Monday, July 30, 2007

Strawberry Mirror Cake



If my first task as a Daring Baker was to make Jewish Purist's Bagels, then my second task was to make a Strawberry Mirror Cake. The cake was chosen by Peabody, and you can find the recipe (which is rather lengthy!!!) here on her blog. I had never seen or heard of a strawberry mirror cake before, but apparently it's a classic fancy cake. It's also on the menu of Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bahrain, if you cannot be bothered to make one yourself :)

Well, the point of being a Daring Baker is to bother to make a cake even if the recipe seems a bit daunting. With 4 full pages of instructions, a frightening Bavarian cream and lots of gelatine, this recipe definitely scared me a bit. Yet I made it, and despite of some cursing and swearing in my kitchen (not a frequent sight, believe me), I ended up with a huge multi-layered strawberry mirror cake. Our friends Kristiina, Gretel, Peter and Kristel came to judge the cake (thank you for your help!!!), and everyone seemed to like it. K. thought it looked really professional, with nice and neat layers. I must admit I was a bit disappointed, as I expected the cake to have a much more pronounced strawberry flavour than it did. After all, I had used the last of seasons strawberries for this cake, and wanted it to be a true homage to those wonderful summer fruit.. I really liked the sponge, however, which had a delicious flavour and good firm texture - possibly because we used eggs from these really happy chicken again.

Anyway, here are some pictures. I'm not giving you full instructions below - you'll find them over at Peabody's blog - but I'll give you the metric measurements with my minor adaptations.

Strawberry Mirror Cake
Adapted from Cakes and Pastries at the Academy (California Culinary Academy, 1993)



The biscuit sponge
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
175 grams sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar
100 grams sifted cake flour
125 ml water
75 grams sugar
2 Tbsp Kirsch or strawberry liqueur

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
2 ½ Tbsp unflavored gelatin* (I used 6 gelatine leafs instead)
330 grams strawberries, pureed and strained
5 egg yolks
150 grams sugar
250 ml milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
several drops of red food coloring (I didn't use any)
400 ml whipping cream

Strawberry Mirror
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp kirsch (I didn't use any)
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin (I used 6 gelatine leafs instead)
Few drops of red food coloring (I didn't use any)

Strawberry Juice
200 grams strawberries
175 grams sugar
200 ml water

I baked the sponge at 200 Celsius (instead of the recommended 230 C, which seemed a bit high for me).

Garnish with whipped cream and strawberries:



*I had struggled with powdered gelatine way too much while making the mirror (I even had to dish one portion of the mirror mixture), then I used my tried and trusted leaf gelatine instead! If you read instructions on Peabody's blog, you're supposed to sprinkle gelatine over strawberry puree and simply let it expand there. This didn't work for me at all, so I did the 'usual' thing of soaking gelatine leaves in cold water, squeezing them dry and then mixing with some hot strawberry juice..

Overall I'd say that although it was fun taking part and I was rather pleased with the result, I can think of quite a few cakes that taste at least as good, if not better, are much less of an hassle to make, and don't require to use a whopping 11 eggs!!! I might consider making it again if K. really-really-really requests it. On the other hand, he's quite a skilled pastry chef, so he can just make his own strawberry mirror cake if he feels like :-)

Thank you, Peabody, for this challenge! You can see a list of other Daring Bakers here, with links to their Strawberry Mirror Cakes.

44 comments:

Anh said...

Pille, I love the look of your cake. I actually love making big cake! but i have to moderate myself on sweet things!

Ilva said...

Pille, that cake looks better than a professional one! I was lucky and found really good strawberries with a lot of flavour so my cake did taste a lot of them! What a DB you are!

K & S said...

looks lovely!

steph said...

That is fabulous-looking!

Anne said...

Oh, that looks lovely!! :)

Peabody said...

It turned out great.
Yes, this isn't one you whip out on a daily basis!

sher said...

That is absolutely gorgeous! Your sponge is a thing of beauty. And you layered it all perfectly! Applause.

KJ said...

What a terrific effort. It's so neat and tidy. It looks lovely.

katiez said...

I am totally impressed with the beauty of that cake and the effort that went into it... And so admire you for making it!
For me, I'll stick to the easier ones.... patience baking is NOT one of my strong points!

Hilda said...

Your cake looks great, even if you didn't like it that much. In fact, everybody's cake looks great, mine sags in the middle and isn't really pink at all, but that's ok... =)

Anne said...

Your cake is simply lovely :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Awesome looking cake Pelli! I really enjoyed the strawberry flavor! It's good to be a daring baker!

veron said...

The cake looks amazing Pille. Sorry you did not like it too much. I was afraid my gelatin was going to cause me a problem too but I forged on with the recipe and it turned out fine.

Andrea said...

Wow, your cake turned out lovely, and your bavarian cream is so smooth! Nice job!

Lydia said...

The "mirror" looks like pink glass -- so beautiful! I wouldn't be daring enough to try to bake this!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Your cake is truly amazing, I thought I was going a bit loopy for a minute...saw another Strawberry mirrored cake, on another site I look at..Lucillian Delights..keep up the good work, love reading both of your blogs.

Jerry said...

It is pretty, all I need is a fork

Leslie said...

Your cake looks awesome! I agree that the initial baking temperature might have been a bit high - I nearly scorched my cake. *IF* I ever make it again (and that's a huge if, because it was a big pain), I would lower the temperature for sure.

Quellia said...

Your mirror looks amazing!
Beautiful work!

gilly said...

Lovely job, Pille! You cake has such a lovely, smooth mirror, and is cut just perfectly! Wonderful job!

Shaun said...

Pille - Your effort does indeed look professional. Sometimes I feel that the more we do to fruit, the less integrity there is to their flavors - and this is coming from a guy who almost always has to "do" something with his fruit!

lobstersquad said...

Very impressive, but I think I´ll have to wait until I go to the Bahrain Ritz. Too much work for me, I´d end up eating the strawberries before it was finished.

Deborah said...

I think your cake turned out beautifully! Your mirror looks wonderful.

Sara said...

Beautiful pictures, they look like they are right out of a magazine! Great job.

breadchick said...

Your cake looks like it came from a better pastry chef than the Ritz! Great job!!

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Pille, your cake is beautiful! I also think that the bavarian cream had too little strawberry flavour but I really liked the mirror as it had a strong strawberry flavour.

Meeta said...

An awesome job! Well done Pille. I agree on the strawberry flavor - it was subdued. I loved the juice. It was fantastic.

Laura said...

Oh, but it's so pretty Pille.

Susan said...

Ah,...so pretty in pink. :)

Ivonne said...

What a gorgeous cake, Pille! I especially love the shade of your mirror. Stunning!

Anita said...

Perfectly gorgeous! You got such a nice smooth mirror!

Lis said...

Pille you did an amazing job! I love the colors of your cake.. it's beautiful. =)

xoxo

Tartelette said...

You did a great job Pille. Glad your friend enjoyed it!Love the last picture, classy!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Pille, what a beautiful cake!

Chris said...

Beautiful cake!!! So delicate and delicious looking!

Pippurimylly said...

Unbelieveably gorgeous! Almost unreal.

Cheryl said...

That is the cleanest cut of the mirror cakes I have seen. Just picture perfect.

Jenny said...

Beautiful. What I find most impressive is that the mirror looks like real strawberry color somehow.

Culinarily Curious said...

I agree with the forty-some people ahead of me... this is one of the cleanest, prettiest, clearest mirrors of the month. Absolutely bakery material. Congratulations Pille.

Elle said...

It IS very professional looking and I agree that it didn't have the amount of strawberry flavor that I thought it would have. Even so, wonderful that you made it and shared it with friends.Sorry it took me so long to comment.

Jeanne said...

Oh Pille, you are a braver woman than I!! I have read a couple of the Daring Baker posts and it looks threateningly professional out there ;-) I really admire you for going to the trouble of baking this beautiful cake - well don!

Karen said...

wow. clean. elegant looking cake.

Pille said...

Thank you everybody for your comments!!!

Anne in Oxfordshire - that's what happened to me when I first 'spotted' the Daring Bakers. When they all wrote about croissants, then I thought it was coincidence. It was only when I saw Red Devil Cakes and then Gateau St Honore's everywhere, that I realised what was going on:)

Leslie - ovens can be so temperamental, so most recipes need to be adjusted for a specific oven. Mine is happiest at 200Celsius, whatever I'm making:)

Jeanne - you should join! And believe me, I've felt far from professional when working on the two challenges. Thank god nobody has been watching me then (even not K:)

Karen - elegant it was indeed, but only after quite a lot of hard work :)

wendyywy said...

Hi, I read in your blog and u mentioned that the cake didn't taste much of strawberries.
I did some conversions, the original recipe called for 1.5pints of strawberries for the mirror, and in metric that'll be 510gms. You only put in 200gms for the mirror. Did that difference in amount of strawberries affected the taste?