Mirror glaze was once the secret of pastry chefs (and the bane of pastry students—I speak from experience). Now, home bakers everywhere have fallen hard for this incredibly attractive glaze, which is made from a base of chocolate and set with gelatin. The gelatin is responsible for its characteristic texture and intense shine. The most important tip for mirror glaze is to be aware of the temperatures. You need your cake well chilled, so the glaze will set up faster as you pour it. The glaze needs to be fluid—but too hot, and it will just slide right off the cake (or too cold, and it will start to set and turn gloopy before you’re ready). If you use white chocolate as a base, as with this glaze, it’s easy to tint it a variety of colors. One of the most fun ways to use this glaze is to divide it among a few bowls and tint each different colors. Then pour them onto the cake a little at a time, allowing the colors to naturally mingle as the glaze slides down the cake. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
Test Kitchen Notes
Bake It Up a Notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she'll help take our baking game to the next level, teaching us all the need-to-know tips and techniques and showing us all the mistakes we might make along the way. Today, a very sweet lesson in all things frostings, icings, and glazes. —The Editors
- Prep time 5 minutes
- Cook time 10 minutes
- makes Enough to coat one 8- or 9-inch cake
(226 grams) cool water, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons
(7 grams) powdered gelatin
1 1/3 cups
(264 grams) granulated sugar
(83 grams) corn syrup
(190 grams) sweetened condensed milk
2 1/4 cups
(385 grams) finely chopped white chocolate
Food coloring (optional)
- Place 1/4 cup (60 grams) of cool water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin in an even layer over the surface. Bloom for 5 minutes.
- In a medium pot, combine the sugar, the remaining water, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to evenly combine the mixture and to prevent scorching, until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the white chocolate. Stir to melt the chocolate, then stir in the gelatin until it’s fully melted. If needed, place the pot back over low heat, stirring constantly, until it’s smooth and fluid.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl to remove any stray unmelted bits/lumps. If desired, divide the mixture into a few bowls to dye multiple colors. Or stir food coloring into the main bowl.
- Continue to stir the glaze until it reads 90°F on a thermometer, then use immediately.
- Pour over frozen or well-chilled cakes or pastries. (It’s important the item is cold so the glaze will set quickly as you pour it.) Place the items to be glazed on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
- Pour the glaze in the center of the baked good, allowing it to fully cover the surface, then fall down the sides. Let set for 5 to 10 minutes until firm, then gently remove from the rack and clean up the edges with a spatula.