Hello. Despite my goal to update this blog more frequently, I just cant seem to do that. Like this week for example, I am buried in my kitchen space every single night of the week after work, and sometimes in the morning before work too. It has been hectic with cakes for my nieces, nephews, and many more. You will see what I am up to when the post is up. Everytime I got myself into one of these kinds of week, I always tell myself "no more. I need a break", but it doesn't seem to be working.

In the meantime, let me tell you about the cake I made a few weeks ago (I have about five backlog posts before this cake, but this is the one I have the pictures for currently). I have been considerably close to my coworkers. Some has become good friends and we hung out during lunch time or outside work too.

A few weeks ago, when one my ex-coworker, J, asked me if I could make some kind of a cake for a farewell for his friend, I was more than happy to. We used to work together in one team before he moved for a better opportunity. M was still in Korea at the time on another last minute business trip and so I figured that I had some time to do it. Although schedule was a little crazy at the end, but it came out well I think. He mentioned that the cake was only for 4 people and I suggested individual cake, all he requested was for a non-chocolate cake.

When it comes to fruity mousse cakes, my first thought would be Hidemi Sugino. His cakes are mousse-based, lots of fruity flavored and not too difficult to make, but yet very very good. Sicile is one of the simpler ones, a pistachio and blackberry mousse cake. This cake has been on my list for a while and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to finally make it. I have the pistachio joconde ready to be used because I made too many when baking some other cake. So I kept it well-wrapped in the freezer, knowing that this "accident" would benefit me later.

It was actually pretty straight-forward to pull together, especially that the joconde has already been made. I made the simple syrup and the blackberry mousse the day before and made the pistachio mousse and assembled it the next day. I made the glaze the last. Mr. Sugino put a small wild strawberry in the center of the blackberry mousse, but it is not available here, so I omitted it.

I had 2 individual cakes extra that I was going to try myself, but the family at home was just too excited I guess and left none for me :). All heard after I came home was that the cakes were gone and they're very good. I still have most of the leftovers components and I am planning to make it again soon. I also have lots of pistachio mousse leftover that I poured into different sizes of baking pans and froze it for different cakes. You can expect some more cakes with pistachio cake and mousse in it very very soon in this blog.

Speaking of leftovers, I inspected my cake refrigerator last time (I have a separate fridge and freezer for cakes, the normal size) and I didn't realize that my freezer was full of leftovers. From chocolate cake layers, pistachio mousse, chocolate and pistachio joconde, strawberry mousse, coffee creme brulees, passion fruit cream, chocolate and regular streusel, anything you can think of. I made a list and I can make 5 different cakes with the leftovers only. So, be prepared also to see many Spring Cleaning cakes coming up :)

In the meantime, I need to go back to the kitchen. It's been a non-stop baking experience and crazy baking schedule!


by Hidemi Sugino

Pistachio Joconde -- see this recipe

Blackberry Mousse
90g heavy cream
90g blackberry puree
4g gelatin leaves, soften in cold water (I used powdered gelatin)
30g italian meringue (see recipe below)
18g eau-de-vie de framboise
wild strawberries (I didn't use it)
  • Whip the heavy cream to a soft peak and set aside
  • Heat the blackberry puree and bring it to a simmer, take it off the heat
  • Add the gelatin leaves or melted powdered gelatin, mix well
  • Let the black berry mixture cool on an ice bath, stirring once in a while
  • Once cooled, add the liqueur
  • Fold in the italian meringue
  • Lastly, fold in the whipped cream
  • Pour into plastic-lined 7" square cake ring or baking pan and put it in the freezer
  • Once frozen, cut out circles smaller than the cake ring you are using to assemble the cake
 Italian Meringue
120g sugar
30g water
60g egg whites
  • Mix together the sugar and the water in a saucepan and bring it to 118-120C
  • When the temperature is close, start whipping the egg whites
  • Once the sugar syrup is ready, pour the syrup into the egg white with the mixer still running
  • Whip until stiff and shiny

Pistachio Mousse
450g heavy cream
45g pistachio paste
450g milk
1/10 vanilla bean
100g egg yolks
100g sugar
10g gelatin leaves
  • Whip the heavy cream until soft peak and set aside
  • Combine milk,  pistachio paste, and vanilla bean seeds in a saucepan, bring to a simmer
  • Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until pale
  • Once the milk mixture is ready, temper the yolk with the milk and return it back to the saucepan
  • Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to 84C under low heat
  • Add the gelatin and mix well
  • Strain the mixture and let cool on an ice bath
  • Fold in the whipped cream
Soaking syrup
40g 30°B sugar syrup -- see this recipe
20g water
25g Kirsch
  • Mix all ingredients
To Assemble
  • Assemble the cake upside down.
  • Brush the pistachio joconde with the soaking syrup
  • Place an acetate sheet in the bottom of a sheet pan and place the cake rings on top
  • Pipe some pistachio mousse
  • Place the blackberry mousse in the center
  • Pipe more mousse almost to the top of the ring
  • Place the pistachio joconde at the top, pushing it down slightly so that it is the same level with the mousse.
  • Freeze overnight and unmold (the bottom is now the top part)
  • Glaze with neutral glaze and decorate with blackberry and pistachio pieces


Irene said...

I envy you having a separate fridge to store leftovers, I can only imagine how much faster all the prep work would be when you can take components straight from the fridge! I also can't wait to see what creative concoction you'll make out of them :)

Anonymous said...

Does putting the mousse in the freezer change its texture?

Bertha said...

Irene: Yes, we used to only have 1 fridge and it is so frustrating as there was never any space for my cake. I was really happy when finally had my own full fridge and freezer just for my cakes :)

Anonymous: It doesn't change the texture at all after being thawed in the fridge. All of my mousse cakes need to be frozen first before unmolding it.

Tamara said...

this is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Hey Bertha,
I love your blog the cakes are so beautifully done and delicious!

Thank you so much for sharing the recipe I really appreciate it! I wish you can share more recipe in your blog because there are so many delicious mousse cakes and entremets you made that didn't include the recipes.

Thanks :)

Bertha said...

Tamara: Thanks!

Anonymous: Thank you! If you notice, I share recipe almost for every cake I make lately. I didn't for the older cakes mostly because of time constraint and also the fact that they were experiment cakes. I probably would if I remake them and hopefully I would.

Bertha said...

I accidentally deleted a comment. I am copying and pasting it here:

Anonymous said...

Hi Berths,
I never use gelatin sheets/leafs before and I was wondering how do you measure 4g of gelatin if they are in leafs? If the gelatin leafs is 2.5g per leafs do you use one and a half leafs to get 4g and do you multiply 2.5g and 4 leafs to get 10g?

I have another question that I would like to ask you if the gelatin sheets is 10g per sheets and the recipe call for 3g or any number of grams how do you measure that? Do you cut the gelatin sheets into smaller portions? If you do cut the gelatin sheets how do you get 3g?

How to convert gelatin sheets to powder gelatin? If your recipe call for 4g gelatin leafs and 10g gelatin leafs how do you covert it to power? And how many milliliter of water do you need to soak the gelatin power?

Bertha said...

Anonymous: Yes, you just weigh the amount of gelatin leaf you need. Each sheet is usually 2-3 grams, I've never heard or seen a gelatin sheet weigh 10 grams though.

There are many conversion formula from gelatin leaf to powder but here's what I use and it works for me:
1 sheet gelatin=2 grams=1/2 tsp powdered gelatin

Hope it helps :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Bertha,

2g x 4 sheets = 8g to convert it to power I multiply 1/2 x 4 = 2 tsp power gelatin.

Is that how you convert gelatin sheets to powder gelatin? If not can you please explain how you convert gelatin sheets/leaf to power? How do you get 1/2 tsp for 2g?

Bertha said...

Some recipe would require the amount of gelatin in grams, sometimes in leaf. Sure, your calculation is correct.
I don't remember where I read this conversion, it was a long time ago and I tried it and it worked. I've been using this measurement ever since. If you want a more accurate conversion, there are many forums out there that discuss this

Rebecca said...

Okay, you are perhaps the first person I have encountered in the US who makes entremets from Hidemi Sugino. Do you read Japanese or did you somehow find his recipes in English? Also...where did you get your pastry rings? I have no idea where to find a set of them.

Bertha said...

Rebecca: I dont read japanese. I referenced his book a lot and it is the one with french and japanese. If you know how to make creme anglaise, joconde, bavarois, you can certainly make his recipes. I dont remember where i got my pastry ring, it was a long time ago, but i saw it in most baking online shopping website. Mine is ateco brand, measured 3" in diameter

Rebecca said...

Thanks so much for responding to my comment! If I could ask another question - where did you find the Hidemi Sugino book? A friend from Japan sent me his "The Dessert Book", but he had to buy it on Japanese and then send it to me. Did you find yours in the US somewhere?

Bertha said...

Rebecca: I have both Hidemi Sugino's books (The Dessert Book and Le Gout Authentique Retrouve) and I got them from

Nathalia Soetedjo said...

Hi bertha...
Been obssesed with your blog lately
Just test this sicile pistachio mousse was so runny..any idea why?should i reduce the milk next time?thank you so much for posting..i have the book,you really helped me understand the book.can you speak indonesia,by the way?

Bertha said...

Nathalia: Just the other day I had someone asked me why her mousse was so thick and you have the exact opposite :)

did you cook the creme anglaise to the correct temperature? If yes, it should thicken when cooled, especially that there is gelatin in it to help thicken it.

Also, make sure you fold the whipped cream when the anglaise is at least at room temperature. If you fold it when it is hot/warm, it will melt the cream and it would be runny.

Yes, I can speak Indonesian :)

Nelson Lock said...

hello :) may I ask regarding on the books you used. which one is better? As i am from Malaysia, it is hard to search in the book stores now. I had asked several stores (in Penang area) but none of them know this author ; Hidemi Sugino. I found this chef is so interesting from your blog. Therefore i am so eager to get one of his book. :)
and btw i only know english.

Bertha said...

Nelson Lock: I don't quite understand what you meant by which book is better, are you trying to compare specific books?

I got my Hidemi Sugino book online from Amazon Japan because we dont have it here in the US either. it is in japanese and french (french for the ingredient list only). I don't speak both language either but I can understand the french word for sugar, flour, etc from reading many recipes and google translation :)

Nelson Lock said...

thanks for the reply :)
since its in both Japanese n fresh i think i will use your blog's recipe as reference if you don't mind :)

Revathy J said...

I kept on hopping in search of finding a recipe for Pistachio Mousse, and found your blog. I am just obsessed with your blog now. Wanting to try so many receipes from your blog.
I don't know either French or Japanese. So very very thanks for all the beautiful posts. Can I mention your blog in my posts .
Also is the pistachio paste and almond paste sweetened or unsweetened. Since I want to try a home made paste receipe your comments will be helpful.

Bertha said...

Revathy: Glad my posts help! Of course you can mention my blog in your posts.

They have sweetened and unsweetened pistachio paste. I think for almonds, they are mostly sweetened.

Revathy J said...

Thanks Bertha.
I tried the blackberry mousse, but am skeptical of whether I have to use all the meringue that was made from the receipe or just 2 tbsp = 30 gms.

Bertha said...

You don't need all the meringue as it will be too sweet.

minhchau luong said...

Bertha, your mousse cake looks so nice and smooth, i really appriciate if can you show me how to do? When i removed the cake ring, my cake border looks so rough.

Bertha said...

To remove the cake ring from the cake, warm the outside of the cake ring slightly and slide it up (or down depending on your set up). I use blow torch to do this but you can use warm towel as well

minhchau luong said...

Thanks for your help :)

I tried some of your reciept and its totally it!

Anonymous said...

How do you unmold your mousse cakes? They are gorgeous and look yummy.

Bertha said...

Anonymous: Like I mentioned in the previous comment, I warmed the side of the cake ring with blow torch (some use hair dryer) until it is slightly warm and the mousse inside slightly soften up. Then lift the cake ring up (or down)

Agnes Lim said...

Hi Bertha,

Your cake looks beautiful. Just wondering, how did you actually turn the cake upside down when unmold this? I tried to imagine what you wrote down but still not comprehend it fully quite yet. If you could please share any info on this, that would be amazing. Thanks a lot.

Bertha said...

Agnes: The cake would be frozen before you unmold this. Just place a plate or cake board on top of the frozen cake, then flip it upside down. Now the acetate sheet is on top. Then just peel off the acetate sheet.
Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Hi Bertha,
I just bought hidemi sugino book in japanese and france only for the ingredients.
The instructions all are written in Japanese, and i dont read japanese.
How do you translate the instruction from japanese to English as you dont read japanese as well?
Please help me , i really want to try recipe in this book.
Thank you.

Bertha said...

Anonymous: I don't really read the instruction, haha...
I just looked at the ingredients and guessed what they are trying to make.

Usually, the ingredients are listed in the order of when they are used, so if you are familiar with making creme anglaise, bavarois, joconde, then you are all set since most of the recipe will involve around this.

john said...

hi bertha, it looks really good. can you tell me how do you glaze the cake? and do you have the recipe for the glaze? thanks

Bertha said...

John: I used Pierre Herme's recipe for the glaze (at least somewhat). I forgot if I have posted it or not but you can do a search. If not, then I will post it next time I use it

emily said...

Hi Bertha, I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your recipes and photos - they all look so beautiful, you're so talented!! I can't wait to try making some of the entremets from your blog :)

NataliyaBaydina said...

Hi Bertha, I just tried making this and I had a problem with the berry mousse: as i added merengue to the berry mixture it just fell down completely and in the end the mousse ended up almost literally liquid and didn't keep shape at all. Is there a chance the merengue wasn't whipped enough? It was really stiff and stood for quite a while before i added it without losing peak shape, but maybe there is a chance it still somehow wasn't. Also, what should the texture of berry mixture be when adding merengue, should it harden a bit? And generally, how long should it cool (and should it be colder then room temprature or not)?

Bertha said...

Hi Nataliya,

I'm sorry to hear about your mousse. Just as with any mousse, when you mix the egg white (and/or whipped cream), make sure you fold it carefully, not mix it stir.

If you mix it or stir it, you would lose all the air in the egg white/whipped cream and will make the mixture liquidy instead of airy. You can google or watch youtube on how to fold properly.

The end result should not be liquid, but should not be super thick either. If you drop it from a spoon, it will not "flow" like liquid, but it will still thin enough to fall (not stick on the spoon)

Greg said...

Great recipe and thanks for sharing! I was wondering how many portions of your 3" rings this recipe gave you?

Thanks a ton!

Bertha said...

Greg: Hi, I don't remember how many it makes as it was a while ago. But I only have 6 mini cake rings, so I made 6 and I had a little bit of leftover.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bertha, I noticed that your links to the pistache jaconde leads to an error page. Also, another recipe I as browsing the biscuits aux pistache is also broken. Could you briefly explain how to mix these two... I believe they are two separate methods.

Bertha said...

Anonymous: Thanks for letting me know! I fixed the link in this post so it should be working now. I think many links are broken when we were redesigning the blog, so I appreciate you letting me know.
which biscuits aux pistache are you referring to? can you send me the post then i can find out. I refer joconde and biscuit interchangeably sometimes, so they might be both joconde (can be the same or different recipe. But if you give me the link, then I can answer you for sure!