The Mirror Glaze Ocean Beach Cake with Edible White Chocolate Seashells


This cake didn't have a plan so much as a general idea of what I wanted. 

Last weekend we had a dozen people staying at our home from Friday through Tuesday in order to celebrate 'all the things'.  Christmas, New Year's and 2 birthdays.  I made a purse cake for the first birthday, which we celebrated Friday night.  Saturday was our Christmas.  Sunday was our New Year's and Monday was another birthday.  So it was CHAOS and LOUD and CRAZY and here I was... attempting to make a cake in the midst of the hullabaloo. 

And I had NO PLAN.
And I had NEVER attempted a mirror glaze before.

So there you go.

I had made the cake ahead of time and although it should have been frozen solid, I had no room in a freezer to do so (because of the 12 people staying at the house and all the food I had to have on hand for meals).  Instead, it was in a 'really cold refrigerator'. 

I did make the seashells ahead of time with white chocolate candies.  That's all I had planned or prepped.  A four layer cake and the shells.  Everything else I just decided to 'wing it' when the time came.

Here is a close up up the pretty shells.  I added those around the edge at the last minute to cover the base and to use them up as I had made a handful 'extra' because I didn't know what I would want when I used them.

I added a ribbon I found in the drawer that matched the colors - and then, needing something 'more' to add some texture and color, I sprinkled candy sprinkles around.  I finished LITERALLY just as the birthday girl and her family were walking in the front door!  Ha.

The Cake

The cake recipe has been posted far too many times to count since this website began around 2006.  It's my 'go to' and I love it.  However, it makes enough for about 4 layers depending on the pans you use; so half it if you only need 2 layers.

White Cake

2 boxes white cake mix
2 c flour
2 c white sugar
1 1/2 t salt
2 2/3 c water
1/4 c canola oil
2 t vanilla
2 t almond extract
16 oz. sour cream
8 large egg whites, room temperature

Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat just to blend. Add the water, oil, vanilla, almond extract, sour cream and egg whites and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into 2-4 greased and floured pans (shape of your choice, 2  9X13 or 4 smaller round), filling each pan about half full. Bake at 325° F oven until cake tests done in the center. Cool and use as you wish.


The Mirror Glaze - I looked at and ran off recipes for about 5 (?) of them from the web.  They were almost similar - almost exactly similar actually.  I ended up choosing this one because it had the ingredients in grams and ounces instead of just the American 'cups' and such.  I was nervous about my first time making and using a mirror glaze so I wanted to be exact.

All recipe credit goes to ChefIso's website

I followed their directions and because I anticipated I would screw up something and wish I had more glaze, I made the 'large' sized recipe which is far more than I needed, but I didn't care - better safe than sorry.  I followed everything exact - even weighed out my ingredients on my scale for exact grams and ounces. 

Makes glaze for a dozen 10-inch cakes. You can halve or quarter the recipe for a smaller yield.

  • 700 grams white chocolate (24.5 ounces)
  • 300 grams water (10.5 ounces, 1 1/4 cups)
  • 600 grams sugar (21 ounces, 2 2/3 cups)
  • 400 grams condensed milk (14 ounces, 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 38 grams powdered gelatin
  • optional food dye for colored mirror glaze

(half portion below)

  • 350 grams white chocolate (12.25 ounces)
  • 150 grams water (5.25 ounces, ~1/2 cups)
  • 300 grams sugar (11.5 ounces, ~1 1/2 cups)
  • 200 grams condensed milk (7 ounces, ~2/3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 19 grams powdered gelatin
  • optional food dye for colored mirror glaze

Bloom the gelatin in cold water and set it aside while you heat the liquids.
Heat the water, sugar, and condensed milk.
When the sugar is fully dissolved and the liquid is hot, turn off the heat and stir in the gelatin.
Pour this mixture over the chocolate.
Wait about 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt.
Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend this mixture until smooth.
Strain this through a sieve and allow to cool, gently stirring every so often to prevent a film from forming on top. Depending on the container you are using and your starting temperature, the cooling can take up to 2 hours, which an ice bath can accelerate.
Your target temperature is about 92°F (33°C). When the glaze is between 90°F and 94°F (32°C - 34°C), it is ready to be poured over the cake. At this point be very careful not to introduce bubbles since the glaze is very viscous and they will not pop on their own.
You must manually pop them or strain the mixture through a sieve. Pour the glacage over the frozen cake
You can pour starting at the sides in a circular motion working towards the center, or start from the center and work out to the sides.
Allow the glaze to chill on the cake for a few minutes.

LEARNING CURVE because I did not have a frozen solid cake:  I did my pour when it tested at 91 degrees and it was still too warm.  By the time I tried to 'fix' it and had mixed and poured a couple more attempts, it was cooler, which would have worked better for me as I wanted it to resemble water.  But the marble effect in the end was good enough.  IF (And that's a BIG IF) I ever work with a mirror glaze again, I'm going to make SURE my cake is frozen solid - which I couldn't do this time and then do a 'test' pour - and if needed, wait until it's just a tad, smidgen bit cooler.  Maybe 87 ish verses the 91 degrees.  



*Note - because I was decorating the top of mine and not doing the traditional mirror glaze left plain, I had to put my graham crumbs and little seashells on right away before it set up.

I colored three colors separate at first - a lighter blue, darker navy blue and a white.
I saw on other sites where they pour them separate and 'swish' them with a knife to form water.  Mine didn't turn very well for my first try, and even though it was 91 degrees, it poured too quickly for the look I wanted since my cake was not frozen solid;  so I poured a little more, then mixed the two blues together and poured again.  I added a few back-and-forth pours of white for the waves and then tried to swish... nope.  So I got out the hair dryer and tried to blow it to be wave-ish.  Nope.

In the end I used some leftover white frosting from the filling to form waves and by that time it was set up anyway and I couldn't work with it anymore!  Ha ha.  So it was what it was.

 I had a 6 year old helping me decorate and he had a blast putting down the 'sand' and some of the seashells.  This is my hand placing a few more shells.
I had a bunch of shells I had made (not really having a plan to start, I just made stuff....)
So I ended up placing shells around the cake at the base as well.  I loved this addition.

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