Strawberry mirror cake…two layers of sponge cake layered alternately with bavarian cream and topped with a strawberry mirror….that was what was chosen for us, the daring bakers,
as our July challenge. For one, the cake had lots of strawberries and a mirror on the top…the mirror is basically made of strawberry juice and gelatin, and this is what makes it more than an ordinary cake and makes it look the part.
This month it was Peabody’s turn to be the host, and she put this challenge before us. When I first saw all those multiple steps, I must admit that I was a bit overwhelmed. I bake quite a few cakes, but they are basically my own concoctions, without any fixed rules…In my case I’m the mistress and free to do as I please. But not in this case…I’ve got to stick to the steps and we were allowed very few liberties, which is what the challenge is all about…to see what we all come out with the same set of instructions. And that’s when I was really a bit nervous. I read the recipe over and over again, trying to visualise the steps that I had to go through.
Finally, once the procedure was rooted in my mind, I set about the task. All the ingredients were assembled and I rolled up my sleeves for the action. Regarding the process, I followed the instructions, only leaving out the alcohol from the list of ingredients. I also baked the cakes in an 8 inch round pan instead of the jelly roll pan that was asked for, which I made a little smaller later on to come out nicely in my 8 and3/4th inch spring form pan (instead of the10 inch one). I completed the challenge over a period of two days…I baked the cakes and readied the strawberry puree and juice on the first day and the rest on the second. I must admit that all the multiple steps did seem to be a bit daunting at first, but as Peabody said, they were not that difficult to follow…and it was sheer joy to see all the steps culminating in one whole. My additions to the cake were only the fresh strawberries that I used to garnish it…
It was no doubt a very pretty cake…the glistening mirror on the top made it really special…very summery. I loved the look of the cake more than the taste… but to be fair, that’s because of the fact that I’m not partial to jellies… However, the cake was undoubtedly a hit with the kids. A couple of their friends had come over and together they wolfed down a considerable part of the cake…they actually had to be stopped from carrying on further… As for Dinesh, he does not favour glamed up cakes a lot, so there were some leftovers, but again, with the kids around, they did not stay for long.
All in all, I enjoyed the challenge…did not experience any catastrophes as such… and am looking forward to the next one…bring it on!!! And the best bit is that I am now officially a part of the elite group of Daring Bakers and boy, am I glad…check out how the other daring bakers fared in this challenge here.
Strawberry Mirror Cake
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
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP kirsch
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
Few drops of red food coloring
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.
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 ans 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.
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.
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
And that, my friends is the end of the strawberry mirror cake adventure.