A rainbow crêpe cake.

Celebrate Pride Month with Chef Trung Vu’s Show-Stopping Rainbow Crêpe Cake

Get the lowdown on Chef Trung Vu’s Rainbow Crêpe Cake

June is Pride Month and if you look around — at least here in New York City — there are pride flags flying high this month.

According to the National Museum of American History, this pride symbol was first created by Gilbert Baker and a group of activists and artists participating in the San Francisco 1978 Pride Parade. The initial flag had eight colors: red, pink, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue and purple; though it has been adjusted over time and new iterations have been created to reflect different pockets within the community.

The rainbow flag has come to symbolize the LGBTQ+ community’s diversity and unity.

For ICE Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructor Trung Vu, pride has many meanings.

“Pride is at the heart of all flags because you wear, display or fly them to show that you are proud of your country, your organization or even a part of your identity as with the rainbow flag.," Chef Trung says. "The pride flag means a lot to me because I remember the sense of unity in our community at my first gay pride and every one since. I think it promotes visibility, which can start dialogues and open the lines of communication. With time, I hope that can lead to a better understanding and maybe even acceptance that we are all the same.”

Chef Trung Vu assembling a rainbow crêpe cake.

Chef Trung wanted to create a dessert that honors the spirit of Pride Month while also showcasing techniques students explore throughout the Pastry & Baking Arts program at ICE. He made a show-stopping rainbow crêpe cake, with layers of vibrant crêpes and diplomat cream filling.

When making this cake, Chef Trung started with the diplomat cream, which is a combination of pastry cream and whipped cream. Students in his Pastry & Baking Arts class become very familiar with this foundational custard because they practice making it several times in the curriculum, using it in fruit tarts, choux pastry and Napoleons, among many other dishes. Chef Trung finds that mixing the pastry cream with whipped cream gives it a better mouthfeel.

A few professional tips about pastry cream: 

  • Once the eggs are tempered and the custard comes up to a boil, Chef Trung recommends whisking the boiling mixture constantly for about a minute. He says this will cook off the starchy flavor of the cornstarch and ensure the eggs don’t curdle.
  • When placing the cream in the fridge to chill, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface so it doesn’t form a skin.
  • You can make the pastry cream one to three days in advance and fold in the whipped cream when you’re assembling the cake. Chef Trung's ideal ratio is one part whipped cream to four parts pastry cream.

As for the crêpes, Chef Trung recommends making the batter a day in advance so the flour can fully hydrate — which will yield a looser, thinner batter that spreads more easily around the pan. Because food coloring deepens as it rests, Chef Trung cautions against adding the food color until after the batter has rested, so you know what the final colors will look like.

Don’t worry if the first few crêpes are flops. Chef Trung suggests using the first batch as a test to get a sense of how much batter to use and how long they take to cook. Flip the crêpes when the center looks set, and make sure to let them cool before building the cake.

When you’re ready to assemble, Chef Trung recommends using an ice cream scoop to portion the cream so there’s a consistent amount between the layers. Use an offset spatula to spread it thinly and evenly all the way out to the edges so the cake doesn’t become domed in shape.

If you want to put your own spin on the recipe, infuse the pastry cream with extracts or fruit zest. You could also adjust the colors or stack the layers differently to create flags that represent some of the different identities within the LGBTQ+ community.

Have fun making this cake at home and celebrating Pride! 


Rainbow Crêpe Cake

Yield: 1 8-inch cake


For the Diplomat Cream:

  • 50 grams cornstarch
  • 530 grams milk
  • 125 grams sugar
  • 55 grams whole eggs
  • 75 grams egg yolks
  • 60 grams butter
  • 6 grams vanilla
  • 250 grams heavy cream

For the Crêpes and Assembly:

  • 170 grams all-purpose flour
  • 40 grams sugar
  • 5 grams salt
  • 150 grams whole eggs
  • 60 grams egg yolks
  • 70 grams vegetable oil
  • 370 grams whole milk
  • 30 grams dark rum
  • Food coloring, as desired


For the Diplomat Cream:

  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in some of the milk. Add approximately half of the sugar, all of the eggs and egg yolks and whisk to combine.
  2. Combine the remaining milk and the rest of the sugar in a saucepan. Bring it up to a boil.
  3. Temper the cornstarch mixture with some of the boiling mixture.
  4. Return the remaining milk mixture to a boil. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling milk, whisking constantly until the pastry cream thickens and returns to a boil.
  5. Boil the pastry cream and continue whisking for one minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Place in the fridge to cool. Pastry cream can be made 1-3 days in advance.
  7. When ready to assemble the crêpe cake, whip the heavy cream.
  8. Using a paddle attachment, beat pastry cream to remove any chunks, and fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream using a 1:4 ratio of whipped to pastry creams.

For the Crêpes and Assembly:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender or regular blender.
  2. Chill and allow to rest for several hours, strain if necessary.
  3. If desired, separate the batter to mix with food coloring. If using liquid food coloring, slightly reduce the amount of milk in the recipe.
  4. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-low, and spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Ladle the batter into the pan and rotate pan to spread the batter evenly. (Chef Trung uses an 8-inch pan and 2 ounces of batter, but you can use whatever size pan you’d like and adjust the batter accordingly.)
  6. When the center looks set, flip and cook the other side. Remove the pan and place onto a parchment-lined sheet tray.
  7. Place the first crêpe down and spread diplomat cream onto the layer. Make sure to spread the cream all the way to the edges in a thin, even layer so the cake stays flat. Use an ice cream scoop to ensure consistent amounts of cream are between each layer so it looks even when cut.
  8. Repeat this process as desired. Reserve the most beautiful crêpe for the top.
  9. Let the cake sit in the fridge overnight or at least four hours to set before serving.

More from Chef Trung:  An Introductory Guide to Vanilla

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