I want to bake cakes that look like a piece of art, the kind that will make people pause to say, “Wow.”  But I also want to feel confident in their flavor, knowing that when people take a bite, they’ll realize the cake has both style and substance, as Paul Hollywood would say.  

The good news? There’s a way to make professional-looking cakes that taste delicious too: just finish them with our new Berry Mirror Glaze.  

A tri-color tie dyed cake made with berry mirror glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
Berry Mirror Glaze is an ideal way to achieve a professional, artistic finish without the need for fancy frosting or piping skills. 

What is mirror glaze? 

“Mirror glaze” may conjure up images of glossy, glittery, technicolored cakes that are eerily reminiscent of a bowling ball. That’s one kind of mirror glaze — it’s made from white chocolate and typically uses artificial colors, gels or gums, and edible glitter to create noticeable shine and bright color. It’s usually poured over cakes to fully enrobe them, creating a unique design and reflective surface. Despite the eye-catching appearance, traditional mirror glaze isn’t known for tasting particularly good — a major drawback when it comes to making cake. 

Our Berry Mirror Glaze, on the other hand, is different. The vibrant color comes entirely from berry purée, which has the added bonus of tasting incredibly fresh and flavorful, like a whole pint of berries in one bite.  

A slice of cake topped with raspberry mirror glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
The texture of Berry Mirror Glaze is gel-like and similar to a thick jam but a bit more set — just a thin layer of glaze atop a standard coat of frosting is best.

Unlike traditional mirror glazes, you can use our berry version to enhance the flavor of the overall cake. Lemon sponge cake with blueberry mirror glaze, anyone? How about chocolate cake with a raspberry mirror glaze? The flavor possibilities are enticingly endless.

How to make Berry Mirror Glaze 

Berry Mirror Glaze isn’t difficult to make, but it does require some precision. For best results, follow the recipe closely. 

A baker testing the temperature of a pot of berry mirror glaze on an induction burner Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
This is one recipe where your digital thermometer will be your best friend — have it close by when cooking the glaze.

We’ve added step-by-step photos to the recipe page to help guide you along the way; check it out for detailed instructions about how to make Berry Mirror Glaze. Here are a few key considerations to set yourself up for success, along with some inspiration for how to use this gorgeous berry concoction. 

Start with quality purée 

Berry purée is the base of this recipe, so it’s important to use quality ingredients here. Purée can be purchased online and frozen for months while retaining its fresh fruit flavor. Our Test Kitchen loves using fruit purées made by Ravifruit. (Heads up: At King Arthur, we only recommend the products that we, as bakers, truly love. When you buy through external links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) 

If you’re looking for a less expensive option, you can also make your own purée. It’s easy to do but takes a little advance planning and a lot (20 ounces) of berries. Conveniently, both fresh and frozen berries work beautifully to make a full-flavored purée. Simply thaw frozen berries before using. (Don’t drain any of the liquid that separates during thawing.)  

Purée the fresh or thawed fruit in a food processor or blender until smooth, then add 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar and pulse until smooth. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor of your berries, if you’d like
Homemade berry purée should be used shortly after it comes out of the food processor/blender. (Certain berries will start to set and/or separate with time.) That being said, homemade purée can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator if it's re-blended before use.

5 ways to decorate with mirror glaze 

Once you’ve mastered the process of making mirror glaze, there are countless ways to use it. Here are five ways to use mirror glaze that range from a straightforward full-coverage coating to an over-the-top tie-dye cake.  

  1. Full cake coverage: One of the easiest, most beautiful ways to use mirror glaze is to entirely coat a cake. Start with a cake that’s fully coated in smooth frosting — this is not the time to use a “naked cake,” one that only has a very thin layer of frosting on the outside. The frosted cake should be chilled in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Set it on a cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment to catch the excess glaze. (See the tips from our recipe developer below for details.) 

    A baker pouring raspberry mirror glaze over a frosted, chilled cake Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
    Despite its liquid consistency when poured, the glaze sets quickly – in about 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature.

    Pour the warm (85°F to 88°F) glaze from a measuring cup with a spout (for a cleaner pour) over the chilled cake, starting in the center and moving in a circular motion toward the edges. Continue pouring until the entire cake is coated and no bare spots of frosting show through. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.

  2. Drip border: Use the same setup and approach as you would to fully coat a cake, but pour the glaze more slowly and use less overall.

    A baker pouring blueberry glaze over the top of a cake with drips Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
    Stop pouring once the glaze starts dripping down all sides of the cake.

    The glaze will continue to spread and move down the sides of the cake after you’ve stopped pouring, so cut yourself off a bit before you’re satisfied. (It’s like carryover cooking, but for glazing — carryover glazing!)  

    A cake decorated with a crown of drips of blueberry mirror glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
    Each drip cake looks like a unique piece of art with patterns that can never be exactly recreated.
  3. Cupcake dip: Berry Mirror Glaze isn’t a treatment only reserved for cakes — cupcakes can get this flavorful finish as well. Frost your cupcakes with a generous amount of your favorite frosting, then freeze them for at least 30 minutes. Bring the glaze to the right temperature (between 85°F and 88°F) by reheating it in short bursts in the microwave and stirring periodically, then transfer it to a large liquid measuring cup.

    A baker dipping a frosted cupcake into a measuring cup of strawberry glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
    A large measuring cup is easy to dip into because it’s both deep and wide.

    Once the cupcakes are chilled, dip their tops into the warm glaze so that almost all of the frosting is immersed. Remove the cupcake from the glaze and let any excess drip off for a few seconds before turning it right-side-up.

    Cupcakes frosted with ermine buttercream frosting dipped in a variety of colors of mirror glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
    Let cupcakes set for at least a few minutes after dipping, then you can dip again to intensify the color and flavor, if desired. 
  4. Marbled cake: For a next-level technique, try combining two or more flavors of mirror glaze to get a swirled, tie-dye effect. Start by ensuring your glazes are all at the right temperature, then pour a portion of the first flavor of glaze into a large measuring cup. (You want to use roughly equal parts for each flavor, and you’ll want about 1 1/2 cups of glaze total to fully coat an 8” or 9” round layer cake.) 

    Pour the next flavor of mirror glaze directly into the center of the previous color in the same measuring cup, layering the two glazes atop one another. Repeat with the third flavor, if using.

    A baker pouring berry mirror glaze over a frosted cake Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
    The colors mix slightly as you pour, creating a beautiful tie-dyed look that’s totally edible and made without any artificial colors.

    Once you’ve layered your colors in a single measuring cup, pour the multi-colored glaze over the chilled cake as you would if you were covering it completely with a single color.

    A cake finished with three kinds of berry mirror glaze: raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry mirror glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
    The final cake not only looks gorgeous, it's a fun eating experience too — one taster said it reminder her of Willy Wonka's Everlasting Gobstoppers. It started off with a strong strawberry flavor, then she tasted blueberry, then finally there was a hint of raspberry at the end.
  5. Give other desserts a glossy finish: While mirror glaze is most commonly used on cakes, you’re not limited to only using it this way. Mirror glaze can be poured over all kinds of desserts, including mousse-based desserts and even fuit- or custard-based bars. Take our Raspberry-Lime Rickey Bars, for example.

    Raspberry-Lime Rickey Bars Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
    These lime bars can be topped with a dusting of freeze-dried raspberries and confectioners' sugar or raspberry mirror glaze.

    Just be sure any dessert that's going to be finished with mirror glaze is thoroughly chilled, and that the glaze is between 85°F to 88°F before using.

Tips from the recipe developer 

This Berry Mirror Glaze was dreamed up and painstakingly tested by Recipe Tester Lydia Fournier. She made countless batches — at one point she was literally surrounded by five containers of different flavors, practically up to her elbows in it.  

Five containers of mirror glaze of different flavors and colors Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
Lydia experimented with both storebought and homemade fruit purées in a variety of flavors before landing on the final recipe.

Here are Lydia’s master tips for making picture-perfect cakes finished with Berry Mirror Glaze: 

  1. Nice and smooth: Use frosting that’s easy to spread smooth and holds up well when chilled. Good options are our Swiss and Italian Buttercream recipes. Using frosting that’s white (as opposed to chocolate brown or buttery yellow) will ensure the color of the glaze pops.  

    A baker smoothing the frosting on the sides of a cake using a bench knife Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
    Swiss buttercream is Lydia's favorite.

    Before chilling the cake, use an offset spatula or bench knife to make the frosting as smooth as possible. A flawless base of frosting sets you up for an even final coat of mirror glaze and a striking finish. 

  2. Strain as desired: Use a rubber spatula or small whisk to push the glaze through a strainer (step 6 in the recipe) more quickly. It can get quite thick, and you’ll end up waiting forever for it to strain through on its own.  

    A baker straining blueberry mirror glaze into a measuring cup Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
    Blueberry mirror glaze tends to have some flecks of skin in the final finish, even when strained. If you want something smooth and more mirror-like, choose raspberries as your base.

    You can also skip the straining step altogether if you’re looking for a glaze with a more rustic, textured appearance. But if it’s the super-smooth and shiny mirror finish you’re looking for, be sure to thoroughly strain the glaze before using. 

  3. Chill out: Be sure the cake is thoroughly chilled, or the glaze will melt the frosting. Don’t remove the cake from the freezer until the glaze is the right temperature, your equipment is in place, and you’re ready to pour.

  4. Use your tools: Use a scale to measure your ingredients by weight and a digital thermometer for best results. Accuracy pays off in this recipe, so take accurate temperature readings of your glaze often. (It should be between 85°F and 88°F when ready to use.)

  5. Berries are best: Some recipes can be riffed on with different flavors — but this isn’t one of them. Other fruit purées won’t work the same way because of varying levels of acidity, pectin, and enzymes that can break down the gelatin in the glaze. Stick with purée made from berries (not other fruits) for best results.

    A baker presenting a cake finished with mango mirror glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
    Mango purée can be used to make mirror glaze with an all-natural sunny glow.

    Bonus: The one exception to the berry-only rule is mango purée. You can use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (300g) of mango purée (not mango nectar) in place of the berry purée in this recipe with good results. 

  6. Harvest excess: This recipe is designed to make excess — it’s easier to fully coat a cake if you continuously pour a steady stream of glaze and revisit any places that seem thin. Don’t be alarmed when you end up with lots of glaze pooled in the baking sheet under the cooling rack. This is supposed to happen. 

    A cake resting on a cooling rack after it was just coated in raspberry glaze Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food styling by Lydia Fournier
    Don't panic when your glaze runs off the sides of the cake and pools on your baking sheet. This technique allows the cake to be fully enrobed.

    Let the glaze set for about 5 to 10 minutes; it’s easier to clean up if it’s in a gel-like state. Then use the parchment paper to make a cone and squeeze the glaze into a storage container. Leftover glaze can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for at least a week and in the freezer for at least a month. It’s easy to reheat and holds up well, so consider making a big batch. 

  7. Stirred, not whisked: When reheating leftover glaze, stir it with a rubber spatula as opposed to a whisk to avoid incorporating air bubbles. (Any air bubbles will be visible in the final coating of glaze and mar the smooth surface.) 

Troubleshooting mirror glaze 

Don’t get discouraged if the first time you use Berry Mirror Glaze to finish a cake, it doesn’t turn out perfectly. It takes a bit of practice to apply flawlessly. 

One of the most common pitfalls of mirror glaze is pouring when it’s not the right temperature. If it’s not within the 85°F to 88°F window, it won’t coat the cake correctly.  

A baker cooling a container of mirror glaze in an ice water bath Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
If your mirror glaze is too hot, you can cool it down quickly by placing the container in an ice water bath and stirring until it reaches the right temperature. 

If the glaze is too cold, it'll clump in sections and be unevenly thick. Unfortunately, if you’ve already poured the glaze and it clumps, it’s difficult to fix. It’s best to take note for the future and be sure it’s a bit warmer next time.

A cake coated in raspberry mirror glaze that was too cold when it was poured over a cake Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
This batch of raspberry mirror glaze was too cold when it was poured over the cake, resulting in thick, clumpy sections.

If the glaze is too warm, it’ll be unevenly thin in spots and will slide off the sides of the cake. It can even start to melt the frosting, which can turn into a buttery, melty mess.  

A mango glaze that was too warm when poured over the cake, so it's slightly thin in spots Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
This mango glaze was a few degrees too hot when it was used. See the spots where the frosting is showing through? The glaze slid right off the sides of the cake in places.

If this happens, re-chill the entire cake for at least 10 to 15 minutes, allow the glaze to cool until it’s within the proper window, and then pour a second coating of glaze over the top to even things out.

But take heart; even if your first glazed cake isn’t as flawless as a mirror, it’s going to be bursting with berry flavor. It’ll have a vibrant color and enticing shine, like that of a well-polished apple — and even better fruit flavor. 

Cakes finished with a variety of flavors of mirror glaze and berry mirror-glazed cupcakes Photography by Jenn Bakos; Food Styling by Lydia Fournier
Serve a flight of cupcakes in a variety of flavors of Berry Mirror Glaze for a colorful, delicious presentation.

Give our Berry Mirror Glaze a try and share photos of your glazed cakes with us on Instagram and Facebook by using #kingarthurbaking. We can’t wait to see what you create!  

Cover photo by Jenn Bakos; food styling by Lydia Fournier. 

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Berry Mirror Glaze
Berry Mirror Glaze
Total
1 hr 31 mins
Yield
2 1/4 cups, enough for two to three 8” layer cakes
Filed Under: Recipes
Kye Ameden
The Author

About Kye Ameden

Kye Ameden grew up in Fairlee, Vermont and has always loved food, farms, and family. She spent her teenage years working by her chef/uncle’s side in an industrial kitchen, cracking hundreds of eggs, slicing cheesecakes into 13 perfect slices, and developing her passion for precision and baking.  Af...
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