An unusual and insanely delicious Birthday cake

You know when you’re really excited about something and it’s hard to sit still and focus? Well that’s how I’m feeling today. So I’ll keep it short and sweet.

What’s all the excitement about?

First of all it’s my Birthday this week!

To continue the Stonesoup tradition I started last year, I have some treats in store for you!

Plus I’m going to be celebrating this year by having a long boozy lunch with my Irishman at Noma in Copenhagen – currently rated the best restaurant in the world. Which of course means a trip to the Northern Hemisphere.

So while we’re in the neighborhood, we’re going to visit my Irishman’s family in Limerick and also have a few days exploring Paris and Rome. Can’t wait!

But enough about me let’s get to the treats…

the Birthday cake

I started thinking about my birthday cake for this year over 3 months ago. I wanted it to be something special and of course insanely delicious. I also wanted it to be something new and different and of course be super easy to make and 5 ingredients or less.

Big ask. Right?

I wasn’t sure I’d find something to fit all the criteria. Then one Saturday night I made a bread and butter pudding for dessert which was lovely as expected. For some reason we went to bed without putting the leftovers in the fridge.

Anyway, the next morning there was the leftover pudding in all it’s super moist glory sitting out in the kitchen. I just had to have a little sneaky taste. Which of course led to another.

I can still remember the custardy, creamy cakey goodness. And then it hit me… if I tweaked a few things, added a little chocolate and baked the pudding in a loaf pan, it would make the most amazing cake.

And I was right!

Which brings me to the other part of the Stonesoup Birthday tradition…

the Birthday sale

2MMP 3D Cover

For the next 72 hours, you can pickup a copy of the 2-Minute Meal Plan for OVER 59% OFF. This is your last chance to get the 2-Minute Meal Plan at a discount this year.

To find out if the 2-Minute Meal Plan is right for you before the Birthday Sale ends go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/2mmp/

UPDATE: The Birthday Sale is now over. A big THANKYOU to everyone who picked up a copy supported Stonesoup! I really appreciate it.

croissant surprise bday cake-5

croissant surprise birthday cake
serves 6-8

This cake is every bit as delicious as it looks – maybe more so. When I was editing the photos just now, I had a strong urge to bake it again even though I should be packing and writing to you. It’s that good (if I do say so myself).

If you’re wondering about the ‘surprise’ it’s all about a hidden layer of rich dark chocolate.

600mL (2.5 cups) whipping cream (35% milk fat)
3 eggs
100g (3.5oz) sugar
3 large croissants
small handful dark chocolate, broken into chunks

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper.

2. Combine cream eggs and sugar in a large bowl.

3. Slice croissants into rounds about 1cm (1/2in) thick. Add to the cream mixture and stand for a few minutes allowing the croissants to soak up the custard.

4. Layer half the soaked croissants in the prepared loaf pan. Scatter over the chocolate.

5. Layer remaining croissants over the top and pour any leftover custard on top.

6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cake is well browned and you can’t see any liquid custard when you press on the top. Cool in the tin.

VARIATIONS
diary-free – replace the croissants with about 8 thick slices of bread and replace the cream with coconut cream.

milk chocolate – I love the dark chocolate version but I’m happy to report that it’s also lovely, if a little sweeter using milk chocolate.

vegan/ egg-free
- Sorry! The eggs are really needed for texture and flavour here.

vanilla / chocolate-free - skip the chocolate and add the seeds of 1 vanilla bean to the cream mixture.

boozy – replace some of the cream with Baileys.

individual – divide mixture between 4-5 large ramekins. Should only take 15-20 minutes to bake.

video version of the recipe

Ohh… and if you have any tips for places to eat (or shop) in Paris, Copenhagen, Rome or Ireland, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

With love
Jules x

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{ 66 comments }

Hboja September 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

Just back from family camping holiday in Denmark and Sweden. I can’t comment on Noma, a bit beyond our budget, but everywhere the fish was fantastic especially the marinated herring. I dont usually go for pickled fish. This was great, even the kids ate it. Also good artisan bakers , you must try the rye, and you will find loads of them in Paris too. Too few bakers in England…sigh. Don’t forget the moroccan and Algerian restaurants in France for a change from rich sauces.

jules September 15, 2012 at 3:24 am

Thanks for the tips Hboja!

Carmel September 5, 2012 at 7:43 am

Hi Jules
Yes that sounds yummy, will try it soon.
Happy birthday to you, your holiday sounds amazing, so your Irish man is from Limerick, if you go to Adare, go to wild Geese for dinner, it is really good.
Have a great one.
Regards
Carmel

jules September 15, 2012 at 3:23 am

Thanks for the tip Carmel
We went to Adare last time we were there

Christine September 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

Paris: Kiliwatch – http://goo.gl/maps/lrtE8 – A wonderful used clothing store. Some vintage. Some just used. Huge amounts of just about everything. (I went on a scarf orgy myself.)

They have a web site of their own, but it’s kinda useless for some reason? Anyway, the link above goes to a google map page.

Roxana Ortiz September 5, 2012 at 8:36 am

GO TO:
http://breizhcafe.com/fr-breizh-cafe-paris.html
and of course to pierre herme (chocolate and passion fruit is THE BEST)

yo need to make a reservation at breizh cafe :D

ENJOY!

Shanna September 5, 2012 at 8:55 am

Ireland: The Grand Hotel in Wicklow has good food. The best mushroom soup I’ve ever eaten! I have tried and tried to replicate it and just can’t get close to it.

Abbey Tavern in Howth. You can dine in the restaurant and then go into the pub area
for live traditional irish music and entertainment.

Just for kicks: The Bad Ass Cafe in Dublin. Mostly italian food, pizza, etc. but yummy.

shazzz September 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

so it’s a lovely bread pudding, very comforting on a winters night. I’m thinking a touch of rum..

jules September 15, 2012 at 3:22 am

A little booze wouldn’t go astray Shazzz
Great idea!

Becs September 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

It’s my birthday later this month….guess what I’ll be making!?! YUM!

jules September 15, 2012 at 3:21 am

Happy Birthday Becs!

Beth September 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

Hi Jules

Paris, ah Paris – is it your first time? Pierre Herme is wonderful for fetish grade macaron, but I also like Laduree’s macaron (they are on the Left Bank in St Germain). Funnily, the best meal we ate was in an African restaurant called Waly Fay – review in English here – http://www.hotels-paris-rive-gauche.com/blog/2010/04/28/waly-fay-restaurant-paris/. In Copenhagen, I ate at a terrific Vietnamese restaurant called Le Le Nha Hang – http://lele-nhahang.com/.

Do you have a shoe fetish? Paris is the place for it, be prepared to do some damage!!!

Have a wonderful trip!

jules September 15, 2012 at 3:20 am

Thanks for the tips Beth
I’ve been many times before… but always on the lookout for new discoveries!

Supraja September 5, 2012 at 11:14 am

This is such a cute idea! I am not a vegan but think I have an idea to get around eggs here. Corn starch + vanilla should thicken up milk once cooked like the custard made from Weikfeld’s Custard powder (http://www.weikfield.com/custard_powder.html) This will require preparation of the custard prior to addition but can be a possible vegan variation. I will try it and let you know how it turns out!

jules September 15, 2012 at 3:19 am

Great idea Supraja
You’d also need to find croissants made without butter though

Sarah November 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I am not sure if this is helpful everywhere, but I live in a Jewish neighbourhood and the kosher bakery makes dairy-free croissants. So it’s not impossible. I am not sure if this is just a Montreal thing, since there is a large mix of Hasidic Jews and French influences (croissants).

jules November 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Interesting Sarah!
Thanks for sharing

Susan B September 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Pizzeria Baffetto in the Piazza Navona. Best pizza we had in *all* of Italy – don’t even think of splitting one with your Irishman – in fact, order a 2nd just to be on the safe side!

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/rome/restaurants/pizzeria/pizzeria-da-baffetto#ixzz25YlJXKwr

jules September 15, 2012 at 3:18 am

Thanks Susan!

Henriette September 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Hi Jules,

Happy birthday! And when you go to Paris, consider http://www.lepreverre.com/en/paris.html
Wonderful food (parsley icecream with strawberries!) and not too expensive.

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:23 am

thanks Henriette!

Lynn September 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Recipe sounds wonderful…thanks for sharing. While in Dublin, check out Bewley’s Cafe on the Grafton Mall…it’s a great stop for a cuppa and morning tea.

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:22 am

thx Lynn

Nina September 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

For a few adresses of “where to eat” in Paris, I advise you to take a look at this page : http://www.webflakes.com/paris-restaurants.html

Nice choices of adresses, from the cheapest to the fanciest ! Never been disappointed by these advices myself.

You can even sort them by price : http://www.webflakes.com/s/from-30-to-60-euros.html

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:20 am

Thanks Nina!

Paula September 6, 2012 at 4:25 am

When you’re in Rome go to ArLu a San Pietro, Borgo Pio, 135 (ristorantearlu.com). It’s near St Peters square and we were taken there by a local. It’s a long-time family owned restaurant with authentic Italian food that is so good and minimal ingredients that you’ll appreciate. I’ve sent a few friends there now and they all love it. I think it has odd hours so check ahead, it may be mostly a lunch spot.

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:18 am

thanks Paula!

Tabatha September 6, 2012 at 6:21 am

Sounds delicious and easy.
In Ireland I love Butler’s Pantry for baked goods, and they have cold takeaway meals to be heated and eaten at home. Home cooked and delicious. Enjoy your trip!

Andy September 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Made out of croissants? Genius!

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:15 am

Thanks Andy!

Chantelle@themarketbasket September 6, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Whoa nelly that looks amazing and so easy, one to remember for next special occasion… Reckon raspberry jam could also work instead of chocolate. Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate!

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:14 am

Yes Chantrelle
Jam would be lovely… I’d probably cut back on the sugar a little though

PACO September 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm

From Madrid: Happy birthday Jules!

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:13 am

Thanks Paco!
I love Madrid

Marilou Garon September 7, 2012 at 5:19 am

Happy birthday to you!

May I ask if this cake is better made one day ahead, or if it is better eaten warm out of the oven? I’m wondering whether to bake it Friday night, for a Saturday breakfast. This will make a little 5 year-old boy very happy on his birthday morning!

Best wishes from Montreal.

jules September 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thanks Marilou!
Its great either warm, cold or at room temp
Enjoy!
Jx

Melissa September 8, 2012 at 2:51 am

If I may… I baked this last night with croissants from IGA (I’m in Montreal too!) and the cake is super moist and delicious – fresh from the oven, it was softer and wetter, and after sitting on the counter overnight, it held its shape better and was more firm but still creamy, if that influences your decision! Both equally delicious.

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:09 am

thanks for sharing Melissa!

Maria September 7, 2012 at 5:52 am

Wow, you’re going to CPH ?! Nice .. :D
You’ve got to check out Mêlée, on Frederiksberg .. It’s a genuine nice place with really good comfortfood – the guys are really good in the kitchen and they have nice wine too, plus they arent that expensive.
If you dont have the cash to go to Noma, you should def go to Relæ (Relae). It’s the former sous-chef from Noma, Christian F, who’s now doing simple and honest food – it’s REALLY good and it’s not that expensive either. In Relæ you’ll fall head over heels in love with food !!! :D

Have a good trip !
- Maria

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:13 am

Thanks Maria!
We’re super excited about Noma … but appreciate the other options :)

brighteyedbaker September 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

Happy Birthday! The trip sounds like a blast :)
The cake looks amazing too! Croissants and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

jules September 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

thanks!
Yes chocolate and croissants are a winner!

Melissa September 8, 2012 at 2:47 am

Just baked this last night and it is divine, however, it needed quite a bit more cooking time and today, it’s very very moist and compact (it fell considerably overnight). It’s still delicious, but yours looks a little less wet? I think I’ll try scaling back to 2 eggs, 400 ml cream and 60-ish g of sugar for 3 croissants next time – maybe yours were bigger or crispier than mine? Regardless, it is soooo good, thank you for a gorgeous recipe!

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:10 am

Sounds like your croissants were smaller… so you could either increase the croissants or decrease the custard as you’ve suggested above Melissa!
Glad you liked it anyway

Ninakne September 9, 2012 at 1:36 am

YUM! I made it as soon as i saw it, and LOVED it!!!

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

Thanks for reporting back Ninakne!

Hannah September 9, 2012 at 11:40 am

The best meal experience I’ve ever had was in Paris at Bofinger Brasserie – http://www.bofingerparis.com/en/. The dessert gazpacho was particularly memorable!

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

Thanks for the suggestion Hannah!

cindi September 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm

My young daughter is making this for my birthday tomorrow and I’m so excited! After watching the video though (thank goodness) I realised, I must get these from our local bakery and NOT the super market. Thanks Jules!

jules September 15, 2012 at 12:56 am

Enjoy Cindi!
You’re lucky your daughter is cooking for you
Jx

Rachel September 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Looks delicious! Happy birthday and have an amazing time at Noma. I’m actually off to Rome this weekend and welcome any food tips…I’m hoping to make it to Pizzarium (and maybe a couple of these others) http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2011/jul/13/top-10-pizza-places-rome

As for Paris, I had an utterly wonderful meal at Le Bamboche: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CCMQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lebamboche.com%2F&ei=ddlNUOnnMqqr0QW1oIDAAg&usg=AFQjCNG2ymCbxWdW-Qc9mv4D9dzTLOe2Ew&sig2=k8ai_qPvpJQH3dx34xDQXw

jules September 15, 2012 at 12:48 am

Thanks Rachel!
Have a great trip

Anastasia September 12, 2012 at 5:24 am

Hi Jules!
Happy Birthday and man am I glad you have this great tradition and I came along to read about your birthday cake recipe of the year! I love it. Love how simple it is and how obviously tasty it will be once I’ve made it:-)

jules September 15, 2012 at 12:45 am

Thanks Anastasia!

Nikki September 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Hi Jules,
Thanks so much for this recipe. I made it for my family last night and they absolutely loved it. It was so easy to make too. Happy Birthday!

jules September 15, 2012 at 12:43 am

Thanks Nikki!
So glad you liked it

Zeeona @ Basil and Strawberry September 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm

What a wonderful idea! I am new here on your blog, signed up immediately! I love the design and the photos.

jules September 15, 2012 at 12:42 am

Thanks Zeeona!

Kathy September 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

Hello,
Interesting artilce about Noma in The Washington Post magazine today —

In Copenhagen, Noma restaurant offers food for thought

By Jason Wilson
Few consider the faith of the food writer. And this is probably a good thing. I won’t say that to worship food and drink is to pray to a false god. But even with all the high-minded talk of farm-to-table or Slow Food movements, of molecular gastronomy or urban gardening, of locavorism or fruitarianism or whatever-the-latest-ism, in my experience it rarely leads one down the shining path of enlightenment.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/food-for-thought/2012/09/10/66300e1e-ed3a-11e1-b09d-07d971dee30a_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

jules November 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Thanks Kathy

Netanya September 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

Love your blog Jules! If you haven’t left yet, I would suggest Angelina’s by the Louvre or La Crêperie de Josselin!

Bon Voyage!

Netanya

Katherine September 29, 2012 at 1:16 am

Hi Jules,
I made this for my husband’s birthday and it was so good! Everyone loved it. And it is so simple to make.
Then I talked about it at work and everyone wanted the recipe. It’s a great idea!

jules November 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Yay Katherine!

cynthia swann November 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Discovered your site when looking for gluten free ideas.Tried and succeeded with a couple of your ‘clever’ recipes. Can this dessert cake be made with gluten free bread? Thank you Cynthia S

jules November 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I guess you could make it with GF bread Cynthia
But I’d butter each slice first so it’s a bit richer and more like a croissant.
let me know how you get on if you do try it.

Nanna January 25, 2013 at 1:11 am

Hi Jules!

What a incredible and beautiful blog you got!!!
I live in Sweden with my mom and my older sister but I am half danish.
If you ever come to Sweden I have a few places you need to go too.
The first is a shop called petite violette, who is owned by some of our Australia n friends
http://www.petiteviolette.com/
And if you feel a bit hungry there is a really cool coffeebar with amazing sandwiches 5 minutes away, http://www.coffeemaniac.se/ the website is only in Swedish but the address is Davidshallsgatan 25, malmö.

And if you to Copenhagen you must try sticks’n sushi, http://www.sushi.dk:80/info/om_os.html
And my two favorite kitchen stores is Skjalm P, http://www.hskjalmp.dk/Default.aspx?pageid=2349 and konst og køkken, http://www.kunstogkokkentoj.dk/

Here is just a few tips but just let my know of your going to Copenhagen or Malmö.

Thank you so much for this wonderful blog,

xxxxx
Nanna

And if go to Copenhagen you will absolutely love sticks’n'sushi, http://www.sushi.dk:80/info/om_os.html

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