DIY, Recipes

I Mirror-Glazed a Cake!

Hello friends! I thought I’d share something a little bit different today. We’ll call this a little something from the “baking diaries,” and I’ll make a confession here that I watch a lot of baking videos on YouTube. I’ll even give you a list of some of my favorite channels: The Scran Line, Zoe’s Fancy Cakes, Rosie’s Dessert Spot, and Cupcake Jemma.  I’ll stop there, because the list is quite long! And I’m realizing as I’ve just listed out some favorites that I might have a slight affinity for Australian and British accents…At any rate, I can’t really explain the obsession with baking channels, except that I do love to bake when I find the time (I think I get that from my grandmother), and I just really like to eat sweets. :)

Mirror glaze cake

Anyway. Mirror Glazes seem to be pretty trendy lately. You can mirror glaze cakes in all kinds of colors with all kinds of different, beautiful results, and it’s pretty simple and super shiny. I’ll include a recipe for the glaze I used, below.

As some of you may know, I’m a librarian by day, and I work in a research library that focuses on the collection of materials (books, newspapers, ephemera, etc.) printed in American before 1876. There’s a lot of marbled paper in our library stacks. Every month, we have a birthday party to celebrate staff who have birthdays that fall within that particular month, and I signed up to bake one of the celebratory cakes for the March party. I’d been wanting to try a mirror glaze (I practiced it once before and it went…ok), and it seemed like this was just the occasion to try the technique. And if I could get the glaze to resemble marbled paper, even better!

Mirror glaze cake

I baked a chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and froze it overnight. I used this recipe. The recipe calls for coffee in the mix, which I think makes this particular cake especially delicious!

The next morning, when the cake was good and frozen, I got to work on the glaze. Of the two recipes I’ve tried, I like this one best. It requires the use of real white chocolate chips (instead of white chocolate melts that one may be tempted to use) which make a world of difference. Ask me how I know.

I separated my glaze into three different bowls and colored one white, one a deep burgundy and one a lighter shade of red. I only used a small amount of the glaze for the lighter colors, and colored the bulk of my glaze the darker red, because I knew I wanted it to be the dominant color. I waited for my glaze(s) to reach the correct temperature (also vital…) and then poured them on . First the darkest color, and then drizzles of the lighter colors here and there. The pouring was rather haphazard, intentionally. I ended up with this great, random marbled effect. And it was so shiny! The gelatin in the recipe means that the glaze firms up a bit once it cools completely, so your design stays put.

Mirror glaze cake

Another word to the wise: transport can be tricky! Make sure you handle with care (aka don’t let the side of the cake hit the side of the cake carrier. You’ll be sorry…Ask me how I know).

So, if you really want to wow your friends at a party, I’d recommend a mirror glaze. Mine’s not perfect – there are some air bubbles here and there, and then we had that little mishap during transportation…But it was still a hit! And it’s not hard at all if you’ve got a good recipe!


DIY, Recipes

Christmas Cookie Gift Boxes

Just about every Thursday, I play a round of team trivia with friends at a local bar. It always makes for a nice social night out. Sometimes I even know some of the answers. So, since this past Thursday was the last night of trivia before Christmas (and we joked that it might be the last trivia night EVER (but then the world didn’t end…) I decided to make some gifts to bring along. I thought cookies would be nice because, while they’re an inexpensive gift, it’s always nice to give something you spent time making yourself. Lots of love went into these cookies and the boxes I made to put them in!

DIY Cookie Gift Boxes

I made the boxes by cutting out the form with my silhouette cameo, then folding them up. I liked this style because they only took one sheet of paper and the petal shape at the top kept them closed on their own pretty nicely. I also used my silhouette to make the name tags.

cookie boxes in silhouette

Before, during and after assembling the boxes, I baked about 5 batches of cookies (oof!). The cookies I included in the boxes were:

Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

The salted caramel chocolate chip cookies were the only ones I managed to take a photo of out of the oven, but all of the cookies were excellent (I have a ton leftover that I’m trying not to gobble up all by myself…).

Homemade Cookies in Gift Boxes

I packed all the cookies in the boxes (about 8 cookies or so fit in each box) then closed them and tied the name tags on with some baker’s twine. I’m pretty sure cookies are the perfect gift. :)