While channel surfing the other day, we happened across an ad for a new signature holiday dessert at IHOP. At first we couldn't believe what was being offered. It looked a lot like the famous French dessert Mille Crêpe Cake, a decadent confection consisting of a "thousand" thin crêpes layered with rich pastry cream and caramelized on top. We had tried the dessert before, which was made popular here in New York City by the Japanese bakery, Lady M. The Lady M Mille Crêpe Cake, which is indeed insanely delicious, is very famous and talked about at dinner tables and parties throughout the city. So could it be that somebody at IHOP headquarters, privy to this sensational cake, came up with their own version for the national stage?
The Lady M Mille Crêpe Cake (photo: Snaxtime)
Sure enough, IHOP was touting this new dessert as their "Signature Crepe Cake." The image on our TV was indeed fabulous. This version seemed to have fewer crepes and more "pastry cream." We looked it up on their website and learned that the IHOP Crepe Cake was filled with "sweetened cream cheese filling" and topped with "velvety vanilla sauce and a dusting of powdered sugar." The image on the website looked a bit different from the TV commercial and vastly different from the Lady M and traditional classic French versions. But we were still intrigued and quickly made plans to go to our local IHOP and try it for ourselves.
IHOP Signature Crepe Cake, Above: TV Version, Below: Website Version (photos: IHOP)
The next day we sat in the booth anxiously awaiting our order. Would it look more like the TV version, which was golden and sumptuous, or the web version, which was more about the heaping amounts of cream cheese filling. The waitress finally arrived and presented us with the much anticipated dessert. We were SHOCKED! Before us sat a sad little triangle, barely the size of an Easy-Bake Oven cake slice and we had to look closely to see the scant amount of cream cheese filling peeking out between the layers. At least some effort was given to the presentation and ironically the portion size was closer to what we had experienced with Lady M's Mille Crêpe Cake and much less to what was promised by IHOP on both TV and online.
So how did it taste? Quite tasty! It almost resembled a breakfast item more than a dessert and the sweet cream cheese, buttery crepes, vanilla icing, whipped cream and strawberries in syrup combined well for a rich and satisfying effect. We were actually glad it wasn't any bigger! And the price? $2.99. At the end of the meal we left with a grin. Although it wasn't what we expected, the dessert was fun and appropriate for its $2.99 price tag. The visual advertising may have been glaringly false, but IHOP nailed making a fast food/breakfast-inspired version of a French classic dessert.