Matcha Mille Crepe Cake is a Japanese twist on a classic French pastry of paper-thin crepes layered with fresh whipped cream. Light and creamy, it’s a no-bake cake that’s subtly sweet and slightly earthly from the green tea powder. Perfect for the holidays or any celebration, the rich green layers of this elegant dessert will wow your guests!
In Japan, matcha is not only used in wagashi (Japanese confectionery), but also in many western pastries. Mille crepe cake is no exception. We love this Japanese twist on a classic French pastry, Matcha Mille Crepe Cake (抹茶ミルクレープケーキ).
Table of Contents
What is Matcha Mille Crepe Cake?
But first, what is Matcha (抹茶)? Matcha is green tea powder. Many people ask me if the standard green tea (leaves) can be ground into “matcha”, but unfortunately, they can’t. The quality of the green tea leaves, and the complex process of drying and grinding the leaves is so much different for matcha, that it will not be something you will be able to do in your kitchen. Please read more about matcha where I explain the process in detail.
Mille Crepe Cake (ミルクレープケーキ) is a classic French pastry – Gâteau Mille Crêpes. Mille means ‘thousands’ in French. That’s an exaggeration, but it’s fun to imagine Gâteau Mille Crêpes with 1,000 layers. The pastry usually consists of 10 to 20 layers.
The most unique part of Japanese-style Mille Crepe Cake is the rounded edge of the cake. This Matcha Mille Crepe Cake is subtly sweet (it’s a real compliment to Asian desserts), creamy, and slightly bitter from the matcha flavor coming through the paper-thin layers of crepes.
5 Tips to Make Perfect Matcha Mille Crepe Cake
Tip #1: Good quality matcha powder
Ingredients matter, especially in this Mille Crepe Cake recipe. Number one is a high-quality matcha powder If the matcha powder is relatively cheap, it’s a guarantee that it’s not high-grade matcha. Matcha is pretty expensive, even in Japan. To learn more about where to buy matcha powder, please read more on my matcha post.
Tip #2: Rest the batter for an hour
I know it’s tedious to wait, but resting the batter relaxes the gluten and the dry ingredients continue to soak up moisture from the wet ingredients. As a result, it creates thicker consistency and helps prevent the crepes from breaking.
Tip #3: Heat the pan on low heat
When you heat up the frying pan too quickly, it gets hot spots. To avoid that, you slowly heat up the pan so the pan heats evenly. It’s the key to making those perfect first few crepes. After that first batch, just leave the same low heat on all the way through.
Tip #4: Use two frying pans – one larger than the other
In Japan, slices of mille crepe cake at the pastry shops have this signature look with a rounded edge. To make it perfectly round, make the top layer of the crepe big enough to wrap the outer edge of the cake. Use a round deep plate or shallow bowl (mine is from IKEA – something like this) to ensure a nice curve shape by molding the crepe cake.
Tip #5: Take a breath and swirl the pan slowly
I’m an impatient cook. But I realized it doesn’t help when I want to make a perfect circle crepe. Just breathe, and take your time to swirl the batter slowly with the pan.
Perfect Cake without Using an Oven
Mille Crepe Cake is a rare “cake” recipe that you can make with a frying pan over the stove. So if you don’t have an oven, or if you are looking for a unique dessert, try making this cake for any celebratory occasion or holiday!
Other Delicious Dessert Recipes
- Nougat Glacé Choux with Orange Caramel
- Matcha Swiss Roll (Roll Cake)
- Love all things matcha? Check out these matcha recipes you can enjoy every day or on special occasions.
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Matcha Mille Crepe Cake
- 1¾ cups whole milk (plus 1-2 Tbsp more to thin out the batter; whole milk creates thicker crepes that are easier to handle; if you've made crepes before, you can use reduced-fat milk for thinner crepes)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 1½ Tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 cup cake flour (if you're using a cup measurement, follow this method so you don't scoop more flour than you need; DO NOT use a different type of flour; you can make your own Homemade Cake Flour)
- 2 Tbsp matcha (green tea powder)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- neutral-flavored oil (for cooking the crepes)
For the Fresh Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream (for layering with the crepes)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp matcha (green tea powder) (for dusting)
- fresh whipped cream (optional; make a second batch of the above recipe right before you serve)
Before You Start…
- Please note that this recipe requires 1 hour of resting time and 2 hours of chilling time in addition to the total active cooking time.
- Gather all the ingredients. Please use cake flour only! It’s important not to use flour with a high-gluten content such as bread flour or all-purpose/plain flour for this recipe. Otherwise, you will end up with a rubbery cake.
To Make the Crepe Batter
- Add the milk and sugar to a small saucepan and combine well. Heat on medium until the milk is warm to the touch.
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Then, whisk the eggs continuously as you slowly and gradually add the warmed milk. Next, slowly add the melted butter to the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
- Set up a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl. Add the cake flour, matcha powder, and baking powder to the sieve. Then, sift half of the dry ingredients into the batter. Use a whisk to combine the dry and wet ingredients together.
- Sift the rest of dry ingredients and gently mix just until there are no lumps in the batter. IMPORTANT: Do not overmix; mixing increases gluten formation in the batter and causes a rubbery texture.
- Next, set the fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and pour the batter through the sieve. This will remove any lumps and give you a smooth batter texture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (DO NOT SKIP!) Tip: If you overmix the batter, you may want to rest the batter for a few hours. This allows the gluten to relax. If you don't rest it long enough, the crepes will be more rubbery due to gluten development.
To Cook the Crepes
- Prepare a work surface with a sheet of parchment paper large enough to hold your cooked crepes. Now, make one large crepe for the top layer. First, set a 12-inch nonstick frying pan on low heat. Once the pan is hot, brush the surface with a thin layer of the oil (I used this oil brush); remove any excess oil with a paper towel (don’t worry, a thin layer of oil will remain). Gently stir the batter with a ladle just before scooping to redistribute the liquid and prevent the batter from getting thicker as you go. Then, pour just enough batter to cover the bottom of the frying pan in a thin layer. For my pan, this is about ⅓ cup of batter. Swirl the pan to distribute the batter and form a thin layer. Tip: If your first crepe seems too thick, thin the batter by gradually adding 1-2 Tbsp of milk.
- Cook the crepe for 2 minutes without touching it. After 2 minutes, the outside edge of the crepe will get a bit crispy. Using a chopstick, a spatula, or your hand, carefully flip the crepe.
- Cook the other side for 30 seconds and transfer the crepe to the work surface lined with parchment paper.
- To make the crepes for the cake layers, set a 10-inch nonstick frying pan on low heat. Once the pan is hot*, brush it with the oil and remove any excess with a paper towel. Pour just enough batter to cover the bottom of the frying pan in a thin layer, about ¼ cup (60 ml) for my pan. Swirl the pan to distribute the batter into a thin layer.* The hot pan helps to steam the liquid in the eggs and milk, allowing the crepe to puff up and become softer. But the pan can't be too hot, which ends up cooking the crepe too fast and prevents you from swirling the batter into a thin layer.
- Cook the crepe for 2 minutes without touching. After 2 minutes, the outside edge of the crepe will get a bit crispy. Using a chopstick, a spatula, or your hand, carefully flip the crepe.
- Cook the other side for 30 seconds and transfer it to the work surface lined with parchment paper.
- Continue making crepes until you've used all the batter. Make sure to stir the batter EVERY TIME before you make a new crepe (otherwise, the batter will become too thick toward the end). With this batter, I made 1 large crepe for the top and 13 smaller crepes for the layers.
To Make the Whipped Cream
- Prepare an ice bath by adding ice cubes and water to a larger bowl and setting a smaller bowl on top. Add the heavy whipping cream to the smaller bowl. Using a hand mixer, start whisking it at a low speed. Once you see bubbles form, slowly add the granulated sugar.
- Increase the speed and whip the cream until firm peaks form. With medium peaks, the whipped mixture is firm and glossy. When you lift up your beaters, peaks will form but curl down slightly at the tips.
To Assemble the Cake
- Prepare two long strips of parchment paper and lay them down in a cross pattern on a working surface or rotating cake stand (I used IKEA's lazy Susan). These strips will go under the cake and help you transfer it to a dish. Tip: You can watch how I assemble the cake in my video.
- First, center the larger crepe on top of the crossed strips. This will be the top layer when we flip the cake over. Put a small amount of the freshly whipped cream in the center. Using an offset spatula, spread it evenly and thinly, about ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick, in the center 8 inches of the crepe, leaving a 2-inch (5 cm) border around the edge.
- Next, center and place another crepe on top of the cream layer. Spread a small amount of whipped cream evenly in the middle of the crepe, leaving a ½-inch (1.3 cm) border around the edge.
- Continue this process of layering, ending with the final crepe on top.
- Prepare a round, curved shallow dish (mine is from IKEA) and line it with a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap around the entire cake. Remove any air pockets and smooth out the plastic on the dish's surface. Using the paper strips you made, transfer the mille crepe to the shallow dish. Place your cake in the middle of the dish and remove the strips from the bottom of the cake.
- Starting at one corner and moving clockwise, pull the plastic wrap snugly over the cake edge so it's smooth and curved and gather the plastic in one hand above the center of the mille crepe. Continue to wrap this way until you've gathered all the plastic in the center. This will make the final cake evenly round; you won't get a smooth, curved shape if you wrap it randomly. Secure the gathered plastic with a clip (I use one from IKEA). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the cake is set.
- Once chilled, unwrap the plastic wrap and flip the mille crepe over onto a serving platter. Now, the large crepe will be on top of the cake.
- Dust more matcha powder over the cake using a fine-mesh sieve. If you plan to serve extra whipped cream on the side (optional), make a second batch now. Slice your Matcha Mille Crepe Cake into wedges while chilled (as it's easier to cut), and let it stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.
- Wrap and refrigerate any leftover cake. Enjoy it within a few days as we are using fresh cream.