This caramel mirror glaze recipe is based on a simple homemade neutral glaze (nappage neutre) which has a caramel base added to it. It can be used to cover small to large dome cakes, entremets or cakes. If you follow a few simple rules and tips you can quickly and easily cover your cakes or entremets with a lovely shiny layer for that special reflective finish.
- The glaze needs to be at the correct temperature (around 30°C/ 86°F) so it can be fluid and cover your dessert effectively.
- Pouring the glaze works best if your cake has been frozen preferably 4 hours or more (especially for dome cakes which need to be unmoulded) until it presents a smooth firm surface. You should be able to freeze only around 1 or 2 hours for an entremets that just needs the cake ring/acetate strip taken off.
- Pour a good quantity of glaze (with a ladle, for example) over the centre of the cake so it runs down and covers all the sides. Try to do this just once (over the small domes you have a little more flexibility and can cover again but it’s still best if done just once). If necessary you can smooth the top of a large cake with a large offset spatula but just once across lightly. Pouring glaze many times or smoothing it a lot can create an uneven surface that isn’t shiny. Glazes become opaque or murky if overworked or overhandled.
Make the caramel base and the neutral mirror glaze.
Caramel base for more details and photos see my caramel base/sauce recipe in the basics caramel.. section.
This is a 3-saucepan operation. Synchronise your
watches pans. Big pan A has the caramel-to-be, small pan B the warm water and small pan C the warm cream mix.
- Medium pan A: 150g/3/4 cup sugar, 40g/2 tablespoons glucose, 60ml/g water
- Small pan B: 90ml/g water
- Small pan C: 160ml/g whipping cream 35% or double cream, 40g/3 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar, 2 pinches fine sea salt, 2 and 1/2 ml/g (half a teaspoon) pure vanilla essence
Neutral mirror glaze
Use shop-bought or follow the simple mirror glaze recipe in my basics section.
- 150g white caster/superfine or granulated sugar
- 150g/ml water
- 2 sheets of gelatine
Caramel mirror glaze
- 90g (around 90ml if quite liquid) of your caramel base
- double quantity of my neutral mirror glaze recipe (150g sugar, etc. as above) in my basics section (or 300g shop-bought nappage neutre)
- Make sure both the caramel base and glaze at around 30°C/ 86°F. Either place in the fridge to cool or reheat gently on a bain marie.
- When at the correct temperature stir the base and glaze together gently with a whisk to combine. Stir slowly until combined and don’t whisk hard and fast or it will go cloudy and have bubbles.
- The glaze will be very liquid so place in the fridge for around 10 to 20 minutes. Keep checking it. You want quite a liquid texture that’s a little gloopy (gelatinous). If it becomes too gelatinous and thick you need to warm it again.
Place your frozen domes or cake on a wire rack placed over a big baking tray to catch the extra glaze. Next to it put a ladle, small or large spatula knife, depending on the size of your cake(s).
When the glaze is the right consistency pour over the cake or each dome, making sure it covers the whole surface. If it’s a little messy at the bottom, this can usually be covered by pralines or shards of chocolate, for example.
Allow the glaze to set a little (5 to 10 minutes) before lifting with the help of an offset spatula underneath. You can now stud the sides with pralines or add other decorations.
Option: Caramel glaze for the just the top
Freeze your entremets still surrounded by its acetate strip and cake ring for 30 minutes or so until the top is firm and cold (touch it very lightly with your finger – it shouldn’t be sticky). Ideally you should have a 1 or 2 mm space between the top of your cake and the acetate strip/cake ring.
Check your glaze is fluid enough (let some fall from a teaspoon on your work surface so you can see if it’s falling nicely). Ladle over a controlled amount of glaze – just enough to cover the top of your cake with a thin layer. Quickly move the cake around on your hand so that the glaze swirls to reach the edges and cover the top completely in an even layer. You can smooth once across with a large offset spatula so your glaze is level with the top ridge of acetate strip/cake ring.
The glaze will set on the cool surface so now you can take off the cake ring. If the acetate strip doesn’t come off easily then freeze again briefly before removing it.
Glazing cakes is fun
Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating but once you’ve done it a few times and get the hang of temperatures and quick smooth movements to cover your cakes with mirror glaze you’ll find the whole process pretty easy and straightforward. Also, you’ll get such a shiny professional finish that even if there are a few flaws people won’t notice. Tip: cover big flaws with pralines or a few macarons :). Tee hee. Seriously, if you look carefully at mirror glazes on cakes in patisseries you can often spot little flaws but the overall effect is so impressive that no-one pays attention. Then with more practice one day you’ll get that really perfect finish. So have fun!