auto.create.topics.enable is currently documented with
Enable auto creation of topic on the server. If this is set to true then attempts to produce, consume, or fetch metadata for a non-existent topic will automatically create it with the default replication factor and number of partitions.
In Kafka 0.8.1.1 reality, topics are only created when trying to publish a message on non-existing topic.
Before fixing docs, please check once more if this is just non-working functionality.