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Café Au Lait Crème Brûlée with Cane Syrup Cake

Café Au Lait Crème Brûlée with Cane Syrup Cake

This delicious dessert comes from Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans. You can make the cake up to two days in advance if you are looking to save time the day of your event.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours including time for chilling
  • Yield: 9 servings


  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 16 large egg yolks
  • Cane Syrup for serving
  • Cane syrup cake, for serving
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
  • Cane Syrup Cake

  • Pan spray
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup Cane syrup, preferably Steen's
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  • For the Brûlée:

    Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 300° F.

  • Add the cream, sugar, and espresso to a heavy bottom 2-quart pot.  Split and scrape the vanilla bean and add to the pot (beans and pod).  Bring it to a boil and remove from the heat.

  • Add the yolks to a large bowl and temper the yolks by whisking in ½ cup of the hot cream.  Add the remainder of the hot mixture, about 1 cup at a time, continuing to whisk to prevent the eggs from scrambling.  Once all the cream has been incorporated, strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl.

  • Arrange nine 6-ounce ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan.  Divide the brûlée mix evenly among the ramekins, about ½ cup each and transfer to the oven.  Add enough hot tap water to the pan to come 1/3 or ½ up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake until set, about 30 minutes.   To test for doneness, gently shake one of the custards.  It should wiggle slightly in the middle.

  • Carefully remove the custards from the oven and allow them to cool at least 2 hours before transferring to the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 2 hours and up to three days, if covered, before serving.

  • Right before serving, evenly sprinkle the tops of each custard with about a tablespoon of sugar.  Using a blow torch, caramelize the sugar to form a crust.  Be sure to keep the blowtorch moving in a circular motion to prevent the sugar from burning.

  • To serve, drizzle the cane syrup around the plate.  Set the crème brûlée on the plate and stack about 5 of the cane syrup cake cubes next to the brûlée.  Add a dollop of whipped cream to the plate.


  • For the Cane Syrup Cake:

    Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with the pan-spray, line it with parchment paper, and spray again.  Set aside.

  • Cream the butter and sugar in a standing electric mixer with the paddle attached or with a hand held mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, mix well, and with the machine still running, add the cane syrup. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and add to the mixture in three batches alternating with the buttermilk.  Add in the extract.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl and stir until the batter is uniform.  Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes.  Spray a cooling rack with pan spray and invert the cake pan onto the rack.  Remove the pan.  Carefully remove the parchment from the cake and allow the cake to cool completely.

  • Using a serrated knife, cut the cake at about 1-inch intervals, both ways (about 7 cuts each way -- you will have about forty-nine 1-inch cubes of cake).  Combine the brown sugar and the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.  Dust the cake cubes by turning them in the bowl of sugar and setting aside.  If not eating the cake the same day it’s baked, store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.

    9 servings

Recipe Details