The “jelly” glaze started off pretty innocently, with my not wanting to turn out an order for a cake. I’d given two spare vanilla-nut muffins that had been freshly baked that morning to my hubby to take to office. A colleague who happened to eat a piece, liked it a lot and called in to check if I could send in a well-decorated fresh cream mango cake the following morning through my hubby. It was his mom’s birthday and he wanted to surprise her.
Since I started the home-baking, I’d never got an order for cakes. Given my skills at cake/cupcake decoration, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to making one either, I do take orders for cakes and muffins at Lotsa Lavender, but they are normally plain or have rustic frostings, so no swirls, rosettes etc. Just whip up the frosting and smear it on with a good old knife.
But when this guy called up, I really wanted to do it since it was to be a surprise for his mom. The problem was, since I was quite new then, I didn’t have a pan of the right size, nor did I have time to rush out to buy one. I only had a Bundt available, but the guy did not want a hole in the centre of the cake. Now how could I bake a cake in a Bundt pan and not have a cavity in the centre!!!
I suggested I could probably do a cupcake and place that in the centre. He agreed thankfully. So what we decided on was a plain eggless vanilla Bundt cake with a brownie cupcake in the centre. Since his mother loved mangoes and we were bang in the middle of the mango season then (it was July), he wanted a mango cake.
Somehow, I wasn’t too sure if a cake a baked that evening would last at room temperature till next evening (remember I had to bake it that night latest so that my hubby could take it to office the next morning). So I suggested I’d make a vanilla cake and “dress it up with fresh mangoes on top”. Basically, I meant I’d do a mango upside down, but explained it this way because he had not heard of it.
Later, when I was preparing to start making the cake, I had my doubts again. What it the mangoes started sweating and make the cake underneath soggy? So here’s what I finally did. I baked a plain vanilla cake in the Bundt pan and covered it up with a thick layer of fresh mango jelly – the homemade type, not from a store-bought jelly mix. Basically, what I did was to set a layer of thick fresh mango pulp with agar agar, also known as China grass, the same way you’d make the top glaze for a fresh fruit cheesecake. The idea was a big hit.
Subsequently, I’ve used the same method for cupcakes as well as a small heart-shape cake. I’ve done this over half-a-dozen times for orders with mango and fresh strawberry and it works beautifully well always. I learnt only recently that this technique of covering cakes is called a ‘mirror glaze’! The advantage of covering a cake with a fresh fruit mirror glaze is that the amount of butter/cream and sugar is drastically reduced and it also packs in a nice fruit flavour.
There is no fixed ‘recipe’ here. Just follow the method given here and the basic agar-agar to fruit puree ratio and work around with any fruit!
Fresh fruit “jelly glaze”
Ingredients: Fresh fruit, agar agar, water, sugar, lemon juice
Puree your fruit and keep it aside
If using agar agar sheets, teat it into small bits and soak it in water for 10 minutes. If using powder, mix the powder in water and proceed. No soaking time required. You need around ¼ cup water for soaking 5 gm of agar agar and the same quantity for setting 1 cup of fruit puree for covering cake tops (8-10 gm for fruits like mango, strawberries and orange)
Place the agar agar on medium heat and keep stirring now and then till it melts
Simultaneously, place fruit puree on medium heat. Remove from heat when it turns hot and add lemon juice (1 Tsp for a cup of fruit puree) and sugar to taste
Once agar agar melts completely, add it to the warm fruit puree. Add sugar to taste and mix well. The fruit must be as warm as the agar agar when you mix them both else, the agar agar will start to solidify
This post is for Day 10 of the A-Z series Blogging Marathon for the month of Sept. Alphabet – J, Theme – Misc. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32
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