Mirror glaze is a spectacular glossy coating of modern cakes and pastries. It is most often used in mousse desserts, but sometimes it covers traditional cakes. The glaze is poured from the top so that the icing flows in beautiful streaks. A few years ago, a Russian cake confectioner named Olga Noskova shook the internet with her beautiful innovation of mirror glaze cake that it became a trend in the bakery universe. Today, many people have learned how to make such simple yet stunning covered cake with different recipes. If you haven’t tried making one but are excited to give it a go, you’d probably ask if it is complicated and if ganache can be used as the icing. Well then, read on.
The basic formula for the mirror glaze
Colored mirror glaze could seem mind-blowing that some people think there can’t be an edible surface so polished, so reflective and so perfect. It turns out that actually almost everyone can try and do the glaze. The needed ingredients are simple, but the cooking requires technique and a culinary thermometer since the glaze will only work at certain temperature when getting poured over cakes or pastries.
The perfect glaze temperature should be around 30-35⁰C with 32 on the average. This temperature should be carefully measured since a few degrees too hot then the icing will drain too much, leaving gaps while getting poured, and won’t cover perfectly. A few degrees too cold and the icing will set before the whole cake gets covered. And since the icing is the final stage in the preparation of the cake, it can easily nullify all previous efforts. The temperature of the cake itself is also very important: it must be well frozen and you need to get it out of the freezer just before you cover it with icing.
To prepare a colored mirror glaze, the ingredients are:
- gelatin powder 12 g
- glucose syrup 150 g
- white chocolate 150 g
- condensed milk 100 g
- sugar 150 g
- water (60 g cold, 75 g room temperature)
- food coloring, few drops
These are the steps to make the glaze:
1. Mix cold water and the gelatin.
2. In a saucepan, put sugar, and then pour water and syrup. Turn the heat on and bring to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. It is important not to overheat; otherwise the chocolate will curl up and be spoiled. Make sure to keep stirring and turn the heat off right when the whole chocolate has melted. Pour the chocolate into a bowl or a blender glass.
4. Add the condensed milk into the chocolate. Mix well, and then add the hot syrup into the chocolate-condensed milk mixture. Stir until all are blended.
5. Pour the dissolved gelatin into in a thin stream, mix. Like chocolate, it is important for gelatin not to get overheated: at a temperature above 70 degrees, it loses its gelling properties.
6. Add a few drops of food coloring, and then mix well. The mixture will be quite stiff, so using a spoon or spatula will be quite a hard work. Use a hand mixer at ease, instead. Make sure no bubbles appear on the surface. If it won’t happen, pass the icing through a sieve to make sure the end result is silky smooth.
7. Your mirror glaze is ready!
This recipe is enough to cover a cake with 20 cm diameter. Also, the glaze can be prepared a few days in advance and refrigerated. It can be heated using a double boiler when about to be used. Don’t forget to watch for the temperature.
How about ganache?
Ganache is an emulsion of cream and chocolate. There are three types of ganache – on cream, on butter, and on cream with the addition of butter. There is also ganache with oil, but it is arguably a real type of ganache since the proper one is should only be made with chocolate and fat cream.
Depending on the type of chocolate used and the purpose of the ganache, the temperature at which it will be served varies. The proportions of chocolate and cream also vary based on the desired consistency. Typically, two-thirds of chocolate to one-third of cream is used to decorate cakes or as the base for making chocolate truffles, while a one-to-one proportion is used as a glaze. The chilled ganache can be whipped and increased in volume, which will give a thicker texture. However, if it is cooled for too long, then it will be impossible to beat and it can be crusty. Another option for using ganache is to pour it into a mold and refrigerate. After cooling, it can be removed from the mold and cut as decorations.
The authentic ganache will not give shiny impression when set, just like how chocolate is. The key to getting a mirror glaze coat is the gelatin powder, and this can be added into the basic ganache recipe together with sugar and water. However, the petty argument is probably, can it still be called ganache when there are more than chocolate and cream as the ingredients? Or should it be called chocolate glaze instead?
The conclusion is this: ganache can be used as an icing for the mirror glaze cake but with additions to the basic recipe, because the mixture of only cream and chocolate will not give the mirror effect at the end when it is set. Gelatin powder or sheet is the secret ingredient for the purpose.