Daring Bakers: Strawberry Mirror Cake

I’m proud to announce that I from this month am a member of the amazing Daring Bakers. Thank you all very much for letting me join. The Daring bakers consist of proud women and men that love to bake and are not afraid of baking challenges. The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day, this time on the 30th of June.

The challenge for the month of July was a Strawberry mirror cake and was picked by Peabody. When I first read the recipe I thought that it sounded rather easy as I’ve baked quite many cakes with mirrors. But I would soon realise that it wasn’t that easy, especially when I noticed that the bavarian cream was custard based… I’ve lost track of how many times during the baking of the cake I said to my husband: “You better not like this cake because I’ll never ever bake it again. It’s just not worth the effort!”. Apart from the mild strawberry taste, the Strawberry bavarian cream was creamy and light; very yummy. The best part of the cake was the mirror, as I wrote earlier I’ve done a lot of cakes with mirrors but thanks to the homemade strawberry juice this one was outstanding. I will definitly use this mirror recipe for other cakes.

Thanks Peabody for choosing this month’s recipe for the Daring Bakers! I had great fun even though I was very frustated when the clock passed midnight with no hope of getting a whole edible cake for the fika I was planning the day after. But I made it and can’t wait to get the info for next month’s challenge!

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t start baking an advanced recipe too late in the evening or you’ll get very tired. Especially if you’ll encouter any problems.
2. Make sure to make the conversions from cups to milliliters and grams correctly.
3. Learn to make custard. Obviously using room temperatured products and stiring constantly on a low heat isn’t enough. I’ve failed several times, including other recipes and I never seem to learn.
4. READ the recipe carefully. Once, twice, three times and even up to ten times.
5. Make sure to have all ingredients at home. Especially if you start baking in the evening. Or just make sure to have a husband that will go shopping for you in the middle of the night (assumable that you have a grocery or 7-eleven store that’s open).

Number of times I had to make the Strawberry Bavarian Cream:
3, yes THREE.
First attempt: I used the wrong amount of sugar (please refer to point 2 under “lessons learned”) but still decided to go on and then the custard curdled.
Second attempt: I ran out of milk (please refer to point 5 under “lessons learned”) so I had to ask my husband to go shopping milk (and eggs just in case I would’t make it on the second attempt either). And of course my custard curdled again, even though all ingredients were at a room temperature.
Third attempt: At this point I was really glad that I’ve had asked my husband to buy extra eggs. With the new eggs I also realised that the earlier egg yolks were really small compared to the new ones. I googled and read everything about making custard and asked my husband to do so as well. I think that I made it correctly, but I can’t be sure. I didn’t really understand how thick the cream should be, but I guess that it’s was OK as the cake turned out really well. But as I was very stressed and tired (it was past midnight) I forgot to strain the strawberry puree which I didn’t realise until the cake was eaten and gone… Oh well.

What I didn’t like about the recipe:
1. Very time consuming, but most of it was my fault due to the problems with the Strawberry bavarian cream.
2. Food colouring. Why use it when this cake is naturally beautiful?
3. Baking the cake in a jelly roll pan and then cutting out circles. To my husbands delight there were a lot of left overs, but I would have prefered to bake the cake in two spring forms.

What I forgot:
1. To strain the strawberries for the puree.

What I didn’t have at home:
1. Cardboard.
2. Food colouring (and I refused to buy it as the strawberries were so pretty and naturally coloured. Sorry daring bakers!)
3. Kirsch (I substituted with transparent raspberry vodka)
4. Aluminium foil for the bottom.

Eggs used for this recipe (including the extra ten eggs due to me failing with the bavarian cream):

To see all Strawberry Mirror Cakes made by the other Daring Bakers, just go to the Daring Bakers Blog Roll site.

    Strawberry Mirror Cake
    (A Daring Bakers challenge. Adapted from Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993)

    3 eggs
    3 egg yolks
    ¾ cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3 egg whites
    1/8 tsp cream of tartar (I bought my jar at “The English Shop” in Söderhallarna)
    2 TBSP sugar
    2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not to be found anywhere so I used 60 gram normal flour and 5 gram maizena/cornstarch)
    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.While 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 (see further down).
    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).

50 Responses to “Daring Bakers: Strawberry Mirror Cake”

  1. Wendy
    July 30th, 2007 01:59

    And your conclusion? Worth it or not? :)

  2. Dharm
    July 30th, 2007 02:03

    Dagmar! The cake looks lovely!! All even and the layers come out real well!! Congrats you!

  3. Andrea
    July 30th, 2007 04:33

    You should be very proud of yourself! You made a beautiful cake and persevered in spite of problems along the way. Quite The Daring Bakers spirit!

  4. Deborah
    July 30th, 2007 05:10

    I made a recipe this weekend that I had to convert the measurements, and converted completely wrong – so I know what you mean! Your cake turned out beautiful, though.

  5. leslie
    July 30th, 2007 05:45

    Your cake looks beautiful! Welcome to the DBs. I love how your cake layers are so lovely and thin. I didn’t have a jelly roll pan, so baked 2 8″ cakes and they came out a bit thick. Yours is beautiful!

  6. Anh
    July 30th, 2007 08:30

    Your cake looks so wonderful. Great job! :)

  7. Pille
    July 30th, 2007 08:43

    Looks great, Dagmar! I thought my 11 eggs were on the excessive side, but your 21 are even more impressive!!! I had a near disaster with the curdled cream, too, but managed to somehow save it at the last moment. Also, I didn’t use any food colouring as I don’t have any at home, and didn’t want to buy specially, as I never use them. And although the cake was tasty and looked good and K. really liked it, I thought it was way too much effort :) Maybe I’m just a lazy daring baker :)

  8. peabody
    July 30th, 2007 10:26

    Third times a charm! Great job.

  9. Anne
    July 30th, 2007 10:43

    It looks absolutely great! :)

  10. Kelly-Jane
    July 30th, 2007 10:50

    A great cake for your first challenge! and welcome to the DBs :)

  11. sher
    July 30th, 2007 11:12

    All your efforts were well worth it because the cakes are adorable!!! I had a lot of trouble, but mine isn’t nearly as cute as yours.

  12. Anne
    July 30th, 2007 11:15

    Simply beautiful :)

  13. ilva
    July 30th, 2007 11:30

    Really very beautiful Dagmar!

  14. KJ
    July 30th, 2007 12:00

    I’m glad that your perserverance was rewarded with a really beautiful cake. I hope you enjoyed eating it.

  15. Seima
    July 30th, 2007 14:33

    The cake looks great!
    Congratulations for the membership!

  16. Meeta
    July 30th, 2007 15:21

    Oh wow! 3 Times???

    But it looks awesome Dagmar, really great!

  17. breadchick
    July 30th, 2007 16:25

    Your cake looks lovely. Funny how things always seem to go off the tracks late at night! Welcome aboard and glad to have you part of our group!

  18. gilly
    July 30th, 2007 16:51

    Gorgeous, Dagmar! Congrats on completing your first DB challenge!

  19. Laura
    July 30th, 2007 17:21

    Fantastic cake Dagmar, I’m with you on the food colour, it was pretty-in-pink without it!

  20. Jerry
    July 30th, 2007 17:26

    It doesn’t look like you forgot anything, just looks like a wonderful cake!

  21. Lisa
    July 30th, 2007 17:30

    Stunning – Absolutely stunning, Dagmar. I am in love with your cake. =) I have to ask.. what is your secret to such a clear (no bubbles or foamy residue) mirror? It’s perfect!

    I loved your post.. very well written! I’m tickled you’re with us!


  22. Hilda
    July 30th, 2007 18:15

    I am so impressed at your perseverance through all that. Your cake looks beautiful and perfect so it was worth it in the end!

  23. Shaun
    July 30th, 2007 18:57

    Dagmar – This is a beautiful attempt, however frustrating the custard process was. Maybe you should just make custard a few times to really get the hang of it – the best way is as an excuse to make loads of ice cream, which is how I perfected my custard-making ability. I agree with you about leaving out food colouring. A beautiful cake.

  24. Sara
    July 30th, 2007 18:57

    Wow, 21 eggs and 3 attempts at the cream. Way to go! You’ve got more patience that I would have.

  25. Elle
    July 30th, 2007 20:14

    Wonderful post and photos and I love your tips, especially having a husband willing to go out in the middle of the night to buy more eggs, etc. So glad you worked through the Bavarian custard making. A true Daring Baker.

  26. Veron
    July 30th, 2007 20:23

    Beautiful cake! A true daring baker, you persevered until you got the cream right and you sure did judging by how gorgeous your layers came out. Kudos to your husband too, for getting you the required eggs!

  27. Patricia Scarpin
    July 30th, 2007 23:23

    Dagmar, your cake is beautiful!

  28. Jenn
    July 30th, 2007 23:30

    Congrats on your first challenge, Dagmar! It looks just lovely!

  29. Cheryl
    July 30th, 2007 23:45

    Absolutely fantastic job you did. The color on your cream is outstanding.

  30. Erin
    July 31st, 2007 00:47

    I’m impressed your bavarian cream didn’t need any red food coloring! Mine was a bit purple and definitely needed the red to look appetizing.

    Congrats! I’m a first timer as well and this was so fun!

  31. Ivonne
    July 31st, 2007 01:08

    Congratulations on completing your very first DB event! You did a great job!

  32. Lena
    July 31st, 2007 01:27

    Wow! That is one beautiful cake! I admire your patience, three times of making the B cream I would have given up for sure. You did a fantastic baking job, and a very fun to read report on it all :)

  33. Mary
    July 31st, 2007 03:48

    Very nicely done! I couldn’t believe the amount of eggs that went into this cake either but 21 eggs! Now you are truly worthy of being a DB.

  34. Chris
    July 31st, 2007 04:45

    Wonderful first challenge! Your reflections are great – well thought out!

  35. Tartelette
    July 31st, 2007 04:52

    Congratulations on your first challenge! I used lemon vodka and no red colrig as my husband is allergic ad the strawberries had plenty of color already. Gorgeous!

  36. MyKitchenInHalfCups
    July 31st, 2007 05:11

    But, Dagmar, I really did read and re-read more than 10 times and I still didn’t get it the first time. I got more when I made it the second time but I don’t know that I’d say I got it 100% even so.
    But, I did have 100% fun!
    Welcome to the Daring Bakers. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in August besides HOT.

  37. MyKitchenInHalfCups
    July 31st, 2007 05:12

    Your mirror is beautiful!

  38. monica
    July 31st, 2007 07:02

    gorgeous cake, lovely layers! and congrats on your 1st DB challenge!

  39. Dolores
    July 31st, 2007 08:49

    Welcome to the Daring Bakers Dagmar, and congratulations on a gorgeous mirror cake. Twenty one eggs may be a record! I loved your discussion of your lessons learned, likes and dislikes, and non-residents in your kitchen.

  40. Dagmar
    July 31st, 2007 13:44

    Thank you all for your sweet kind comments and reflections! And a big thank you to all DARING BAKERS for the warm welcome!!!

    Wendy: It’s worth it, but with some modifications… ;-) Less jelly, maybe a tarter berry like raspberry etc.

    Lisa: Thanks :-) I did the strawberry juice in the evening and left it in the frigde overnight. When I finally made the mirror in the morning I made sure to mix well. I removed the foam with a spoon before pouring it on the cake. After pouring the mirror I tapped the whole cake on the counter and then I used a small fork and carfully mixed the mirror while on the cake.

    Shaun: That sounds like a great ide! What a wonderful excuse for making loads of ice cream!!

  41. Heather
    July 31st, 2007 16:52

    I can’t believe that you remade the cream 3 times. I would not have had the patience.
    I love your post and will be back to read more of your entries. I am glad you joined the group.

  42. Michael
    July 31st, 2007 20:59

    I wish my woman was as godly as you are in the kitchen! That cake looks to die for…

  43. Rachel
    July 31st, 2007 22:29

    Your’s is BEAUTIFUL! I agree about the food coloring, I wondered why we were putting it in when the strawberries were nice and red.

  44. the chocolate lady
    August 1st, 2007 06:29

    breathtaking! I won’t use coloring either, or gelatin, but wow, this is something.

  45. Jenny
    August 1st, 2007 22:45

    Your cake looks beautiful! I don’t blame you for not adding any food coloring, the colors are lovely on their own. My copy of the recipe had the coloring as optional anyways.

  46. Wendy
    August 2nd, 2007 08:27

    What perserverance!!! Your cake looks great. I also did not use the red food coloring and substituted chambord for the kirsh (my grocery store did not carry kirsh).

  47. Dagmar
    August 3rd, 2007 11:33

    To all:
    Thank you all again very much!!! I love being a part of the daring bakers!

  48. Amy
    August 3rd, 2007 21:28

    Your cake looks wonderful! Great job on your first challenge!

  49. Milooo
    November 25th, 2008 15:43

    VERY, very, very beautiful ^^
    Congratulations :D

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