactly when it was that I discovered crepe cakes, but I remember being SUPER impressed by them. I mean they basically combine two of my favorite things – crepes and cakes. So developing a crepe cake has been on my list for a while now. But I didn’t want to make just any old crepe cake. I wanted something a little different and so I decided to create a gluten-free Cannoli Crepe Cake.
The recipe starts off with gluten-free pistachio crepes. Which are so freaking good. I ate waaaaay too many of these when I was developing the recipe. And am probably going to make some more today cause I can’t stop thinking about them! The crepes are made gluten-free thanks to a combination of pistachio, almond, and arrowroot flour. The pistachio flour is one of of my new favorite alternative flours and provides a rich, nutty, and almost buttery flavor. To balance out the sweetness in the filling, I left the crepes unsweetened. But if you prefer things on the sweeter side – feel free to add a tablespoon of maple syrup.
A creamy ricotta filling is layered with the pistachio crepes. The filling has bright, beautiful citrus notes from the fiori di sicilia extract and lemon zest. Both of which complement the pistachio flavor of the crepes. The fiori di sicilia is optional, but if you can get your hands on some I highly recommend it. It gives the cake that little something extra. To lighten the filling up a bit, I folded in some whipped cream. Then to give it a bit of texture, I added in some mini-chocolate chips and coarsely chopped pistachios.
The cake has a few different elements and takes some time to make. So be sure to read through the recipe before starting it and allow yourself some extra time! It’s a gorgeous dessert though and never fails to impress.
Tips for Making the Cannoli Crepe Cake:
- It’s important to drain the ricotta before making the filling (instructions on how to do so are in the recipe notes). This gets rid of any excess moisture and ensures your filling won’t weep.
- Make sure to let the crepe batter rest for at least one hour. This gives the flour time to fully hydrate.
- Not all your crepes have to be perfect! If some come out a little less attractive looking – just use those ones for the middle layers.
- You can break the steps up over the course of two days if you don’t feel like making everything at once. The crepes can easily be made the day ahead. Then the next day all you have to do is making the filling and assemble the cake!
- Don’t forget to chill the assembled cake for at least an hour before serving. This gives the layers plenty of time to set.
Cannoli Crepe Cake (gluten-free)
Gluten-free pistachio crepes layered with a creamy ricotta filling studded with mini-chocolate chips and coarsely chopped pistachios.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: One 6 or 8-inch cake
For the pistachio crepes:
• ¾ cup pistachio flour
• ¼ cup almond flour
• ½ cup arrowroot flour
• 3 large eggs
• 1 large egg yolk
• ¾ cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the ricotta filling:
• 2 cups ricotta, drained (see recipe notes for instructions)
• ½ cup powdered sugar
• ¾ teaspoon lemon zest
• ¼ teaspoon fiori di sicilia extract (optional)
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• pinch of salt
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream
• ⅓ cup mini-chocolate chips
• ¼ cup coarsely chopped pistachios
To make the crepes, place all the ingredients in a blender and process until you have a completely smooth batter. You can also do this by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and using an immersion blender (which is what I usually do!). Place the batter in the fridge to rest for at least one hour or up to overnight.
Once the batter has rested, heat a 6 or 8-inch pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with coconut oil. Pour in 3 tablespoons of the batter and then tip and swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom. Cook until the crepe looks like it’s beginning to set and the edges start to pull away from the sides (about 2- 3 minutes). Then gently flip the crepe over and cook for another 30 – 45 seconds. Place the crepe on a wire rack to cool. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat and adding more coconut oil as necessary.
You will need 10 – 15 crepes for the cake and they can be made a day ahead of time. Just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the fridge.
To make the ricotta filling, whisk together the drained ricotta, powdered sugar, lemon zest, fiori di sicilia extract, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
Add the heavy whipping cream to a medium sized bowl and, using a hand mixer, whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture. Once it is fully incorporated, fold in the mini-chocolate chips and coarsely chopped pistachios.
To assemble the cake, place one crepe on a plate and evenly spread ¼ cup of the ricotta filling on top of the crepe. Place another crepe on top of the filling and then repeat the process – layering the filling and the crepes. I like to use at least 10 crepes and ideally 15 when making the cake, but feel free to use more or less! And try to save the prettiest crepe for the top of the cake….just cause it looks nice.
Lightly cover the crepe cake in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Before serving, top the cake with some extra whipped cream and a sprinkle of mini-chocolate chips and pistachios. This cake is best the day it’s assembled, but will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To drain the ricotta, line a fine meshed sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. Spoon the ricotta on top of the cheesecloth and then place in the fridge to let drain for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Keywords: gluten-free, crepe cake, cannoli