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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Strawberry Mirror Cake

The first time I ever heard of the group Daring Bakers was the month that they made this cake.  I remember looking through blog after blog with gorgeous pictures of this complicated cake and thinking I would never be able to make such a thing.  However, after a year of food blogging I have gained much more confidence in my culinary capabilities and felt it was time for me to give this cake a try.  My good friend Chelle and I decided to tackle this recipe together.  It was nice to have her support throughout this complex process.

Believe it or not (I couldn’t believe it myself), I made the entire cake without a single problem.  With so many steps and an elaborate assembly, I was just sure something would go wrong.  Especially after reading stories from several Daring Bakers who did have problems with this cake.  But it was a huge success and after a year of anticipation, this cake was everything I had hoped it would be.  It is a visually impressive, light and summery dessert.  The Bavarian cream is (obviously) the best part.  I was thrilled that there was quite a bit left after assembling the cake :-)  Ben and I both agreed that the flavor reminded us of melted strawberry ice cream  – yum!  I brought this to my family as a belated birthday cake for my dad and it was a hit all around.  My only regret is being unable to photograph the cut cake in my own house.  The lighting and dishes at my dad’s leave much to be desired.

Because of the many parts to this recipe, there is no very clear way to write it.  I have reformatted it in a way that I think makes the most sense to me.  I list the instructions for assembly first so that readers will know exactly when they will need each part of the recipe.  All in all I was thrilled with my result and I cannot wait to make this again.  I had a lot of fun making something so involved.  I may also try playing around with other flavors in the future, as there are many delicious possibilities!

Strawberry Mirror Cake

For the 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 cake flour, sifted


For the soaking syrup:

½ cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp. kirsch or strawberry liqueur


For the strawberry Bavarian cream:

2 ½ tbsp. unflavored gelatin

1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree

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


For the strawberry juice:

1 ½ pints strawberries (18 oz.)

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup water


For the strawberry mirror:

1 ½ cups strawberry juice

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. kirsch

1 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin

a few drops of red food coloring



To assemble the cake, brush the sides of a 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil.  Cut out a cardboard circle that is the exact same size as the bottom side of the pan; cover cardboard in aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. 


Center one layer of cake in the bottom of the pan.  Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten the cake.  Immediately after preparing the Bavarian cream, pour about half of it over the first layer of cake in the pan.  Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream.  Brush with soaking syrup to just moisten as before.  Pour remaining Bavarian cream over the cake and smooth the top with a spatula.  Refrigerate until the cream sets (1 to 2 hours). 


After preparing the mirror mixture, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of the cake.  Refrigerate until set.


To serve, wrap a hot towel around the outside of the springform pan for a few minutes.  Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the strawberry mirror to separate it from the sides of the pan.  The mirror will tear when the 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. 




To make the cake, preheat oven to 450°.  Butter and flour the sides of an 11×17-inch sheet pan (rimmed baking sheet).  Line the bottom of the pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit exactly.


Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light.  Beat in the vanilla.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and beat until the whites begin to form soft peaks.  Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff glossy peaks (do not overbeat).  Sift the flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in.  Stir in one fourth of the whites.  Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.


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


To make the soaking syrup, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.  Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur.  Set aside or refrigerate in an air-tight container until ready to use. 


To make the strawberry Bavarian cream, sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.  Combine the egg yolks and the sugar in a bowl and beat until light.  Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan.  Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.  Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in the sauce when drawn across the back of a spoon.  Do not allow the mixture to boil!  Immediately remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.  Pour into a stainless steel bowl placed over a bowl of ice water.  Stir in the lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring.  Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream. 


While the 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.


To make the strawberry juice, wash and hull strawberries; coarsely chop.  Place strawberries in a saucepan; crush to start juices flowing.  Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly for 10 minutes.  Pour juice and pulp into a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl.  Allow to drain for 15 minutes.  Do not press down on fruit.


To make the strawberry mirror, place lemon juice, water and kirsch in a small bowl.  Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.


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 a bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just begins to thicken (do not let jell).  Remove from the ice water.  When the mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of the assembled cake.  Refrigerate until set.

Source: originally from Cakes and Pastries At the Academy by California Culinary Academy, 1993.  Adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

  • You did a great job – excellent torting btw!

  • It looks great! This DB recipe was before I was reading food blogs, so although I’ve heard of this cake, I never really looked at the recipe. It looks so good. My husband absolutely loves strawberry ice cream, so I bet this would be perfect for him.

  • Wow, it looks amazing & so difficult – great job!

  • It looks amazing! Awesome job!

  • Wow! It’s so beautiful! You did an amazing job!

  • That cake is just beautiful!

  • Beautiful cake Annie! Yours looks just perfect. I had fun making this together; thanks for talking me down from the ledge after my Bavarian cream debacle ;-)

  • Melissa

    Wow, your cake looks amazing!

  • Wow! Your cake came out gorgeous!

  • Your cake is gorgeous!

  • A work of art!

  • Woo Hoo – this is gorgeous and you did an amazing job. After the exhaustion leaves, I maya just try this one just for it’s sheer beauty.

  • Great job. The instructions are a little hard since it was from a professional baking book. Yours turned out beautifully.

  • Yours is a beautiful cake. I’ve always wanted to try this one.

  • Absolutely fantastic! How do you juggle the baby and all your baking!? You’re awesome Annie!

  • this is amazing, so beautiful! i can;t even imagine what it took to get it to look that way!! fantastic job!

  • Amy (Just2Good)

    That is a beautiful cake!

  • Absolutely beautiful – I could lick the screen!

  • Absolutely beautiful! Great job Annie.

  • I’m totally making this for my bday next week! Can’t wait! Hopefully I can find local strawberries for this too…yum!

  • Ivy

    This cake looks so fancy, delicious and impressive!!!
    Just want to ask, are there any other substitutes for kirsh or strawberry liquer??

  • Annie

    I just used additional water.

  • Jordan

    Hey Annie,

    I’m planning on making this cake for Valentines Day but I have a couple questions. Would it be possible to just divide the cake batter between two round cake pans? If not, how do you go about cutting the rounds out of the sheet cake? Thank you!

  • Annie

    If you make it in round pans the layers will be taller than expected and it will likely affect the recipe. To cut out the rounds, I used a circle of cardstock of the appropriate size and traced around it.

  • Joelle

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. How did you make your strawberry puree? Thanks. I love reading your recipes and looking at your pictures. I did the german chocolate cake for my dad’s birthday and it was huge hit.

  • Annie

    I just puree strawberries in the blender or food processor and strain out the seeds.

  • Cristina

    This looks very similar to a peruvian cake called “Torta Helada”, is this by chance where you go the idea for the cake? I’ve tried to make this cake per their instructions, it’s heavenly but the cream is very temperamental. This cake looks devine. I will for sure give it a try. Thanks for sharing!!