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 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
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)
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.