…but I just can’t help myself!

Now, let me take you on a little photo journey:

First, I spent a few days making this

Then some judges did this to it…

Then  Leigh (who is on the left) stood on some stairs and said some words…

and handed me this innocuous looking whisk…

which said this!

And congrats to Sean & Lisa for winning the other two categories!

So, like any good winner, I have a few thank yous to say.  Thank you Cosmo’s & Leigh & Ken & the three wonderful judges & all of the other entrants with their lovely cakes and cookies and cupcakes and pies & my boyfriend for putting up with me while I made this cake for three days & my mom for the chocolate baketastic pastry skill genes she gave me AND for also showing up to have a slice & Martha Stewart for her undying provision of inspiration.  Because really, really, where would I be without Martha Stewart?

Dear blogging world, meet my mom.  I look like her.

Right, so about how I won.  Well, back in April 2007, the Daring Bakers took on Martha Stewart’s chocolate crepe cake.  I made the cake for the first time in May 2007 after the posts were up because I wanted to see if it were really so god-awful to make.  I think that month was the first time most DBers cursed on their blog.  The cake was that hard to make.  I made the cake.  I cursed it.  I hated it.  It was that hard to make.  I’m telling you: blood, sweat, and tears.  Of course, I’ve now learned that my crepe recipe was off and that I shouldn’t attempt to flip crepes (I have my own system now), but it was a really bad Saturday.

Fast foward to December 2007.  I had planned on making the crepe cake with a peppermint twist for Cosmo’s First Annual Vegan Bake-Off.  But then I got a weekend job had to work Sundays so I never entered the cake.  This year, with my Sunday free, all bets were off.  After a bit of research, I found a crepe recipe that looked easier to work with (no egg replacer!), decided to use the same method as VCTOTW’s chocolate mousse, and, since I had a bottle of peppermint schnapps sitting in my cupboard, I knew the peppermint twist needed to happen.  The end result?  Three days of work, no crying, no cursing, and one beautiful 14 layer prize-winning cake!

Check out Cosmo’s blog for other info!

Vegan Alcoholic Peppermintastic Dark Chocolate Crepe Cake

For the Crepes:

1-1/2 cups soy milk
1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup melted Earth Balance
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3 tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp  sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons agave nectar syrup
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, blend all ingredients.  Cover and chill the mixture for 2 hours.  (I made the batter the night before I wanted to make the crepes and left it in the fridge overnight–it worked great!)

Lightly grease an 8 inch skillet (I have a crepe pan) with some spray oil. Heat the skillet until hot. Pour approximately 3 tablespoons batter into the skillet. Swirl to make the batter cover the skillet’s bottom.  You want the crepe to be super thin.

Now, if you can flip a crepe, by all means, do that.  I, however can’t.  So here’s my method.  Once the batter covers the skillet, watch it until it starts to solidify like a pancake.  Air pillows will form and poof up the crepe.  When the crepe looks fully cooked (but before the bottom burns!), place a wire cooling rack on top the pan with an oven mit underneath, flip the pan upside down (as if you were flipping a cake out of its pan onto a cooling rack), and voila, one perfectly cooked crepe that didn’t break!

For the mousse filling:

2 15 oz packages of firm Mori-Nu tofu, drained
3/4 cup peppermint schnapps
4 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract
24 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Crumble the tofu into a blender or food processor.  Add the peppermint schnapps, agave, and vanilla.  Puree until completely smooth.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate.  Let cool for a minute or two, then add to the tofu mixture in the blender.  Blend until combined.

Set aside.

For the ganache:

1 1/4 cup soymilk
1 tbsp agave nectar
10 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt

Bring milk, agave nectar, and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate and whisk until melted.

Set aside.

To Assemble:

Day One: Make crepe batter and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Day Two: Make crepes.  Let them cool.

Once cooled, place a crepe on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.  (Or I just did this directly on my cake board–which I made out of cardboard covered with tin foil–and wiped the excess ganache off at the end.)  Spread with about 3 tablespoons of the mousse. Top with another crepe.  Continue layering with the mousse and crepes, ending with a crepe on top. Thanks to crepes breaking and other errors of execution, I only managed 14 layers.  But this can certainly be taller!  Refrigerate until firm (2 hours-overnight).

Day Three: Make the ganache.  Set aside.

Take the cake out of the fridge and trim the edges with a sharp knife until the cake looks uniform.  Then spoon 1/2 cup glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely.

In a freezer ziplock bag, place 20 or so round peppermint candies.  Bash the candies with a hammer until you have pieces.  Using your hands, pat the peppermint pieces onto the side of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving!

And when you serve it, slice it very thinly–this cake is diabetes on a plate.  And super rich.  But super worth it!