July 31, 2007

Strawberry Mirror Cake... Ice Cream


If you’re a Daring Baker, then you’re probably looking at that top picture and thinking to yourself “Um, Brilynn, did you realize your mirror cake is upside down? And why does it look like it’s frozen?” If you’re not a Daring Baker, you’re probably thinking “What the heck is a mirror cake and what does it have to do with ice cream?” There’s a perfectly logical explanation to both sets of questions, I swear. 1- Just because it was supposed to be a mirror cake, doesn’t mean that’s what I ended up with. 2- If it were a mirror cake, you’re right, it would be upside down. 3- It is most certainly frozen.

I tried to follow the rules, I really did, but I was experiencing some seriously negative kitchen karma that day because somehow, everything I did was wrong. Let’s rewind a little bit, shall we? I was trying to make a Strawberry Mirror Cake because that was the recipe that Peabody had selected for this month’s Daring Baker Challenge. It was no surprise that Peabody selected such an elegant dessert for our challenge, everything she makes is spectacular. It really should have come as no surprise either that I managed to goof it up. I’m very good at that. What I was supposed to create was 2 layers of sponge cake surrounded by a strawberry Bavarian cream and topped with a glossy strawberry gelatin layer. What I ended up with was Strawberry Cake ice cream.



I didn’t immediately jump to making ice cream, it began innocently enough with me assembling all of the ingredients and making only one substitution; I set to making the cake as directed. The agar-agar was my one substitution and it was in place of gelatin. It came from a random Chinatown shopping trip where I decided that I needed it without really knowing what it was or how it was used except that it sounded like something I’d need for a molecular gastronomy type dish. Of course I’ve never put it to use and it’s languished in my cupboard until the mirror cake came along. I read about one of the other Daring Bakers who couldn’t use gelatin and was replacing it with agar-agar so I figured I was safe to do so as well since I had no intentions of going into town to pick up the forgotten gelatin, (I shake my fist in the general direction of town).

After making the cake and the Bavarian cream and putting the two together, I left the cake in the fridge, (sans mirror) for a while, hoping it would do as it was supposed to and firm up. After hours of fridge time and no sign of solidification I decided I would just pour the mirror on top of my floating cake island and hope for the best. At first, I was pleasantly surprised. Oooh look at the pretty mirror! It’s all nice and glossy and red. Maybe my cake can be saved after all. Wait, what’s happening? What’s that hole? Where is the mirror going? Noooooooooooo! A sink hole had opened up and I watched as the mirror portion drained down to the bottom of the cake pan, never to be seen again. It was actually pretty cool to watch, I just wish I hadn’t been the only to witness it.


After watching the last few drops of mirror disappear underneath my floating cake island I accepted the fact that my cake was going to be ‘different’ and I got out the ice cream machine. Part way through the churning process Dad walked into the kitchen, looked from the empty cake pan to the ice cream machine and back to the empty cake pan before saying “Uh, were you supposed to do that?” No, no I wasn’t, but after 4 hours in the fridge and not even a hint of becoming firm, short of starting over again, this was all I could do. That’s when Dad’s kitchen smarts kicked in and he suggested that when the ice cream machine was done doing its job, that I pour the frozen cake ice cream into my new silicone bundt pan before putting it in the freezer so that it would still look like a cake, even if it was a frozen one. Genius! This got the wheels in my head turning a little and I decided to also create a mini version in a ramekin which I topped with leftover strawberry juice to create the illusion of a mirror. For a while I debated whether or not my faux strawberry mirror cake could pass as the real thing, but then I wouldn’t have a story to tell you. It’s more fun to read a post about my disasters than if everything had been smooth sailing. Plus, this will make you more impressed with me when I do something and it turns out right.


To check out all of the other Daring Bakers, it’s now easier than ever, just click here to be taken to the Daring Bakers Blogroll. I promise you, they can show you what a real mirror cake should look like. Check out Peabody's post for the original recipe and an example of a gorgeous cake.




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47 comments:

Meeta said...

Oh Bril, you and your dad are geniuses!! I think it's fantastic to be more creative in the kitchen even when things do not go as expected. I think you saved it exceptionally.

steph said...

curses to agar-agar! i tried it for the first time, too, and i wasn't very successfull either. i didn't really know how to incorporate the step of dissolving it into the recipe, and my bavarian was pasty/grainy. looked ok, but didn't taste so good--we just ate 2 baby slices out of a 10 inch cake. boo. nice save by you tho!

Peabody said...

Holy cow...you did have some bad kitchen karma! But you and your dad had a great recovery!

K & S said...

I've tried substituting agar-agar for gelatin too, it wasn't pretty. Still, this cake was a great save!

Alice Q. said...

Oh no! That is hilarious though. Did it work? How did it taste?? It totally occurred to me that the cream has all the ingredients for ice cream, so hopfully it was good! I guess this is a cautionary tale for anyone who was hoping to swap agar agar for gelatin in recipes - I've always heard it's really strong - go figure!

DaviMack said...

You know, that's actually a very cool idea - and I'm thinking that your iced cream was probably better than the cake, when all's said and done!

Kelly-Jane said...

That was a great recovery for sure, well done!

Ellie said...

Awwww, no!! LOL! I'm really sorry to hear that it didn't work out as planned, but thanks to your talent for quick fixes, it looks like it worked out okay in the end :D

Inne said...

Great save, Brilynn. And, seeing as how much of an ice cream fan you are, at least you got to enjoy the results. After I finished my cake I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible, so I made my partner take it to work.

Lydia said...

Oh, I'm laughing -- to me an ice cream cake sounds so much better than the actual mirror cake, which many of the bakers seemed to think lacked taste or texture. But ice cream -- how can that be bad?!

breadchick said...

Brilynn, you are brilliant! Way to make lemonade out of lemons...errr ice cream out of mirror sucking cake! I'll bet it was super tasty!!

Andrea said...

Oh no! I had to a laugh at your description of a sink hole! You handled that challenge very creatively! I'm impressed!

veron said...

Well you and your dad were very inventive. I have my share of kitchen disasters so you're in good company. Besides disasters make a better story anyway. :)

Lis said...

Hysterical AND pure genius! I can so imagine you standing there watching the void suck in the mirror.. brings back fond (NOT) memories of The Mothership.

Well done!

xoxo

Patricia Scarpin said...

Bri, you are very daring, indeed!

Maria said...

I like the ice cream idea! Maybe it was meant to be:)

Rachel said...

Hehe...that sounds great! At some point you have to say ok enough of this, what can we do with what we have. Good job! Your's looks yummy.

Sara said...

Very cool end result!

Quellia said...

LOL! Now that's putting your disaster to good work!
Nice island, btw!

Deborah said...

This is too funny!! I think I would have thrown it into the garbage - a genius idea to turn it into ice cream!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Way to improvise your way out of a kitchen disaster! It looks great and I'm sure tasted fabulous. And isn't that what counts?

Tartelette said...

Genius Brilynn! I am glad you were quick to think about a solution and offer this ice cream. Brilliant!

Mallow said...

Fabulous save! Sounds great!

Danielle said...

Bri, you never cease to astound and impress me. Brilliant save! I love your stories.

jef said...

Cheater!!!! :)

Well, it was a damn good save at least. The last time I used agar-agar I was making anmitsu and the agar gelled almost too good. I'd bet there is something fishy with the agar or maybe the conversion is messed up.

Either way, your IC cake looks good and probably had a better shelf life than mine.

Anne said...

Even when it didn't turned the way it should be, I'm happy you made it into something just as delicious :)

Leslie said...

BAHAHAHA - that is GENIUS!!!! Hope the ice cream was tasty. The story had me laughing my butt off, but your final product looks great.

Good job, girl!

Chris said...

Holy Cannoli! What a time you had! Great recovery!

Elle said...

Great save Bril. Julia Child would be impressed and it does look pretty.

Dharm said...

How brilliant are you!! Now we have another recipe we can all use..

Amy said...

Great save, making it an ice cream cake was brilliant! The bundt cake is really cute!

Laura said...

Well done Brilynn it would be a shame to let all that hard work and strawberries go to waste!

Amrita said...

Aww! Agar won't work unless you want a crunchy mirror!!! Hehe!!! But kudos to you for turning a disaster into a work of art!

KJ said...

LOL. Great save. There's a way out of everything, you just have to be creative.

aria said...

i think it looks beautiful, and so compelx. not being a daring baker (yet) myself i'm always extra impressed with your creations. looks fantastic!!

eatme_delicious said...

I bought some agar-agar recently because I was hoping to make vegan rice crispy squares (using vegan marshmallows). Now I'm scared to use it! Good for you for turning your cake into something different. I'm really curious as to how it tasted. Sounds like it would be really good.

Cheryl said...

Oh Bri, I'm so sorry about your cake. But you both are still freakin' geniuses to make it into ice cream. Great save!!

Culinarily Curious said...

I love your story -- the stories are what make these daring baking challenges fun -- and your "when life gives you lemons" attitude. Most people would have tossed the mess into the trash and called it a day. A Daring Baker improvises.

Ivonne said...

You're just so creative, Brilynn! I would have just cried and gone to bed! I wish I could have tasted it ...

Jenny said...

Oh my goodness, your post is too funny. I had bad kitchen karma the day I first tried too but just decided to try again - your way is much more interesting. I need to play more with agar agar though.

s'kat said...

This just goes to show you that if you don't tell anyonoe that you've messed up, they'll usually have no idea!

Great save!

Cynthia said...

My heart goes out to you but hey, that ice-cream bunt cake is a great alternative.

joey said...

Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of would-be defeat! What a great kitchen story and you ended up with a delicious looking ice cream cake (yum!!!) :)

Y said...

Hilarious. Ditto to everyone else who said that ice-cream cake sounds like an improvement on the original recipe! :-D

Jes said...

Awesome. That is the most brilliant solution ever!

ejm said...

Okay, really I do know that it is wrong to laugh at the misfortunes of others... but, but... I just can't help myself!

-Elizabeth

P.S. I'm with Lydia and secretly (or not so secretly, now that I'm blabbing), I think your failed mirror cake looks much more inviting than the real mirror cake. Sometimes, mirrors are overrated. And strawberry ice cream is the best!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Incredible story! Incredible cake!
This is really exceptional. Again, it simply seems impossible that with the same recipe there are so many different stories and cake to tell!
I say you turned this one upside down and came away a great success!
Amazing!