The Cake Phenomenon

in-depth look at a specialty cake with a glaze

Image by: Мiuda

There is a new revolution in the confectionary world that is taking dessert lovers by storm as it evokes a true sense of talent to not only have the patience to create but to correctly assemble it.  The sudden fame of the mirror cake has come to amaze all that have gotten the pleasure of viewing the beautiful and shiny masterpieces. The easy to make glaze has become a great way to show off the simplicity of a cake in the most chic way. The cake is prepared first and is usually a mousse cake, which benefits the refrigeration process to allow the glaze to set properly, which can range from two hours to overnight.

The glaze that is delicately poured on the cake is so flawless that it captivates all that see the magnificent creations. The secret to the mirror cakes’ perfect appearance is the utilization of gelatin and glucose that is carefully added to the glaze to help it harden correctly while keeping its smooth, glistening, and precision which appeals to everyone.

Although, the mirror glaze has been used for a countless amount of years, it has been gaining some notoriety recently due to Olga Noskova; a Russian baker who has somewhat changed the way the mirror glaze is used. Usually, the glaze is used just to top the cake for a shiny yet appealing look but her cakes are completely encased in the glaze and lightly topped with a small garnish. It transforms even the simplest of cakes into truly beautiful creations by way of how the baker utilizes every aspect of the cake. As an amazing pastry artist, Olga Noskova, has added another element to the production of mirror cakes by making marble mirror cakes, which have an array of colors that precisely merge into each other in order to create an even more beautiful cake.

Jacques Torres’s Shiny Chocolate Glaze


1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 envelope gelatin powder (1/4 ounce)


In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, sugar, heavy cream and cocoa powder. Simmer for about 20 minutes until mixture slightly thickens.

Place 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top and let soften 5 minutes. Remove chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in gelatin mixture until thoroughly combined.

Set over an ice bath and whisk until the glaze thickens and reaches about 80 degrees, about 1 minute.

Notes: This recipe makes enough glaze for one 8″ two-layer cake. Pour over chilled crumb-coated cake placed on a wire rack set over a large bowl. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the glaze. Work quickly as the glaze will set up in a minute or less.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Comment below about what you think of the mirror cake and its revolution? What your favorite cake is? And what you would want to celebrate with that cake?

A Piece of Cake

In this modern age of desserts, we have become in awe of the creations that can be made with just a few wimple ingredients that can create edible masterpieces. With shows like Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes, we were shown just how special cakes can become with intricate detailed work that can impact the lives of many others. As many of you already may know, I want to be a pastry chef. I am also extremely fascinated by the concepts of specialty themed cakes. Many techniques that are used can be implemented even for home bakers to surprise themselves in making their own specialty cakes. Although the ingredients and recipes are simply, it essentially is based on the intricacy and articulation of each item produced.

There are so many variations of themed specialty cakes that make each one even more valuable due to the time that was spent to put it all together. Each cake has its own secret that makes it possible to make it a timeless work of art.

Fondant is the most used product in specialty cakes as it creates a template for the cake, it can be purchased already made or can be homemade. It is like a pliable sugary dough that is used to cover the cake to create a smooth texture or appearance. It can be colored and applied as needed depending on the intended design.

ramen noodle cup made out of cake

Image by: Sasa


an inside look at the ramen noodle cup themed cake

Image by: Sasa

Rice Krispy Treats are used for structure as it is sturdier to build with as it will stand well. It is very pliable but after it hardens can keep its shape. Modeling chocolate is better than fondant for this reason because it has more stability as it hardens where fondant stays in a somewhat pliable stage, if it hardens especially by extreme cold it will eventually crack whereas modeling chocolate will not. Modeling chocolate is simple made by melted chocolate and heated corn syrup which is then allowed to set before use. Isomalt is the boiling of sugar and water to make a glass candy look. It is usually used to make the appearance of coral reefs (if colored), ice, or glass.

a themed cake of beers being iced in a wooden bucket

Image by: cliffordcakes

Finally, there are gravity defying cakes that can be difficult to understand in terms of its production but it uses inedible pieces in order to make it possible. Usually, items like balloon sticks or PVC will be used to have a greater sense of structure and can vary based on the weight of the cake and the piece that needs to defy gravity as the choice of structure must be able to hold the piece up without the threat of falling or crushing the cake.

a topsy-turvy themed caked of towering sweets

Image by: Avalon Yarnes

Specialty themed cakes, although they may be beautiful, are complex and need a lot of thought in order to bring it all together. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the CUNY CUE Conference and preceding the event, I went to the meeting to discuss some ideas with the OpenLab’s The Buzz. I thought it would be fitting to bring a cake but I wanted it to be epic and evoke the sense of CityTech pride that would still cater to the meaning of the event.

a themed cake of a coffee cup and a tablet

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

With the help of my sisters, I was able to create a beautiful cake although the perfectionist in me only saw the imperfections of the cake, everyone was amazed. My sisters and I were relieved as we had put in so many hours to complete the cake that the positive reaction was worth every second of frustration and dedication to fulfill the potential of the cake we had wanted to create.