Mirror Glaze

A tradition for our Ward Relief Society Birthday celebration is for several sisters to bring a delicious, decorated cake as the centerpiece for the tables where we eat our dinner. Later, they are cut up and served as dessert. This year I wanted to try the very popular mirror glaze on the cake I signed up to bring. I googled glaze recipes and decided to start with this one: Carina Stewart’s Mirror Cake Glaze Recipe. Further research indicated many pitfalls with this glaze if correct ingredients and amounts were not used. I did not find that to be the case and tweaked the recipe to make it much, much cheaper. My experiments are documented below.

Basic Recipe

  • 1-1/2 c. | 300 g granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c. | 200 g sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 c + 1 T. | 150 ml water
  • 2 T. | 19 g gelatin powder
  • 1/2 c. | 125 ml cold water
  • 2 c. | 350 g white chocolate (either chips or chopped bar)
  • Gel food coloring
  • Prepped cake (refrigerated or frozen)

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a bowl and let bloom for until ready to use.
  2. Mix sugar, milk, and water in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  3. When mixture begins to simmer (small bubbles rise along the side of the saucepan), remove from heat and add gelatin, stirring until completely dissolved.
  4. Pour hot liquid on white chocolate in heatproof bowl.
  5. Gently whisk until chocolate dissolves completely.
  6. Color your glaze: divide up into several containers, assigning one color per container.
  7. Set prepped cake (crumb coated and frosted to a very smooth surface) on a rack over lined baking sheet and/or elevated with cups or other supports – you can get wildly creative here.
  8. By the time you get your glaze separated and colored, it will have cooled down to between 70° and 90° F. If it hasn’t, wait for it to do so. If it’s too cool and doesn’t pour easily, nuke it for a few seconds.
  9. Swirl colored glaze(s) over cake.
  10. Let set about 15 minutes and remove drips at the bottom of the cake with a spatula or knife
  11. Refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving to set glaze.

Results

For my first cake (complete with bad prep job) the picture below shows how well this glaze worked. Nice and shiny, very colorful and a true first-time success! (Ignore the knitting in the background – I had to put it under my workbench lamp to reveal the shine.)

First attempt at mirror glaze
First attempt at mirror glaze

However – just the glaze cost almost $10! That was too expensive for me to experiment around with so I started playing with substitutions.

First Tweak

Using the same recipe, I substituted light corn syrup (maintaining 200 g) for the sweetened condensed milk (reducing cost from $2 to 50 cents) and replaced the chocolate with cream cheese (reducing cost from $6 to about $3 and maintaining 350 g). Here is the result of those substitutions – not quite as shiny but still as colorful and loads cheaper. And the cream cheese really comes through, adding another layer of flavor to the cake.

Second attempt at mirror glaze using light corn syrup and cream cheese
Second attempt at mirror glaze using light corn syrup and cream cheese

Second Tweak

This time I decided to lower the amount of cream cheese to one package (bringing the cost down to $2) but increasing the gelatin to two full packets. Much better result – shinier and color’s good.

Third attempt at mirror glaze, reducing cream cheese, increasing gelatin
Third attempt at mirror glaze, reducing cream cheese, increasing gelatin

Third Tweak

My favorite so far! I switched from cream cheese to vanilla chips – which googled research had said to stay away from, but I found I had no problem whatsoever using in this glaze.  These vanilla chips were purchased in the bulk section of my local WinCo and do contain some cocoa butter. It was not much more expensive than the cream cheese ($2.31).  I also got rid of that pesky extra tablespoon of water – simply not needed.

Super shiny,  excellent color and more neutral flavor. This is the glaze I’m sticking with (unless I want to add a cream cheese flavor to my cake). Also note: this last glaze stayed shinier after a day in the fridge than the original recipe (which ended up quite dull the day after). It also cut better, remaining in place instead of slipping off.

Fourth attempt at mirror glaze using vanilla chips
Fourth attempt at mirror glaze using vanilla chips

Final Recipe

  • 1-1/2 c. | 300 g granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c. | 200 g light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. | 150 ml water
  • 2 packets | 19 g gelatin powder
  • 1/2 c. | 125 ml cold water
  • 2 c. | 350 g vanilla chips*
  • Gel food coloring
  • Prepped cake (refrigerated or frozen)

Follow instructions above.

* For cream cheese flavor, replace chips with one package of cream cheese, cubed to melt faster.

 

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