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*UPDATED WITH HOW-TO PICTURES*

I must admit, I had a lot of fun with this one. I have always loved light creamy desserts ones which the dessert’s beauty matches its taste! But as I am a novice baker, this is something I would have never attempted on my own – I always thought it was too hard, too time consuming and just plain too annoying. So, in order to no longer have this excuse, I joined the Daring Bakers in June. I wanted to make sure that I learned how to bake, to really learn so I would know once and for all if my feelings about baking were actually based in truth, or if it was something I was just assuming. Now that I have joined and completed two challenges, I must say that baking is not really as god-awful as I thought! I have realized that I am not a big fan of baking breads as I do not enjoy the sensation of kneading. However, whipping eggs and cream and sifting flour – that is not so bad at all. I must say I get a real satisfaction out of seeing these creations come together and I am really looking forward to the next challenge! This month’s challenge was hosted by Peabody.

This is a very time consuming recipe.. However, I do believe it is worth making. This weekend Roberto and I celebrated our engagement with my family and so in honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to prepare this beautiful pastry. It is a labor of love to a day dedicated to love, all decked out in the color of love – PINK.

I garnished each of my slices with a dollop of Irish Cream whipped cream and a whole strawberry. They were big slices, but everyone at the table finished theirs! So I think that was a good sign! We were surprised at how light the cake was for its size!

I will be posting all the “how-to” pictures later on today. I just wanted to make sure to get his up this morning before I head off to the cooking school for another week of kids’ camp! This week they will be learning about ethnic cuisines!

INGREDIENTS:

The only thing I omitted from the recipe is the strawberry liquor.

Strawberry Mirror Cake
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBSP sugar
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
½ cup water
1/3 cups sugar
2 TBSP kirsch or strawberry liqueur (I omitted this and it turned out fine)

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
2 ½ TBSP unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree(1 ½ baskets)
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 TBSP lemon juice
several drops of red food coloring
1 ¾ cups whipping cream

Strawberry Mirror
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP kirsch (I omitted this as well)
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
Few drops of red food coloring

Strawberry Juice
1 ½ pints of strawberries(18 oz)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water

METHOD:

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 inch jelly roll pan(rimmed baking sheet). Line bottom of pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.

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2. To prepare the cake, beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, ad cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 TBSP sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks(do not over beat).

4. Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in . Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.

5. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until light brown and springy to touch(7 to 10 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake. Wrap the cake layers, separated with waxed paper, and set aside. Cake may be frozen at this point.

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6. To make soaking syrup: Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur. Set aside or refrigerate in glass jar until ready to use.

7. To assemble cake: Brush sides of 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten(not drench) the cake; set aside.

8. Prepare Strawberry Bavarian Cream.

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Immediately pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream.

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Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets(1 to 2 hours).

9. Prepare the Strawberry Mirror.
(see pictures of how to below)

10. To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Strawberry Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake. Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.

Prep Work

Strawberry Puree

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Take about a pint of strawberries (about 16 oz) and puree them in a food processor and reserve for the Bavarian cream.

Strawberry Bavarian Cream

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1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.

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2. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture and stir with a wooden spoon(it doesn’t say so but I would temper the egg mixture first to be safe). Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon.(Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Pour into a stainless steel bowl place over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.

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3. While gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatin mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

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Strawberry Juice

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Wash and hull strawberries; coarsely chop. Place strawberries in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes(Do not press down on fruit).

Strawberry Mirror

1. Prepare strawberry juice.

2. Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.

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3. Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve gelatin. Tint to desired color with red food coloring. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell); remove from ice water.

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4. When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

5. Eat and ENJOY!

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Adapted from Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993