Another Daring Weekend

This month's Daring Bakers challenge comes courtesy of baker extraordinaire, Peabody and of course, it wasn't an easy one.

After last month's gentle Bagel challenge, the Strawberry Mirror Cake sounds pretty fancy, right? A swiss roll sponge adding gentle support to a Barbie pink Strawberry Bavarian Cream, topped with the mirror element: a ruby clear jelly, flavoured with strawberry juice and a liberal dash of Kirsch.
I would never have dreamt of making this cake, imagining it to be horribly complex but, aside from being time-consuming and a bit fiddly, it was actually very simple.
Having a fear of gelatine after several nightmarish experiences with leaf gelatine, I have since found that the powdered stuff is the way to go. It might seem a little more old-fashioned than those charming little panes of gelatine glass but trust me, the powder will set anything to the thickness of a rubber tyre if you add enough of it.
This isn't a cake you would make for everyday occasions. It is quite expensive to make, utilising several punnets of fresh strawberries (and for some reason, fresh fruit is always cost-prohibitive over here) but I think it would be wonderful for a pink-loving girl's summer birthday party. It is visually stunning enough to receive plenty of oohs and ahhs. Flavourwise though, it was unsophisticated, reminding me slightly of Strawberry Angel Delight topped with Strawberry Jelly, the sponge reminscent of Frozen Swiss Roll cakes.
However, if you were to sharpen the mousse up with raspberry and blackberries, I think this cake could be suitable for a grown-up dinner party instead.
In spite of my disappointment with the final flavour though, the cake was a glowing success. Paul has taken it to work for the final taste test so only time will tell if it's merely my fussy tastebuds or if the cake really was bland. I feel particularly proud of myself for producing a cake with such a stunning mirror finish, and I would like to thank Peabody for choosing the Mirror Cake and for making me bake outside of the box (so to speak).
For those of you non-Daring Bakers who are tempted by this lovely looking cake and want a challenge, here's the recipe:
STRAWBERRY MIRROR CAKE - serves easily 8
Ingredients:
Cake and Soaking Syrup
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
METHOD:
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 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.
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

60 comments:

Pille said...

Great cake!! I'm a complete opposite re: gelatine. After years of frustration about using powdered gelatine, I've switched over to leaf gelatine, which is sooooo much easier to use IMHO. Amusing, isn't it :)

Anh said...

This looks so good! I am using galentine powder, and it works fine. Really need to try my hand on the leaf variety to see the differences.

Claude-Olivier said...

oh somes changes on your blog, it looks nice !!! Nice recipe ^^

cheers

ostwestwind said...

In German we call this recipe Little-Red-Riding-Hood-gateaux ;-). Great recipe...

T.W. Barritt said...

Magnificent! This looks a bit like a noveau version of the classic Frasier pastry that bakers make in France when strawberries are in season. That too, takes all day to make!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Well done Freya, looks great. As I didn't do the challenge this month I can't comment on the taste.

katiez said...

It's lovely and kudos for making it... but if you'd said the taste was absolutely the best thing you ever put in your mouth - I'd have been tempted to fly over and taste yours.... but probably not make my own...just not in me LOL
It really is drop-dead gorgeous, though...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Freya
You've really done a beautiful mirror!
I really enjoyed the strawberry flavor . . .

Meeta said...

Lovely lovely Freya. A fantastic job. I looks abosolutely grand!

Anne said...

The cake looks very beautiful especially the mirror part :)

Jerry said...

Oh so spectacular and pink! Complimenting on everyones makes me sad I missed out!

Quellia said...

Beautiful mirror!

Kelly-Jane said...

Looks stunning Freya. You are right about fresh fruit costing a lot here! Love the Barbie pink too.

wheresmymind said...

Should have made that with jello shots on top ;)

Andrea said...

Lovely cake! I also prefer the powder gelatine.

Hilda said...

I'd never used gelatin before, so this was an interesting challenge for me. I have to tell you that I made it with raspberries a week later, and it was much tastier. Your cake looks delightful!

Shaun said...

Freya - Indeed, this is an unusual cake. I can already tell that I prefer your suggestion of raspberries and blackberries instead being unmoved by most presentations of strawberries (except in muffins and really good ice cream, for some reason). The finish is impressive. Good on you for getting through another one of these Daring Bakers' challenges.

Deborah said...

Your cake is beautiful, but I agree with you - I thought the taste was rather bland. I'm glad I'm not the only one!!

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

What a beutiful mirror!

Marce said...

That´s one kick-ass mirror!

Sara said...

Looks beautiful you guys. I had to use blueberries as our store had no strawberries and the taste was outstanding.

breadchick said...

Looks lovely as usual and I think you have shiniest mirror of them all!!

Cheryl said...

Wow, your mirror is as smooth as ice. Fantastic job!

Veron said...

Beautiful mirror cake , Freya! I used a ton of strawberries too specially when I made a mistake with the puree.

Lydia said...

You are indeed a daring baker -- I would never attempt a cake like this! Your "mirror" is really glistening. Beautiful.

creampuff said...

Well done, Freya! I love your pictures!

Ivonne

Tartelette said...

I agree with you about the gelatin. Since I moved to the US I fell in love with the powdered one and hate working with the leaf one. Taste wise I agree too. I am used to making it with raspberries which turns out really good. Your cake turned out great though, gorgeous!

Anita said...

Wonderful looking cake freya! You got a beautiful looking mirror!

valentinA said...

wow, Freya does this look delicious or what?!?! GOsh, I love the sleek look of the strawberry mirror!

Sig said...

beautiful cake Freya... been seeing this beauty around the blogosphere, and each one better looking than the other! Yours look stunning... I've never used gelatin leaves, powder works great for me....

Deborah Dowd said...

Gorgeous cake... and I can see myself in that mirror (damn! is that another wrinkle!) I envy those of you who are talented bakers!

Saffron said...

Simply perfect!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Freya, I'm glad to know I was not the only one thinking that the recipe was a bit expensive...

Your cake looks divine!

Lis said...

Beautiful cake, Freya! I agree that the addition of a variety of berries would make this an over the top cake.

xoxo

rv said...

Wow this cake looks yummy :) and very pretty :)

Mary said...

Even though I liked the cake, I do think that this cake is more about looks than taste (or style over substance). Despite all the effort, I'd still like to try it again but with another type of berry.

Chris said...

Gorgeous! Your mirror rocks! I think that is the best reflection I have seen! Well done

Elle said...

A truly stunning mirror and lovely cake...very summery. I agreed that some raspberries and blackberries would zing it up some. Next time :)

Peabody said...

Excellent job.
Ironically when I chose the challenge strawberries were very cheap over here. Then when I went to do the challenge they shot up in price by $3 a pint. Yikes. Bad timing on my part :)

ChichaJo said...

Your cake looks awesome! I think this would be very impressive to bring to a party :) Gorgeous mirror!

Laura said...

Beautifully done Freya.

wmpe said...

Lovely cake, Freya. I too have been thinking of ways to amplify the flavor of this cake. Wendy

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your mirror cake looks wonderful! Perfect, fresh and scrumptiously fruity...

Cynthia said...

Paul and Freya, please forgive me for not dropping by as often as I'd like to...

Congrats on completing another really daring challenge :)

My best to both of you.

kellypea said...

Freya, I love the comment on the "powder setting anything to the thickness of a tyre." How true. I decided not to use any of the food coloring in mine so wondered about how others felt about that...I love the reflection in the mirror of your cake!

Inland Empire Girl said...

My next batch of strawberries is almost ready to harvest. I will have to try this. Thanks!

Dharm said...

Freya,
Lovely cake and your right about the expense - especially here in Asia!! But it was fun nonetheless and I actually quite enjoyed the strawberry flavour. Sorry its taken me so long to come over to visit!

candy said...

wow! that's the first word to come to mind when i look at that cake. just seeing it would make me think there's no way i could make that. just beautiful.

Karen said...

I admire you Daring Bakers, that's for sure!

That cake looks over-the-top delicious.

TBC said...

OMG! That is so pretty!

rv said...

hi , I have a prize for you on my blog, Please do collect it from there:)

Squishy said...

Awesome looking cake, pity about the bland part. Looks can be deceiving. Good choice with the raspberry to jazz it up a notch.

Saffron said...

but....where are you??

Chubbypanda said...

*poke*

Come back! =(

The Imaginary Diva said...

Yummy! The cake looks so good, almost makes me want to get off this crazy diet I'm on so I can go ahead and bake it.

I'm sure it tasted as good as it looked!

Kelly-Jane said...

Hey you guys!

Where are you? some of us are getting pretty worried here.

KJxx

Pip said...

Yes, where are you? Is everything ok?

Paula said...

hello,
have been a silent follower of your blog for some time: I hope you haven't gone for good. The cake looks fabulous

Kristen said...

It has been so long since you've posted... just checking in to say you are missed!
Kristen Dine & Dish

Saffron said...

please, come back!
is it everything ok?