Monday, 30 July 2007

First Daring Baker’s Challenge – The Strawberry Mirror Cake

My major motivation to start this blog was because I saw all these wonderful posts of the Dark Chocolate Crepe Cake. I eventually worked out that this was because of a group called the Daring Bakers.

As mentioned in our first post, I talked Liz into creating and adding to BakerCurryMaker when she was visiting me in Sydney recently.

And so we were invited to join the Daring Bakers, and were given our first challenge, the July challenge of The Strawberry Mirror Cake.

Leading up to receiving the challenge, I was terrified. I am not an expert baker and often mess up the easiest recipes.

When we first received the challenge, I thought it wasn’t too bad. However, once I read the recipe I was worried again. I think I read the recipe 10 times with about a 20 questions and assurance from my whizz of a baking partner Liz, and I started to feel a little better.

I went through the recipe meticulously working out what ingredients and equipment I would need. I had to buy several additions to my kitchen, but hey, it’s all in the name of … Um whatever this is all in the name of!

And so, I started one Saturday morning on the arduous task of making the most complicated cake I have ever made.


Strawberry Mirror Cake
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup (170 grams) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup sifted flour
½ cup water
1/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp kirsch or strawberry liqueur

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
2 ½ tbsp unflavoured gelatine
1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree (500 grams)
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
several drops of red food colouring
1 ¾ cups whipping cream

Strawberry Mirror
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp kirsch
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatine
Few drops of red food colouring

Strawberry Juice
1 ½ pints of strawberries (500 grams)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water

Preheat oven to 230C.

Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom of pan with a sheet of baking paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.
Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, add 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).
Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in. Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Now at this stage, I’m feeling good, I might actually say I’m feeling a little cocky. I had bought a new jelly roll tin with the exact measurements and I was bopping along to Amy Winehouse when the bubble was burst. The damn tray didn’t fit into my oven, as it had fancy handles. Those damn handles ruined me. But, I took a deep breath and transferred my beautifully fluffy mixture to another tray (defeated the whole purpose of folding things together etc, but it turned out ok).

Bake until light brown and springy to touch - approximately 7 to 10 minutes and cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake.
Next, make the soaking syrup. Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavour with liqueur. Set aside until ready to use.

Next came the Bavarian cream.

Puree the strawberries and strain.

Sprinkle the gelatine over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.

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 and stir with a wooden spoon. 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 gelatine 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 colouring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
While gelatine mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatine mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatine mixture.

This is where I think I messed up. I forgot about the cream. I was watching the gelatine mixture so carefully I forgot to whip the cream. Unfortunately in the time it took to whip the cream, I think the gelatine set too much, as the mixture was lumpy.

My spirits were down. I knew I’d mess it up. Liz was lovely via text message (who knows what the poor girl was doing with her Saturday morning, but her phone would have been beeping like mad!) and I tried to convince myself it’d be ok.

And so, I started to assemble the cake. After searching high and low for cardboard and making the correct size circles I continued. Brush the sides of 10-inch spring form pan lightly with flavourless 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 aluminium foil and fit into bottom of pan. Centre 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.

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).

I had friends over for dinner so here is where the photos really slowed down. My confidence was low and I went on and made everything else for dinner (roast chicken with all the trimmings – ye, I don’t know what I was thinking either).

Next, came the strawberry juice.

Coarsely chop the strawberries and place 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).
And finally for the mirror. This part went smoothly (and looked great on mine). I know a few others had difficulty, so I am sorry to say, but I am glad one part went smoothly for me. (Maybe it was the wine)?

Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatine over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.

Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatine mixture and stir to dissolve gelatine. Tint to desired colour with red food colouring.

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.

When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake.

Refrigerate until set.

(To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of spring form 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.



Dharm said...

Well Done! It certainly looks lovely and I like how your layers are so even. Its amazing how you managed to take pics of each step.. that show immense confidence! Well Done again!

Anh said...

Lovely cake. I love love this cake... it's wonderful just by itself!!! Full of flavours.

Andrea said...

Your cake looks great! The photos of the process are very helpful.

Leslie said...

Your cake turned out fabulous!!!!! I had issues with the bavarian cream as well....ah well, chalk one up to experience, eh? :)

Good job!

Pille said...

Well done on completing the challenge successfully!! I agree - it's very helpful to have step-by-step photos for this cake. I only photographed the finished product, as the cake-making was quite a hassle and I didn't have a chance to stop to take any pictures myself :)

Tartelette said...

Beautiful! I love the step by step pics, I never have one "sugar free" hand in the middle of baking to do it but I am very appreciative!

Brilynn said...

Now this is what my cake was supposed to look like! Well done!

Peabody said...

Great job of showing step by step!

Inne said...

What a great job you've done for your first challenge, it looks absolutely fabulous!

Inne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Fantastic job on your first challenge. Those layers are so even, did you use a builders spirit level?

KJ said...

Great job. Your cake looks lovely.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You had clean anything left in your kitchen to cook dinner for friends!?
Aren't you impressed that you can do a cake like this. . . it's beautiful! Well done and welcome.

Jerry said...

Congrats on the first challenge!

Marce said...

Congratulations on completing your first challenge, it looks amazing and i can´t believe you were able to document it all step by step, that´s quite a feat while trying to bake something this labor intensive.

Sara said...

Very nice. This was a fun challenge, wasn't it?

Deborah said...

It looks like your first challenge was a success!

Anita said...

Wonderful! I love all the photos documenting the process.

breadchick said...

Great job on your very first challenge! You did wonderful (considering all your pre-baking jitters). Welcome aboard!

Lis said...

Way to go! Your layers are perfect and I absolutely loved the step-by-step photos!

Congrats on your first challenge!


Patricia Scarpin said...


Cheryl said...

Wonderfully done, great evenness on the layers.

Ivonne said...

Congratulations on completing your first challenge! You did a great job!

Quellia said...

Good work! Welcome Daring Baker!

Elle said...

You get the prize for the best step by step post. Your cake looks very yummy, too.

Chris said...

Congrats on your first challenge. Your cake look fabulous!

Culinarily Curious said...

I think you did an admirable job with the most complicated cake you've ever made -- congratulations!