Well, it that time of the month when I summon my courage and meet the Daring Bakers Challenge. I'm new to the group, having only done the infamous Martha Stewart Crepe Cake, and Real Jewish Bagels. This time the amazing Peabody challenged us to make a mirror cake. I've never seen a mirror cake before, never knew there was such a thing. So, this promised to be quite interesting. After looking at the recipe. I saw that I would be making cake layers, then combining them with bavarian cream to make a molded structure topped by a shiny gelatin layer. It seemed like I could manage it, I told myself. And there it was--my fatal mistake. Somewhere, the baking gods, pastry division, decided to teach me a lesson. They'd remind Sher that she has very little knowledge or experience with preparing non-yeast baked goods.
And here is a summary of my three days in baking hell, or How I Learned That I Am A Hapless Fool When Making Mirror Cakes.
My first mistake was waiting until three days before the deadline of the challenge to make the cake. I wasn't alarmed. I would bake the two little cake layers on Friday. Saturday, I would make the bavarian cream and assemble the molded cake. Then, I would put the gelatin topper on Sunday, take photos, and write my post. Easy, I told myself.
1. Friday. The Cakes. It's a simple recipe, seemingly. You beat eggs, sugar and vanilla, then fold in flour and whipped cream, then spread it all on a jelly roll pan and bake for about ten minutes. Then you cut out two 8 inch circles of cake. My first attempt produced thin, rubbery cakes layers. I suddenly wondered if I was still making the Martha Stewart crepe cake, because they certainly looked more like crepes than cake. There was no way I could use them. Discouraged, I decided to start fresh on Saturday.
2. Saturday. I started again in the early morning and made another cake, after reading tips from the other Daring Bakers who had mastered this type of cake. I beat the eggs and sugar harder and longer this time--and folded the flour and egg whites very gently. And wound with the same type of flat, rubbery cake. My advice if you make this cake, is to beat the living hell out of the eggs and sugar, before you fold in your ingredients. I obviously didn't.
I ate some of the cake scraps and sulked. Then decided to try again, beating the eggs and sugar violently, while muttering threats. And I wound up with more crepe cakelettes. Realizing this could go on forever, I gave up and began making the bavarian cream, during which I spilled all my vanilla and had to go back to the store for more. Later I discovered that the cream I bought the day before was spoiled. I dropped an egg on my foot. Made another trip to the store for more gelatin. And I curdled the custard for my bavarian cream. By that time, I was expecting locusts and floods.
Finally after stumbling around and re-doing almost everything, I began layering the crepe cakes with the bavarian cream late at night. Suddenly, my right hand began to cramp, until I couldn't bend my fingers at all. It was all too familiar, worse than the massive charley horse that I suffered making the Jewish Bagels. So, this is how it's going to be with the Daring Bakers Challenges, I thought?
3. Sunday. I began making the mirror and spilled half of the strawberry juice down my shirt. Luckily, I had more strawberries in the fridge and made another batch. Finally, I was able to put the mirror on and stash the cake in the fridge. From that moment on, everything was OK. True, I nearly dropped the cake on the floor later, while removing it from the fridge. But, by the time I was finished, I was glad to have gone through the experience of making the cake. It could have been better. My crepe cakelettes were not what they could have been. The bavarian cream could have been creamier. And I should have gone with my idea of putting miniature hockey players on top of the cake, as a salute to Peabody. But, I was happy to take part in another Daring Baker challenge. Tomorrow I'll enjoy another slice of the Mirror Cake and think what a great group the Daring Bakers are, and how each challenge is always memorable. And thank you again, Peabody.
If you want to see all the incredible mirror cakes from this challenge, I urge you to click onto the Daring Bakers Blogroll and see what real talent can do. And if you'd like to make the recipe yourself, Peabody should have it on her site. Just follow the instructions!
Note: I'm also not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to adding things to my blog. I'm having trouble getting the Daring Baker's Blogroll listed on my sidebar. So, use the link just above. It connect you do a lovely blogroll!