And the Daring Bakers are off again! This month the challenge was decided on by the demiurgic Peabody from Culinary Concoctions. She chose to have us all make a Strawberry Mirror Cake and, after reading about the wonderful cakes my fellow DBs made, I was very tempted to not post my final result.
The recipe was long and technical. If broken down into manageable components, this was an easy hurdle to overcome. After planning and buying all the necessary ingredients, I got to work. I was not too worried about the cake but, the cream and mirror held some additional challenges as they contained gelatin, a product I don't use. After finding agar agar, I had to hope it would work just as well as its animal counterpart. I was tempted to use some sort of Jello product but as you can see, I didn't! Sticking to a recipe is one thing I do very well.
After making the cakes, which were thin-ish I tackled the cream, stirring in the agar agar to measure the same as gelatin. I should have dissolved it completely in hot boiling water as there were some hard bits in the final cream. When I layered it in the pan with the cake I was hoping it would keep its shape, which it did. Yeah!
Now I don't know if I should have waited longer before pouring on the mirror but when I did, the smooth strawberry liquid disturbed the cream creating swirls. I was stumped and couldn't take it off so I kept pouring hoping for the best. After refrigerating it, I had a pink-topped cake with a mirror which had mysteriously sunk to the bottom of the cake. I tasted it and it had a gel-like consistency so the agar agar worked, though, unfortunately the mirror was on the wrong end.
Looking back at my experience, I would now modify the cakes to be baked in two round pans as opposed to one large pan with the cake circles being cut out. The rest would stay the same. I was initially hesitant to try it at all because of the ingredients but I'm glad I did. The challenge made me go out and look for ingredients I normally wouldn't have in my cupboard. Making gelatin-based desserts is new territory for me so I'll have to keep plugging away until I can master it.
Overall, I'm not sure if I can appreciate the flavour of the cake. Those who tried it said it tasted good and reminded them of trifle. I'm hesitant to give my version a two thumbs up as I'm sure I could do it better next time. I was also a little bummed about the mirror and the hard flakes - two things which greatly coloured how I saw this particular cake.
Thanks to Peabody for your bold choice! A big thank you goes out to all the Daring Bakers whose support and encouragement cushion the blow of disaster. Please visit Peabody's site for the full recipe and to see what all the other brilliant Daring Bakers created, click here. Looking forward to next month!