Saturday, August 7, 2010
Strawberry Mirror Cake
However, when it comes to this Strawberry Mirror Cake, the superlative is difficult to avoid. But I don't want to hazard claiming that this is the best dessert ever and so I will just stop at saying that this is the best dessert that I can whip up. Not only is it gorgeous and elegant looking, it tastes better than it looks. Go on, drool over that slice.....
A few years ago, we were invited for dinner at a friend's place. Now, I am a dessert-first kind of person but I refused the dessert that day. Because for dessert was (a very delicious looking) strawberry mousse and mousse normally has raw eggs in it and I don't eat raw eggs.
"This doesn't have any eggs. In fact, it is made from - you won't believe it - ice cream and jelly!"
The mousse was fantastic and I just had to have the recipe. However, my recipe request was firmly turned down. "No sharing of recipes is going to happen," she said.
What friends don't share, Google happily does. I wasted no time in surfing the net, tried a few recipes; the one I stumbled upon at the OChef website tasted exactly like the one she had made.
A very easy dessert to make, the mock Strawberry Bavarian as it appears on OChef is very versatile too. I've made it in cherry and raspberry flavours with equally delicious results.
When I started blogging, I came across this group that calls itself 'the Daring Bakers'. One day, while browsing through one such intrepid blogger Sunita's blog, I came across the stunning Strawberry Mirror Cake and borrowed the basic presentation idea there to make mine.
My Strawberry Mirror Cake is a fusion of 3 different recipes. It might, by the look and sound of it, seem complicated but I can assure you that it is not so. And the end result is more than worth all the effort, both in terms of the way it looks and tastes.
I hope rather long recipe doesn't put you off - in any case, there are only 4 main steps; what you need to do is simply organise the steps.
Here's how I make it:
I start by baking the sponge cake.
Sugar: 120 gms
Cake flour: 100 gms
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
Butter: 65 gms, melted
Pre-heat the oven to 175 deg C.
Cream together the eggs and sugar till they are pale, light and creamy and the mixture falls in ribbons, about 10 mins. Sprinkle the flour and fold it into the egg sugar mixture with the help of a spatula. I do this in 3 additions. Beat this egg-sugar-flour mixture till it falls in ribbons again, about 1o - 12 mins. Finally, fold in the melted butter.
Bake in a greased 8" round cake pan for about 30-35 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Leave on the wire rack till it cools completely. Once cool, slice into 2.
While the cake bakes, set about preparing the strawberry juice for the mirror and for moistening the cake.
Strawberries: 680 gms
Sugar: 1 cup
Water: 1 cup
Lime juice: 1/2 tsp
Wash and hull the strawberries. Mash them with your hands or with the back of a spoon; sprinkle sugar over them and drizzle the lime juice. Set aside for about 15-20 mins so that the juices start to flow.
Place over low heat, add the water and simmer for about 10 mins. Strain through a fine sieve or preferably a cheesecloth and let drain for about 15-20 mins.
Reserve 1.5 cups for the mirror and use the rest for moistening the cake.
Now that the pre-preparation is through, move on to making the mock strawberry bavarian
Strawberry-flavored gelatin: 7.5 ounces/225 gms
Boiling water: 2 1/2 cups
Sour cream: 1 1/4 cup
Vanilla ice cream : 600 ml (the original recipe uses strawberry ice cream)
Lemon juice: 1 1/4 tbsp
Strawberries: 250 gms, chopped
A large bowl of ice
Place the jelly in a bowl and add the boiling water to it. Stir till the crystals dissolve. To this, add the sour cream and whisk until smooth.
Next add in the ice cream and mix until the ice cream has melted. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the chopped strawberries.
Place the vessel over a bowl of ice and stir till the mixture just starts to thicken. Once that happens, take the bowl off the ice (don't throw away the ice, you are going to need it for the mirror) and start to assemble the gateau:
In a 10" springform pan, place one half of the cake. Drizzle some strawberry juice to moisten the cake. Layer half of the bavarian on top of the cake and refrigerate for 15 mins.
Repeat with the other layer of the cake and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
This is the last step, making the strawberry mirror.
Strawberry juice: 1.5 cups (yes, the one we set aside earlier)
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
Kirsh: 1 tbsp (I omit this)
Water: 1 tbsp (I use 2 tbsps)
Unflavoured gelatin: 1 tbsp
A few drops red food colouring (I omit this)
Place the lemon juice and water in a bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the mixture and aside till the gelatin becomes soft and spongy.
Meanwhile, bring the juice to a simmer and pour it over the gelatin mixture. Stir to dissolve the gelatin. Add the colouring, if using.
Now place the mixture over a bowl of ice and stir till the mixture is syrupy and starts to thicken. As soon as it starts to thicken, remove the bowl from the ice. Scoop off any bubbles that may have formed while stirring and pour it over the top layer of the bavarian.
Refrigerate until the jelly sets.
To unmold, blow your hairdryer (YES! ) on its lowest setting all around the outside of the springform pan (you could even use a warm towel and run that on the outside of the pan) Then, run a spatula around the edge of the jelly to gently separate it from the sides of the pan - this step is most critical as the mirror could tear if it is stuck to the pan when you unlatch it.
The Strawberry Mirror Cake is a fitting end to a dinner party and so I am taking it along to Nupur's Potluck Party (the theme for this month's BB6).
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!