Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mirror, Mirror, on the cake stand, who is the shiniest in the land?

Anyone like me who is even a little bit addicted to Pinterest (I'm probably a lot addicted,) may have noticed the recent mirror glaze trend that's taken over as the current craze of the moment.  (You know, the have to have it treat of the week. . . like cronuts, and ruffle cakes, and geode cakes, etc., etc.) I finally got around to trying it, and it's a surprisingly accessible and approachable technique.  I have to say, I see the appeal.  These cakes are so, so gorgeous -- shiny, and sheeny, and totally reflective.  In fact in some of my pictures, you may be able to discern the light fixtures hanging overhead, reflected from the surface of the cake.

It must be said that this post has been a long time coming -- this particular cake has been long baked, decorated, and consumed (months ago, in fact.)  But the process of making the cake was so long, that I couldn't even think about writing about it without making myself tired (before nary a word was written.)  Luckily, after few consistent weeks at the gym, my energy levels seem to have spiked (who knew that actually really, truly happens!)  Don't get scared by the length of the post.  Like I said, it was a long process -- but not really that difficult, if you'd like to give it a shot.

Before the most awesome step of decorating, of course you have to start with a bare cake.  Which means that you have to bake a cake. (Maybe -- you could probably start with a plain store bought cake. . . but I baked it.)

The cake du jour was based on a doctored cake mix cake. (I promise, one of these days I'll post a from scratch cake, but this entire process took so long to begin with, that I took every short-cut I could find.) To be specific, it was a yellow cake stuffed with fresh blueberries and white chocolate chips, then filled with a store-bought lemon curd (again -- short-cuts) and a blueberry white chocolate whipped cream. Although I initially put the cake together in the pan, layer by layer; in the future, I would probably tort and fill on a regular turntable cake stand, and then transfer the cake as a whole to the springform pan.

As you can see, the springform pan is lined in acetate and is larger than the actual size of the cake.  It is important to trim the acetate so that it is exactly the height of the pan. (The acetate shown above was too high and had to be trimmed down further. The plan is to fill the space with a cheesecake mousse (which ends up being the frosting.)  My reasons for doing this were primarily to ensure a super smooth surface both at the top and sides of the cake, since a mirror glaze will hang on to any imperfection or dent in the cake and detract from that very shiny, very smooth surface that I'm trying to attain.  After the cheesecake mousse is piped in, the top of the cake is also covered with the mousse and the top of the cake is smoothed with a spatula so that it is exactly level with the top of the cake pan (hence the importance of the acetate being the correct height.)  The entire cake is then wrapped in saran and frozen for at least 12 hours.

I wrapped the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil in case it leaked; but it didn't, so I probably will skip that step in the future.

While the cake is chilling, it's important to make the mirror glaze in advance since it also needs to be chilled (in the refrigerator) for 12 hours before it's ready to go.

After sufficient chilling time, the cake is unwrapped, the pan is unclasped and the acetate is unpeeled from the cake, which should leave a very even surface. The cake is then placed on top of a cooling rack, which itself is on top of a rimmed cookie tray.

The glaze is poured over the cake, making sure to move the stream of glaze along the cake so that all spots are covered. Make sure to drizzle along the edge of the cake so that the sides are also covered as the glaze drips down.  Immediately after pouring, you can swipe the top of the cake with a spatula so that all spots are covered. It is important to do this immediately, though.  Because the glaze has gelatin in it, even after a few minutes it will start to set, and if you touch it, the glaze will come off on your spatula.

Depending on how you want to decorate, you can use several layers of different colors, or just a single layer.  After about 10 minutes, use a butter knife to run along the bottom of the cake to clean the edge.

I wanted something extra to go on top of the cake for dimension, so I decided to make a quick chocolate bowl.  Here's how to do it:
  • Line the outside of a container, in the desired shape of your bowl, with aluminum foil. I used a small metal prep bowl, which worked very well. Make sure there are as few creases as possible in the foil and it is flush with the shape of the container.  
  • Place the container upside down on the counter (open side facing counter.) 
  • Fit a piping bag with a small round tip, and fill with melted chocolate. If you want a colored bowl, you can color white chocolate with candy colors, which is what I did. 
  • Drizzle the chocolate over the container in a random pattern.  Curlicues work well. The more densely your chocolate is placed on the container, the stronger the bowl will be.  
  • Pop the container into the freezer for 10 minutes. When it's ready, the chocolate will look matte and be dry to touch.
  • Carefully unmold the foil from the container; ball up the foil in the middle of your chocolate bowl and remove.  
  • Now, you can fill with whatever you'd like -- fruit, candy, etc.

The complete recipe for those who would like it:

print recipe

White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake Mirror Cake
This is my take on the trending mirror glaze cakes. I found it to be surprisingly easy (but admittedly very time consuming.) It's definitely a go-to cake when you want to bring the WOW.
  • 1 box Butter Golden Cake Mix
  • 4 Eggs
  • 7 Tbsp Softened Butter
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 1 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 small box of each Jello Instant Pudding -- Cheesecake Flavor and White Chocolate Flavor
  • 2 8 oz packages Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups or to taste Powdered Sugar
  • 120 mL Water
  • 4 tsp Powdered gelatin
  • 200 g White Chocolate Chips
  • 140 mL Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 200 g Caster Sugar
  • 100 mL Water
  • 200 g Glucose
  • Food safe acetate, cut to length of circumference of 9 in pan
  • 9 in springform pan
  • 8 in cake pan
  • to taste Blueberry Jam
  • 2 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tsp Lemon zest
  • 1 jar Lemon curd
This is a multi-step process. First we'll tackle the cake, then the filling, followed by the frosting, and finally the mirror glaze. Here we go!1. Combine cake mix, eggs, butter, cheesecake pudding mix, and milk in bowl of stand mixer. 2. Using paddle attachment, beat at low for 30 seconds to just combine and then for 3 minutes until fully combined at high.3. Fold in the 1 cup of chocolate chips and blueberries.4. Bake in an 8 inch pan (3 inches deep) at 350 degrees for approximately one hour, or until set but not overdone. Cool on wire rack.While the cake bakes, work on the filling. . .1. Using the whisk attachment, beat the 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream and package of white chocolate instant pudding on high until stiff soft peaks.2. Add blueberry jam to taste. Refrigerate until needed.While the cake cools, work on the frosting. . . 1. Combine cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup whipping cream, vanilla, and lemon zest until smooth.2. Add powdered sugar and beat with a paddle attachment until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.When the cake is completely cool. . .1. Torte and fill with blueberry white chocolate whipped cream and lemon curd.2. Line the side of the springform pan with the acetate and cut down so that the acetate is exactly the height of the pan. The acetate should be flush with the side of the springform pan. Use a dab of frosting/filling to adhere the acetate to the edge of the pan if necessary.3. Center the filled cake in the springform pan. There should be a small gap between the cake and the acetate. 4. Using a piping bag with a large tip, fill the gaps between the cake and the acetate with the cheesecake frosting. To ensure that the sides of the cake have equal frosting all the way around, make sure that you move the piping bag around the cake as you fill. Fill as tightly as possible, so that there aren't air pockets in the frosting.5. Add a layer of frosting to the top of the cake and run a frosting spatula over the top of the cake pan to smooth. This should ensure that the top of the frosting is flat and even, and level with the top of the pan.6. Cover with saran wrap and freeze until ready to frost, at least overnight.Now to make the mirror glaze. . .1. Sprinkle gelatin over the 120 mL of water, in a large bowl. Let stand for at least 5 minutes.2. Melt the 200 g of white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.3. Add the white chocolate and condensed milk to the gelatin mixture and set aside.4. Heat the caster sugar, 100 mL of water, and glucose while stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 217 degrees F.5. Pour heated mixture over gelatin and blend with a hand mixer until smooth.6. Now is the time to separate into smaller bowls and dye as desired. (Gel color always!)7. Cover the bowls and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.Time to glaze!1. Take the cake out of the freezer and onto the counter top.2. Unwrap. Carefully unclasp the sides of the springform pan and peel away the acetate.3. Due to the technique, the frosting should already be extremely smooth. But, take care of any dents that may have occurred by using a spatula dipped in hot water to smooth the surface to perfection. Any imperfections can cause the mirror glaze to catch.4. When the cake is perfectly smooth, place on top of a cooling rack, which itself is on a rimmed cookie sheet.5. Pour the mirror glaze over the cake, quickly, making sure to move the bowl around as you pour so that there aren't any bare spots. (The sides are the hardest.)6. Immediately after completing pouring one color, smooth with a spatula by wiping from one side to another. This glaze sets VERY quickly, so if this isn't done immediately, the only thing accomplished with swiping will be to pull the glaze off of the cake in chunks.7. If you choose to use another color, repeat the above steps, remembering to wipe quickly to maintain that shiny perfect surface.Other notes: This cake can be froze for up to a couple of weeks without affecting the appearance at all. Before serving, defrost overnight in refrigerator.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 9" cake

And there you have it.  Just look at those reflections!  For the record, (and to answer the question) this is probably not the shiniest in the land, but it's pretty darn close!

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