Introduction: Mirrored Strawberry Cheesecake Entremet
If you love strawberries and you love cheesecake, you are going to LOVE this dessert. An entremet is traditionally a cake filled with mousse, fruit puree, and covered in whatever type of glaze the baker desires. My version (the best version, of course) replaces the mousse with cheesecake, and the fruit puree with strawberry buttercream - and it's all coated in a sweet, extremely shiny glaze. For the decoration, I decided on chocolate butterflies. Lately, I've encountered lots of butterflies, so I figured this would be a fitting theme. Here we go!
First, Read these instructions from beginning to end. Baking is a science that requires finesse. I strongly advise reading the instructions completely through BEFORE beginning. In doing so, you will know what supplies are needed, what steps to follow and how to follow them. It is very frustrating to get into the middle of baking or decorating only find out you are missing something essential to the process. I learned this the hard way. Don't be like me.
-Cake. You can use your favorite box mix or you can make your favorite scratch recipe. You can use whatever flavor you choose - vanilla and chocolate work especially well here. Lemon cake is also a great choice, as lemon and strawberries play well together on the playground of taste buds. I am a scratch baker, so I used a basic vanilla butter cake recipe. At any rate, you will need approximately seven cups of batter. I will include a recipe in step 1.
-Cheesecake. Once again, you can use store bought or make you own. You will not need a large cheesecake. You can purchase a small one in the frozen section of your local grocery store, or make about half of your usual recipe. I will also provide a recipe that will make enough for this project.
-Hemisphere Cake Pan and 8" Round Cake Pan. This is a dome cake so it's easiest to bake a portion of the batter in a cake pan shaped like a hemisphere - also known as a ball pan. If you can't access this pan, you can carve the cake into a hemisphere shape.
-Swiss Meringue Buttercream (egg whites, sugar, unsalted butter)
-Strawberry preserves or puree
-Candy Melts (I used pure white so That I could choose my coloring)
-Gel food coloring
- Candy coloring (made specifically for coloring candy)
-Cake rounds/boards (cardboard is good, 8" and 10")
-Cake turntable (totally optional, but makes life easier and process quicker. Mine is well used)
-Baker's Joy spray
-Spatulas (for baking and decorating)
-Measuring cups and spoons
-Small sauce pan
-Glass measuring cup (2 cup measure)
-Sheet pan or 9" Square pan
-Pencil or marker
-Canned item (I used a 28 oz tomato can)
Step 1: Gather and Prepare
Start by gathering your ingredients, preparing your pans and preheating your oven.
Turn the oven to 325 F (if using the recipe I have provided) or whatever temperature your recipe requires.
It's easiest to trace around the perimeter of the pan onto the parchment and cut that circle out.You'll need two of these cirlces - one for the flat pan and one for the hemisphere pan.
For the hemisphere pan, fold the parchment circle into quarters and cut a slit 3/4 of the way toward the tip. This will make the paper lay down inside the pan without creasing.
Spray your pans with the baking spray. Put the parchment cut out cirlces into each pan. Place the flower nail into the bottom of the hemisphere pan (flat side against pan, pointed side up). Spray once more with baking spray. You will place the hemisphere pan onto the ring it comes with, or make a ring out of crumpled foil. Place the ring onto the sheet pan or square cake pan and place the hemisphere pan on top of the ring. This helps the pan to not tip to one side and catches any overflow.
Measure out the ingredients you will need to make your cake. I like to use a kitchen scale to weigh my ingredients, but you are welcome to use measuring cups if a kitchen scale is unavailable to you.
You are ready to make the cake.
Step 2: Make the Cake
Now it's time for the cake. You can make your own from box mix, your own recipe or use the one I have provided below. Pick your poison. Whatever is easiest for you.
If you are making a box cake, follow the instructions on the box. If you you are making a scratch cake, follow those instructions. Here is a simple recipe you can use:
3 Large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c milk
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream or buttermilk
2 1/2 c (285g) cake flour
1 1/2 c (300g) granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons (12g) baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 sticks (12 T) (170g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1)Into the bowl of a stand mixer, place the flour, sugar baking powder and salt. Turn mixer on low and run for 1 minute. In another bowl, combine the milk, buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and vanilla.
2)Add the butter to the bowl. Mix on low for about 1 minute or until the mixture now resembles course crumbs.
3) Add half of the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 90 seconds, scraping bowl with spatula every 45 seconds.
4) Add the remaining liquid in two additions, beating for 30 seconds after each addition and scraping bowl before each addition.
5) Place the prepared hemisphere pan onto the kitchen scale. Measure 2 pounds of batter into the pan. Remove from scale.
6) Pour the remaining batter into the 8" round pan. Smooth batter out.
7) Bake the cakes. The hemisphere pan will take between 75 and 90 minutes. The 8" pan will take approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven when done (toothpick comes out clean when poked into the center of the cake)
8) Cool cakes completely before removing from pan.
9) Level your cakes. Cut off any mounded parts that will prevent flat stacking of the cake at the bottom of the hemisphere cake and the top of the layer cake. DO NOT cut the dome top off the hemisphere cake.
10). Cut the hemisphere in thirds, horizontally. You should end up with four layers total - three from the hemisphere pan and one from the layer pan.This is where your cheesecake and strawberry filling will go.
Step 3: Prepare the Cheesecake
Now, you will either make your scratch made cheesecake or prepare your store bought cheesecake. If making the cheesecake, allow to cool completely before going onto the next step. Working with a cheesecake that is hot is not a pleasant experience for the fingers. I can attest to this. The texture is also not correct for this particular application. A cheesecake has to set and cool for best flavor and texture. If the cheesecake is frozen, allow it to thaw and come to cool room temperature. This is essential because the cheesecake it much more pliable and easy to work with when it is at room temperature.
Here is a simple recipe for a small amount of cheesecake. It can be baked in lined muffin tins or a small (6") lined cake pan. I prefer the muffin tin for this particular application because it bakes in 25 minutes instead of an hour. It also doesn't require more parchment tracing and cutting. Simply drop the cupcake liners into the cupcake cavities, fill and bake.
Graham cracker crust is optional. For my cake, I did not include the crust, so I will not include a recipe for one.
1 8oz. pkg. of cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2oz) sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Heat oven to 300 F.
2)Place cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer. Beat for 30 seconds.
3). Add the sour cream and sugar to the bowl. Beat for 30 seconds.
3). In another bowl, combine egg and vanilla. Mix well to break up egg.
5). Turn mixer on and add half of this liquid. Mix until incorporated. Scrape the bowl. Add the rest of the mixture and mix until incorporated.
6) Evenly divide the batter into the muffin tin (there should be between 8-9 individual cheesecakes) with about 2 tablespoons of batter.
7) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or just until set. Centers may still jiggle slightly.
8) Cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Overnight is best.
Step 4: Make Your Glaze
YouTube is the stuff. The things you can learn there are mind blowing. Like how to make and use mirror glaze. But I will not make you search the web right now. You might get distracted. And end up somewhere you never intended. And you won't have mirror glaze. That would be a tragedy.
So here is the recipe for the mirror glaze. Found it on Youtube.You don't have to use this recipe. You can find one of your own and use that one. But for intents and purposes, let's use this one.
2 tsp gelatin
1/4 cup water
3.5 oz white chocolate
2.5 oz condensed milk
3.5 oz sugar
3.5 oz corn syrup or glucose
1/4 cup water
1) Bloom your gelatin in 1/4 cup of water for 5 minutes.
2) In a tall cup, place your chopped white chocolate and pour in your condensed milk and gelatin mixture.
3) Add the gelatin to the tall cup.
4.) In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute - or until the liquid reaches 220 F.
5) Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate mixture. Let the chocolate sit for 3-5 minutes.
6) Using and immersion blender, blend this liquid.
7)Add white food coloring. Blend again.
8) Add final food coloring, if desired. This can be any color you choose.
9)Strain mixture through mesh strainer.
10) Cover glaze with plastic wrap. Push the wrap against the surface of the glaze to prevent a "skin" from forming.
11) Cool the glaze to 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit before using. Glaze can also be made a day a head and warmed ( in short bursts) in the microwave to the necessary temperature of 90-95 degrees.
Step 5: Make Your Frosting
For most of my cakes I use Swiss Meringue Buttercream. For your cake, you can be like me, which is a good idea, or you can be a rebel and use another type of frosting. Italian Meringue and American buttercream are good alternatives because they will become firm upon refrigeration. Whatever frosting is chosen, it should be butter or shortening based as it will need to become VERY firm in the freezer. Below is a common recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It makes more than you will need for this project. But that's ok. You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for two week, the freezer for two months - or just eat them with a spoon. I won't judge you. Promise.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup (8 oz) egg whites (pasteurized for safety or fresh)
2 cups (16 oz) sugar
2 cups (16 oz) unsalted butter, roomtemp
I Tbsp (1 oz) Vanilla extract (or extract of your choosing- strawberry would work well here!)
1)Combine egg whites and sugar in a microwave safe container. Stir the mixture.
2) Heat the mixture in 1 minute intervals for 2 minutes, and then 30 second increments for roughly 5 minutes, or until the sugar granules have dissolved into the egg whites. Stir the mixture every time you check the temperature. If you have used fresh eggs, you want to bring the mixture to 160 degrees fahrenheit to make it safe to eat.
3). Cool the mixture completely and chill in the refrigerator until the mixture is cool (about 50-60 degrees fahrenheit).
4)While the egg syrup is cooling, take butter out of the refrigerator and allow to come to cool room temperature.
5) Once the egg syrup has cooled to the desired temperature, put the butter into a mixer bowl and begin beating it with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter for 2 minutes, until it has lightened in color and aerated.
6)Add the syrup in two additions, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the vanilla and a pinch of fine salt. Beat 30 seconds to one minute more. Your buttercream is now ready to use.
I colored my buttercream pink to match the color of my glaze. You can color your buttercream if you so choose.
Step 6: Make Your Strawberry Filling
I LOVE strawberries. I honestly don't need anything except for the cake, strawberries and homemade whipped cream.
Since this is a strawberry cheesecake cake, we will be imparting massive amounts of strawberry flavoring.
First, slice your strawberries. Try to get the slices cut into an even thickness. Lay those slices in one layer on top of a couple of pieces of paper towel. Lay another piece of paper towel onto. This will help to absorb some of the juice so it won't make the cake soggy or ruin the buttercream. I used frozen, mostly thawed berries. You can use fresh or frozen.
Now, we will flavor some of the buttercream. You can use strawberry puree or preserves. Using the preserves will make for a slightly sweeter filling. Using the puree will make for a slightly softer filling.
Remove approximately 1 1/2 cups of your buttercream from the overall batch. This 1 1/2 cups is what you will make your strawberry filling from. Set aside the rest of the buttercream batch for frosting the cake.
If using strawberry puree, add 2 tablespoons to the butter cream and mix well. If using preserves add 3 tablespoons and mix well. If you didn't add strawberry extract to the buttercream earlier, you may now add it, if you wish. Totally optional. Just mix well.
Step 7: Pipe Candy Butterflies and Dots
I have encountered a lot of butterflies in the past week, so naturally, I picked this graceful creature to adorn my cake creation. You can choose ladybugs, puppies, kittens.....whatever your little heart desires. But for this instructable, will show you how to pipe chocolate butterflies.
First, print out a butterfly template. You could free hand one. Or you could be like me and trace it onto a sheet of paper placed on top of your Kindle Fire screen. Don't judge me. My printer was out of ink.
Next, take a piece of wax or parchment paper and fold it in half.
Place the paper on top of the of the butterfly, with the folded seam in the very middle on the body portion of the butterfly. Each side of the fold will be a wing. The paper will be dried in a partially folded position so that when the chocolate dries, the wings are flexed as though in mid flight.
Put your candy melts into a plastic sandwich bag (if they are already colored). Each color will need it's own bag. Melt them in the microwave. Follow the instructions on your bag for how long and how many intervals.
Cut of a tiny bit of the corner of the sandwich bag off so that the chocolate can escape the bag as you squeeze. Do not cut the whole to big or it will be hard to control the flow.
Pipe your butterflies using the template. I piped two butterflies for the top garnish.
Push the halves of the paper (wings) toward each other so that the paper is at a 90 degree angle. Prop the sides and allow the chocolate to set fully (I used a piece of cardboard folded in half to lay the parchment paper on). This can be done in the fridge to speed the process
Finally, I piped 1/2 inch diameter dots using the same colors I used for the butterflies. I piped enough dots to go around the bottom perimeter of the cake with each dot being about half an inch from the next.
Step 8: Fill Your Cake
The cake, cheesecake, frosting and fillings need to all be at room temperature for easy assembly. Fill two piping bags with with the two buttercreams (regular and Strawberry) from earlier. Cut off the end of the piping bag tip. But don't cut too much or you'll be sorry. Trust me, you don't want to squeeze and have a big mess on your hand. No bueno. Measure up half an inch from the very tip of the bag and cut there. You can always cut more later, if needed. But I haven't yet figured out how to put it back on when you cut too much. So just avoid that situation and cut half an inch.
Add the softened cheesecake to a bowl and mash with a spoon or fork for easier spreading.
Take the hemisphere pan the cake was baked in and line it with plastic wrap. Use long enough plastic sheets that you have overhang. You will be reassembling the cake in this pan and adding the filling. The pan will help the cake and filling hold the proper rounded shape.
Place the top of the ball into the pan. Spread a very small, thin amount of strawberry buttercream (about 2 tablespoons) just to help the cheesecake stick. Spread the cheese cake onto this layer. You want the cheesecake layer to be 1/2 inch thick. I used about 4 of my miniature cheesecakes for this step. Now, place the next cake layer on top.
Take the piping bag with the regular buttercream (no puree or preserves) and pipe a "dam" around the outer edge of the cake layer. It will look like a you are frosting only the very edge. This is to keep the strawberry buttercream from pushing out of the cake later.
Now spread some of the strawberry buttercream onto this layer, inside the buttercream dam. Place the strawberries onto the buttercream and gently press into the buttercream. Pipe and spread a little more of the strawberry buttercream on top of the strawberries,. Add the next layer of cake.
For the final layer or cake, pipe and spread a thin layer of the strawberry buttercream onto the cake. spread more of the cheesecake onto this layer (i used the rest of the mini cheesecakes for this layer). Place the final layer of cake on.
Press the cake into the pan, gently but firmly. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours or until the cake and fillings are very firm.
Step 9: Ice and Smooth the Cake
Once the cake has firmly set, remove it from the freezer. Using the plastic wrap ends, pull the cake from the pan.
Place a little bit of buttercream onto the cake board so that the cake won't shift.
Take the plastic wrap off the cake and place the cake, flat side down, onto the cake board.
Spread a thin layer of the buttercream on the cake. Get all over the cake. Cover it completely. You may still be able to see the color of the cake beneath the icing. That is ok. This coating serves to keep pesky crumbs in place so they don't get into the final coating and ruin the buttery smooth finish .
Place the cake back into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove the cake from the freezer. You will now spread a thick layer (1/4 inch) of buttercream all over the entire cake surface. You can use a spatula, old credit card, flexible dough scrapper or square piece of acetate. You can even take a larger square piece of parchment paper and fold it into quarters to make a smaller, thicker square with an edge for smoothing. I used a piece of plastic I cut from the side of a two liter soda bottle in the shape of a rectangle. Try to get this layer as smooth as humanly possible. It may take some time. The smoothness of this layer will directly reflect in your final glaze coating. But, hey, no pressure.
Place the cake into the freezer, again, for at least 1 hour. The buttercream must be firm and frozen before it can be glazed. If the buttercream is not frozen, the buttercream could melt off of the cake or cause the glaze to run off and not stick.
Step 10: Glaze and Decorate the Cake
Place a clean cookie sheet onto your counter.
Place a can or bowl onto the cookie sheet. Place your cake on top of the bowl/can. This will allow the glaze to run off the cake and pool underneath the cake. The glaze can be collected from the cookie sheet and reused.
Warm the glaze to 92-95 degrees fahrenheit (32-35 C). Pour the glaze over the frozen cake. Make sure to pour it all around, covering all sides. Every nook and cranny.
Let the glazed cake sit for two minutes (until the glaze has slowed or stopped dripping) before taking a knife and going around the bottom edge of the cardboard with a knife to remove the glaze drips. Move the cake to a cake plate or display plate. Do this carefully. I used a metal cake board designed for moving cakes. But using two spatulas or your hands and a spatula would also work here.
Place your butterflies onto your cake in whatever pattern you choose. I wanted a large butterfly on top and the dots around the perimeter of the cake.Take a picture of your handy work.
Let the cake come to cool room temperature before cutting and eating. This will take about three hours from the freezer.
The cake is best stored in the refrigerator if your house is usually quite warm. The glaze may melt off if the cake becomes too warm. As always let, the cake come to room temperature before eating. Enjoy!