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Strawberry Mirror Cake….So Daring Shiny…

Strawberry Mirror Cake For those who have been following the monthly adventures of the Daring Bakers, you were maybe starting to wonder if we had drawn a blank on a recipe challenge for this month….Well, as you can see from the above picture, the answer is no….we are just sitting there…quietly reveling in the beauty of a refreshing and light Strawberry Mirror Cake.

Everything about the cake that Peabody had chosen this month had me excited for so many different reasons. The most obvious being that it seems like ages since I have made a mirror cake which is weird in my field since it is a very attractive cake, and has a perfect mix of light vanilla sponge cake and creamy bavarian cream, and travels and keeps well. Thus, having to make it for our challenge was a great way for me to reconnect with an old friend. As I was thinking about writing this very post I figured that you will have the chance to read about its making process, texture and taste and many other blogs (there are over 90 of us), and realized that for me this cake and its whole making experience was centered around friends. Building, sharing and entertaining friendships.

Soon after we were given the challenge, I started preparing for my trip to visit my new best girlfriend, Lisa. That was a big deal: the Queen of Dorkdom herself, co-founder with Ivonne of the Daring Bakers and accomplished Italian chef! Since we had decided to spend a good bit of time in the kitchen, I asked her if there were specific pastry items she wanted me to teach her, like macarons, caramel work and others. I also asked if she wanted to make the challenge cake that weekend. Her answer was "Oh my god, I am so glad you mentioned it. I was about to beg you to help me with it". Folks, although she feels quite nervous about pastry, Lisa rocked that challenge like a pro! I knew her back and feet were killing her we had done so much walking in the heat so I helped with little things like straining the fruit for the puree and juice, measuring little things and washing bowls and cups. Any nervousness about the cake were quickly dissipated, maybe by the fact that I could give her explanation on what the Bavarian should be like, how to decipher a pastry school recipe, giving her tricks like tapping the side of a pan with the back of a knife to get rid of air bubbles and so on. When other Daring Bakers started to ask how long it took to make certain parts of the recipe, I know we were giggling together, although miles away from each other, because we took the entire day and the next morning to make it. See, much like Tanna and Karen did in June with the bagel challenge, we truly shared a great moment of friendship making this one. The high point being when we sat down Sunday evening with her family and shared a great dinner ending with this gorgeous looking cake.

When I got back home, I tackled the cake challenge yet again but this time on a different feeling. I was by myself in the kitchen that Saturday afternoon, and after such a high friendly first time, I felt quite lonely making it. Instead of making one 10 inch cake like the recipe suggested I decided to make 4 individual ones (4 inches wide), kept one for us and brought the remaining three for our weekly cookout with the neighbors. At that point, the cake screamed friendship to me: sharing, laughing, eating…There was not one moment when I was making it that I did not think about Lisa and her family, the laughs and giggles we shared that weekend. Because I went with individual ones, I had quite a bit of cake and cram leftover so I layered them in glasses and we ate cake that week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we are up for that in this house, trust me on that! It is light and refreshing, not too sweet and filling enough in small quantities. I used Lemon Vodka instead of the kirsch and did not use any food coloring as B. is allergic and the strawberries were bright red enough.

Strawberry Mirror Cake 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 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 JuiceWash 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

Strawberry Mirror Cake

Want to know what everybody else has been up to with this challenge? Head over to my side bar under "Daring Bakers" and click on "Find Us Here" where you will be directed to our official blogroll and start clicking to your heart’s content!

Thanks Peabody for giving me the chance to share great moments both away and at home while making the challenge! Looking forward to August!

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Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 6:43 am

what an amazing concoction! 🙂 i’ve never seen or heard of anything like it before 😀 !!!

Amy July 30, 2007 um 6:48 am

Helen your cake is PERFECT, it’s just so smooth and shiny. The mirror, cream, and cake are all spot on! Excellent job!

Pille July 30, 2007 um 7:16 am

The bavarian layer looks so smooth & soft – well done!!

Peabody July 30, 2007 um 7:20 am

Yeah, I had leftover cream with the mini cakes too. I piped them into wine glasses and just ate it straight out of there.
Well done, as always.

leonine194 July 30, 2007 um 7:29 am

my gosh! it’s so perfect!

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 7:38 am

your mini is adorable! wish i’d done a smaller size, too. so cute!

Kelly-Jane July 30, 2007 um 7:38 am

Well done, very pretty indeed!

Rosa's Yummy Yums July 30, 2007 um 7:44 am

Just perfect and ever so beautiful!

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 7:58 am

It’s gorgeous. The color, the creamy texture on the outside! Why…you must be some sort of baking genius. That’s what it is! 🙂

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 8:13 am

Helen, this is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for posting the recipe – when I saw Anh’s creation, I immediately decided that this was going to be my sister’s birthday cake! The problem…that it’s not for a few weeks yet! Can I wait that long to make this deliciousmess? 😉

Alpineberry Mary July 30, 2007 um 8:15 am

Sound like you and Lisa had a great time baking together. And of course, your mirror is cake perfect.

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 8:23 am

This cake looks amazing, I love it!Sab

Anh July 30, 2007 um 8:28 am

This is a perfect cake, Helen. I learnt a few tips from your post. Hopefully, my next try will be better. 😀

myriam July 30, 2007 um 8:31 am

oh this looks perfect! like straight out of a pastry book. baking queen, good job. mine was tiny and quite spongy and ended up on the floor in the process of making it…

Meeta K. Wolff July 30, 2007 um 8:33 am

Incredible! This cake looks perfect. It all comes together so well. Helene this is so awesome!

Inne July 30, 2007 um 8:54 am

So that’s what my cake should have looked like…
Absolutely amazing, Helene. Love your new header as well.

Ilva July 30, 2007 um 8:57 am

Helen, lucky you who got to eat it twice! Such pretty cakes! Brava!

KJ July 30, 2007 um 9:26 am

Your cake is perfect. So, so beautiful. Sigh!!! I’m happy just looking at it.

Lis July 30, 2007 um 10:17 am

Awww… best post EVER! And your cakes turned out gorgeous! =)

Love you!

MyKitchenInHalfCups July 30, 2007 um 11:29 am

There is nothing like baking/cooking with a friend!
You always always are just so good! The post and the cake are works of art and I love them both.

Hilda July 30, 2007 um 11:43 am

Your cake is so perfect, of course how else would it be! I’m going to have to practice to make cakes as beautiful as yours and the others. But at least I got it mostly right. Yeay for the Daring Bakers! Bring on the next challenge!

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 12:08 pm

Helen ! woohoo twice the challenge…you are my idol. And you made mini ones! You are right that the cake is so light, I really love the taste of this one. As usual your cakes are so professionally done. Can’t wait to see lisa’s version.

Anne July 30, 2007 um 12:19 pm

I am always in awe with your creations. The cake is simply lovely 🙂

sunita July 30, 2007 um 12:30 pm

Your cake looks really cute…and of course, perfect!

Andrea July 30, 2007 um 1:31 pm

I’m so in awe! Your cake looks perfect! Can you come to Virginia to help me with the next challenge?! 🙂

Warda July 30, 2007 um 1:46 pm

Congratulations Heene. It looks gorgeous.

Jerry July 30, 2007 um 1:53 pm

So pink and probably delicious!

Jenny July 30, 2007 um 2:12 pm

And making them mini’s makes them seem even more stunning!

Anita July 30, 2007 um 2:33 pm

Picture perfect as always Helen! I am always impressed with how flawless your work is – a true pastry chef!

leslie @ definitely not martha July 30, 2007 um 2:35 pm

I’m totally not surprised, but your cake is perfection. Wonderful!!!!!!!!

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 2:53 pm

Oooooh, what a pretty cake!

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 2:54 pm

Beautiful, Helene — as always! You make it look so easy

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 2:57 pm

Oh Helene! Your miniature cake is just gorgeous! I love it! So glad that you were able to share the adventure with Lisa!

And I’m so far behind on reading posts I fear I’ll never catch up! I like the new blog template, and cant wait to see what you have been up to over the last few weeks!

Mandy July 30, 2007 um 3:27 pm

this cake is so pretty! look like something I would like to have for my birthday in August! I wonder if I can adapt it to other fruity flavor, say mango?

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 4:02 pm

Beautiful cake, of course. Everything you make is beautiful. What makes this one extra special is the friendship that went into it.

Deborah July 30, 2007 um 5:02 pm

I need to get some mini pans – I love the look of these!! Yours look perfect!

Dagmar July 30, 2007 um 5:29 pm

The cake looks really pretty and what a lovely pink colour!

Sara July 30, 2007 um 5:52 pm

What an adorable little cake. Looks perfect.

Nazca July 30, 2007 um 6:12 pm

awww looks so cute! Mine is Frankenstein’s monster to your Bambi 🙂

breadchick July 30, 2007 um 6:51 pm

Helen, BOTH the cakes you made are so lovely and wonderful. I know if I had made the first one with Sister Lisa, my kitchen would have been a very quiet and lonely place too! As usual, your cake is the picture of perfection.

Cheryl July 30, 2007 um 7:41 pm

Yeah you do have the smoothest bavarian cream ever. Just a perfect cake.

Heather July 30, 2007 um 7:56 pm

yours looks great and I have to agree that making it with others would have made it much more fun.

Poonam July 30, 2007 um 8:18 pm

This looks so luscious! yummy

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 8:29 pm

The cake looks gorgeous, Helene. And you know I´d have loved to have witnessed the cake making process at Lis´s.

Erin July 30, 2007 um 8:49 pm

I love the idea of mini cakes!

I brought my cake to a barbecue as well and my friends loved it.

Laura July 30, 2007 um 9:54 pm

Now I’m all lonely again thinking of you and Lis in the kitchen baking! Your mini-cakes are so beautiful!

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 9:59 pm

Gorgeous cake. Miss this kind of cake.

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 11:36 pm

Delicious Helen, comme d’habitude! Il est superbe.

And great new blog look too! Je ne l’avais pas encore dit.

Anonymous July 30, 2007 um 11:37 pm

I have been dreaming of your post all day long. I knew your cake would be perfect and it is! I can’t believe you made it twice … I bow to you!

Anonymous July 31, 2007 um 2:03 am

This mini is beautiful, It’s a good thing you didn’t let the Cake win!


Belinda July 31, 2007 um 2:09 am

My hat’s off to all of the Daring Baker girls…I am in awe of all of these beautiful cakes! I thought the red velvet challenge would be hard to top (I am a southern gal, and I like Red Velvet Cake!), but this Strawberry Mirror is stunning!

Lb July 31, 2007 um 3:41 am

So beautiful. Wish I could have made it in time, but I want to keep this recipe on hand for the right occasion. Sounds like something I’d love.

monica July 31, 2007 um 3:49 am

absolutely beautiful helen! you never cease to amaze me. your sponge looks perfect…and i thought mine was good until i see yours!

Anonymous July 31, 2007 um 4:48 am

I’m putting on my ice skates in July to coast on the top of your cake! Very cooooool looking 🙂

Amrita July 31, 2007 um 9:00 am

Definitely one of the bests I’ve seen for this month’s challenge!

Mercotte July 31, 2007 um 9:33 am

C’est absolument superbe !! je suis scotchée !!

Patricia Scarpin July 31, 2007 um 2:05 pm

Lovely and beautiful as usual, Helen!

Anonymous July 31, 2007 um 2:53 pm

Oh your cake is so lovely! So perfect…not a scratch on its mirrored suface 🙂

Alice Q. Foodie July 31, 2007 um 3:10 pm

oooh I am jealous of your perfectly smooth edges! 🙂

Anonymous July 31, 2007 um 8:34 pm

Wow, this cake is amazing. I hope to one day be advanced enough to give it a go–I love fruity cake for breakfast!

Nora B. July 31, 2007 um 9:08 pm

Lovely post, Helene. Your cakes looks simply beautiful. Baking and cooking is very much a family & friends affair. Eating is also a communal activity for me.

Mirror cakes (even exotic flavours like yam and durians) were so common when I was in my teens – all the bakeries had them, but somehow it has lost it’s novelty. It was wonderful to see this cake again because it brings back memories of birthday parties I atteneded years ago.

Elle August 1, 2007 um 1:14 am

Friendship cake is a good description. I served mine to friends and feel that the ever expanding Daring Bakers are virtual friends, too. You cake is lovely!

Stella August 1, 2007 um 6:07 am

I love your blog’s new look & your strawberry cake even more! yes it’s so shiny & sleek. I wish I could have a HUGE bite…

Barbara August 1, 2007 um 7:19 am

That looks wonderful Helen.

Oh for the love of food! August 1, 2007 um 8:45 am

Helen, your Strawberry Mirror cake is PERFECT!

Anonymous August 1, 2007 um 4:01 pm

omg!! look at YOUR Mirror Cake. SO very shiny and pristine and dare i say PERFECT! can you see your reflection?

Chris August 1, 2007 um 6:36 pm

Helen – your mirror is lovely! The cake doesn’t even look real! 🙂

WokandSpoon August 2, 2007 um 6:20 am

Oh wow – another perfect cake! Congratulations!

thanks for linking my blog!

Brilynn August 2, 2007 um 9:55 pm

Well if that isn’t the prettiest little cake ever, I don’t know what is! Gorgeous!

Dolores August 4, 2007 um 5:57 am

What a beautiful celebration of friendship! Your cake is stunning, and I love the ongoing saga of your adventures with Lisa.

If you’re ever in Northern California, you have a standing invitation to my kitchen (and my gym 🙂 ).

Anonymous August 4, 2007 um 4:17 pm

I am going to have to make this cake. I can’t believe how perfectly smooth yours is! Wow!

Malaysian Delicacies August 8, 2007 um 1:25 am

Just drop by ur blog, the cake looks really very appetizing and beautiful,,I am getting hungry!!

Karen Baking Soda August 14, 2007 um 7:09 am

I so know what you mean by feeling lonely in the kitchen after making a challenge with friends! Did the next best thing this time and shared experiences through chat/e-mail.
Love the smooth finish on your bavarian!

Anonymous August 24, 2007 um 6:44 am

quelle perfection!C’est splendide!

How To Eat A Cupcake October 9, 2007 um 12:39 am

That looks absolutely incredible. What I wouldn’t give to taste a slice of that…!

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