≡ Menu

An unusual and insanely delicious Birthday cake

croissant surprise bday cake-4

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 treat…

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!

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.

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

{ 72 comments… add one }
  • Hboja 5 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 3:24 am

      Thanks for the tips Hboja!

  • Carmel 5 September, 2012, 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.

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 3:23 am

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

  • Christine 5 September, 2012, 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 5 September, 2012, 8:36 am

    GO TO:
    and of course to pierre herme (chocolate and passion fruit is THE BEST)

    yo need to make a reservation at breizh cafe :D


  • Shanna 5 September, 2012, 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 5 September, 2012, 9:18 am

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

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 3:22 am

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

  • Becs 5 September, 2012, 9:36 am

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

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 3:21 am

      Happy Birthday Becs!

  • Beth 5 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 3:20 am

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

  • Supraja 5 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 3:19 am

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

      • Sarah 15 November, 2012, 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 19 November, 2012, 4:16 pm

          Interesting Sarah!
          Thanks for sharing

  • Susan B 5 September, 2012, 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!


    • jules 15 September, 2012, 3:18 am

      Thanks Susan!

  • Henriette 5 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 1:23 am

      thanks Henriette!

  • Lynn 5 September, 2012, 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.

  • Nina 5 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 1:20 am

      Thanks Nina!

  • Paula 6 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 1:18 am

      thanks Paula!

  • Tabatha 6 September, 2012, 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 6 September, 2012, 5:41 pm

    Made out of croissants? Genius!

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 1:15 am

      Thanks Andy!

  • Chantelle@themarketbasket 6 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 1:14 am

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

  • PACO 6 September, 2012, 9:49 pm

    From Madrid: Happy birthday Jules!

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 1:13 am

      Thanks Paco!
      I love Madrid

  • Marilou Garon 7 September, 2012, 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 7 September, 2012, 3:55 pm

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

    • Melissa 8 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 1:09 am

        thanks for sharing Melissa!

  • Maria 7 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 1:13 am

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

  • brighteyedbaker 7 September, 2012, 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 7 September, 2012, 4:06 pm

      Yes chocolate and croissants are a winner!

  • Melissa 8 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 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 9 September, 2012, 1:36 am

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

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 1:01 am

      Thanks for reporting back Ninakne!

  • Hannah 9 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 1:01 am

      Thanks for the suggestion Hannah!

  • cindi 10 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 12:56 am

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

  • Rachel 10 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 12:48 am

      Thanks Rachel!
      Have a great trip

  • Anastasia 12 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 12:45 am

      Thanks Anastasia!

  • Nikki 12 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 12:43 am

      Thanks Nikki!
      So glad you liked it

  • Zeeona @ Basil and Strawberry 12 September, 2012, 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 15 September, 2012, 12:42 am

      Thanks Zeeona!

  • Kathy 17 September, 2012, 9:21 am

    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.


  • Netanya 24 September, 2012, 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!


  • Katherine 29 September, 2012, 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 5 November, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Yay Katherine!

  • cynthia swann 23 November, 2012, 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 26 November, 2012, 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 25 January, 2013, 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
    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,


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

  • Elly 30 January, 2017, 10:43 pm

    I’m glad I decided to search bread and butter pudding for a birthday cake. My dad is 75 in a couple of days and I really hope he likes this twist on his favorite as he isn’t a sweet tooth. Hope your travel went well!! Cheers:)) many happy returns

Leave a Comment