My friend’s birthday is coming up (actually, it’s tomorrow – she shares a birthday with Canada, which is both a blessing (there’s always something fun to do) and a curse (a lot of people have other plans that day)), and I’ve been making her a birthday cake every year since we were 17 or so (at least, her 17th birthday cake is the first one I remember making, I may have had a cake disaster or two before that which I’ve just blocked out of my memory).
For the cake, she requested alternating layers of chocolate and white. I went to my trusted cookbook, good ol’ Betty Crocker, and made two 9″ cakes: one a devil’s chocolate food cake, the other a rich white cake. For the white cake, I substituted vanilla extract with vanilla bean seeds just to be a little fancier.
I cut the cakes down to slightly less than 8″. This was important for two reasons: for one, I wanted to get rid of any burnt edges, and for another, I wanted to make the frosting flush with my 8″ cake board for the mirror glaze to be able to drip off nicely, so I needed a little space for frosting. As a bonus, I have plenty of leftover cake for snacking.
For the filling, I put on a thin layer of white chocolate buttercream, then topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate ganache:
At the end of this process, I had a four layer cake with alternating colours, and two types of fillings inside (yum!)
I left the cake in the fridge overnight, because the chocolate ganache needed some more time to set up before I could use it to properly cover the cake. I chose a chocolate ganache because I thought the richer chocolate would offset the sweet white chocolate in the glaze nicely, and because I thought I could get smoother sides than with buttercream to give a nice backdrop for the glaze.
I started with a layer of dark chocolate ganache, but at this stage I wasn’t entirely pleased with the cake; because the cake was cold when the ganache went on, the ganache set up too quickly and I had difficulty getting the perfectly smooth sides I wanted:
I was also concerned about pouring a light coloured mirror glaze (the request was for pink) on top of a dark ganache; if the mirror glaze wasn’t opaque enough, the chocolate would show through, and I was worried it would ruin the look. So I whipped up some white chocolate ganache and added another layer. This also had the benefit of bringing the cake flush with the cake board everywhere (as you can see in the photo above, the cake board was sticking out a little after the first ganache layer):
This didn’t provide a total cover on the dark chocolate ganache, but it definitely made a lighter backdrop for the mirror glaze.
At this point, I put the cake in the freezer and started on my mirror glaze. I chose this recipe because it looked the thickest and shiniest of the recipes I’d looked at. I saw a few mirror glazes that just seemed to slide off the cake and leave a very thin layer, and I didn’t want that. I also happened to have sweetened condensed milk on hand, so it was a convenient recipe for me.
It only took two drops of hot pink food colouring to get this lovely bright pink:
However, I wanted to go a step further and do a marbled effect, so I put in three drops of fuscia and three drops of red, then lightly swirled them in so they were well distributed, but not fully mixed into the mirror glaze.
The worst part was waiting for this to cool enough to pour! Once it was around body temperature, it was ready to go, and it was definitely worth the wait. It poured on super smoothly and stuck really well to the sides (having a nice cold cake also helped, but I had a mirror glaze in the past that just slopped right off, whereas this recipe gave me good coverage all over the cake).
I let the cake sit for a little bit before moving it, so I didn’t have to worry about collecting huge puddles of glaze in my cake box.
And voila, the final product :
I’m really excited about the look of the marbling on this cake, and I’m looking forward to using this recipe for more mirror glazed cakes in future.
The party is Saturday, so I’ll add an update with an inside picture of all the layers 🙂
EDIT: As promised, some inside pictures of the cake. Having four layers made it a bit tricky to cut, but it was super delicious. The chocolate ganache layer was thicker than I thought, which was good because this cake was a little light on the icing compared with what I usually do.