A daring cake

mirror cake

Here’s one of the last pastries I dared to make in our San Diego kitchen before our east coast relocation. This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was to construct a strawberry Bavarian with a strawberry mirror glaze. Like any DB, I accepted the challenge.

The cake wasn’t too hard to make and only comprised of a few basic parts to assemble: genoise, strawberry Bavarian cream, and a strawberry mirror glaze. Probably the hardest part of the whole cake was the Bavarian; although it may seem daunting to some, it really isn’t much of a hassle either.

This cake turned out to look very pretty, but made it on neither the eater’s nor my top ten lists for cake flavors. The eater reported that the Bavarian cream was the weak link. It was a bit gelatinous and heavy for her taste and made up too large a portion of the cake. I, on the other hand, thought the flavor was good, but the texture of the Bavarian just wasn’t as good as I hoped. I was expecting more of a mousse texture and this came out with a firmer, more gelatinous texture, you need to mix it with a blender for milkshakes and you’ll be good.

A word to the wise: this cake has about a one-day shelf life, after about 12hrs, the cake turns to rubber. Make it for a party and hope there’s no leftovers.

Strawberry Mirror Cake

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBSP sugar
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
½ cup water
1/3 cups sugar
2 TBSP kirsch or strawberry liqueur

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
2 ½ TBSP unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree(1 ½ baskets)
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 TBSP lemon juice
several drops of red food coloring
1 ¾ cups whipping cream

Strawberry Mirror

1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP kirsch
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
Few drops of red food coloring

Strawberry Juice
1 ½ pints of strawberries(18 oz)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water

1.Preheat oven to 450F. Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 inch jelly roll pan(rimmed baking sheet). Line bottom of pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.

2.Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.

3.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, ad cream of tartar and beat until
whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 TBSP sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks(do not over beat).

4.Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in . Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.

5.Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until light brown and springy to touch(7 to 10 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake. Wrap the cake layers, separated with waxed paper, and set aside. Cake may be frozen at this point.

6.To make soaking syrup: Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur. Set aside or refrigerate in glass jar until ready to use.

7.To assemble cake: Brush sides of 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten(not drench) the cake; set aside.

8.Prepare Strawberry Bavarian Cream. Immediately pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets(1 to 2 hours).

9.Prepare the Strawberry Mirror.

10.To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Strawberry Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake. Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.

Prep Work

Strawberry Bavarian Cream

1.Sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.

2.Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl’ beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture and stir with a wooden spoon(it doesn’t say so but I would temper the egg mixture first to be safe). Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon.(Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Pour into a stainless steel bowl places over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.

3.White gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatin mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

Strawberry Mirror

1.Prepare strawberry juice.

2.Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.

3.Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve gelatin. Tint to desired color with red food coloring. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell); remove from ice water.

4.When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

Strawberry Juice

Wash and hull strawberries; coarsely chop. Place strawberries in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes(Do not press down on fruit).
Adapted from Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993

mirror cake slice

Reader Feedback

26 Responses to “A daring cake”

  • MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Sorry I missed you last time because this is one really gorgeous mirror cake.
    Glad you’ve almost got the kitchen in order and will be sure to check you for September Challenge! Can’t wait . . . well I guess we must.

  • amanda says:

    sweet! or maybe i will give your recipe a try and it’ll be like you’re giving me some of your macarons. i know moving is a bitch, i hope your settled soon and back to blogging.

  • foodie says:

    Wow, so many comments, I just don’t know where to start. Thanks to all the DBs for all the nice things you had to say about my effort. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to comment anywhere else but I did get a chance to look at most of yours as well.

    I’ll still be homeless until I close on my new house (and kitchen) but I’ll be sure to post the new digs when I move in.

    The frozen goodness was strawberry frozen yogurt. I think it went well with the bavarian.

    Amanda: sorry about leaving without getting you a macaron, maybe I can ship you some in the winter when they won’t melt.

  • Elle says:

    Beautiful presentation! All that fruit (and did I see strawberry ice cream?) probably helped with the too stiff bavarian. I think the recipe called for too much gelatin. Great DB effort! Sorry it took me so long to comment. Hope you are getting set in your new kitchen.

  • Amy says:

    Your cake turned out excellent! Good luck with your move.

  • amanda says:

    you’re is definitely the pretties mirror cake of the month and that photo at the top is hot… but i have to admit though, uh, none of these mirror cakes really made me want a slice! perhaps it’s just my affinity to savories. it’s sad i’ve been such a slacker in organizing a food blogger meetup, and now you’ve moved! i’m still dying for a macaron. 🙂

  • sam says:

    how come i never got any cake? sob sob. how’s the new place?

  • Jenny says:

    I thought my bavarian cream was a bit rubbery, but assumed it was because I had the berries and gelatin mixture sitting overnight since I curdled the first cream. Interesting to know that it may have been rubbery regardless.

  • Dolores says:

    Beautiful cake Jef… I love your fresh fruit decorations. It’s fascinating to read fifty-some similar-but-different experiences with the same recipe.

    Good luck as you relocate!

  • Ivonne says:

    Wow, Jef! It looks fantastic. You did a great job!

  • cheryl says:

    Lovely job, gorgeous decorations on it.

  • Laura says:

    It’s a beauty Jef, eating it all in one go really quickly sounds good to me! Enjoy your new kitchen.

  • peabody says:

    See, I think because I ate mine fairly quickly it never got the weird texture that people talked about.
    I am happy though that one other person(besides me) found it easy to make.
    You did a lovely job with it.

  • Deborah says:

    Your cake is beautiful, and it sounds like it was a piece of “cake” for you!!

  • Patricia Scarpin says:

    It looks stunning!

  • veron says:

    This cake is so lovely! Well done!

  • Andrea says:

    Wow, you made a lovely cake! I love the mixed fruits on top. Good luck with the move!

  • breadchick says:

    Yup, one day is about all this cake lives for. Great job even though you were packing up the kitchen. Welcome back to Boston…where everyone knows your name! I think this now makes 4 DBers in the greater Boston area. Two in Cambridge, you in Boston and I think someone is in Melrose. Maybe a group effort is in order for one of the challenges?

  • Mary says:

    Props to you for doing this month’s challenge even with the cross country relocation. Hope everything is going well and I look forward to your return to regular blogging when you’re all settled.

  • Pille says:

    The top photo is fabulous, Jef! Well done!

  • Alice Q. Foodie says:

    Hope the move is going well! I couldn’t stomach the full amount of gelatin and used quite a bit less – the final result is still PLENTY firm. I would use even less if I did it again.

  • Meeta says:

    Lovely Jef! This looks totally incredible. And what a way to close your kitchen. Nice job!

  • Tartelette says:

    Beautiful Jef! I love the fruit action on top. I agree with you regarding this specific Bavarian, really stiffer than what I usually work with. Good luck with the move and I look forward to seeing new creations from your new spot!

  • Lisa says:

    I agree with your take on the bavarian.. mine turned out much to stiff and not mousse like at all. I really think I’d make this cake over and over again (okay maybe once a year) if the cream was uhhh creamier?

    But I gotta say – you get an A+ for presentation.. it’s gorgeous. =)


  • Jenny says:

    Lovely cake!

  • Anita says:

    Wonderful job with the cake – it looks lovely! best of luck with your move!

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