A Pool Party for Joan's Birthday and A Strawberry Pistachio Mascarpone Mousse Cake

Wow, I completely missed the month of October and I've never missed a month before! How bad :(. Not that I did that on purpose but so many things have been going on.

There were so many birthdays, lots of cooking (everyday cooking), and other stuff, it is amazing how little time left you have after. In fact, we went to San Diego this past weekend just to getaway from everything and to celebrate M's birthday. Nothing fancy, in fact, we both got sick the day of our departure. He's holding up quite well, but I feel bad for sleeping all the 7-hour driving! San Diego was raining too, quite hard and COLD! It was definitely a getaway full of sleeping (about 11 hours average, we needed the rest) and eating. I can safely say that all 3 days were spent eating and eating and only tacos (plus cheese quesadillas). M

There's this one taco place in SD that we both think is the best of all. In fact, I got panicked not being able to enjoy them after I go back, we got 20 tacos and 4 cheese quesadillas to go!!! I have now a large tray full of meat and the different components sitting in my fridge. I thought cheese quesadillas were boring and bland but who knows that they can be so good! The tortillas are very flaky and buttery and that cheese... Hmmpphh... I am not on a quest to make my own tortilla and about to purchase a tortilla press. Yup, that's how serious I am with these Mexican food :).

I could go on and on about those tacos but let's get to the "baking" part of the story now.

One of my sister in law's birthday was in mid August. We didn't really have any plan on how to celebrate it, one thing we know is that she LOVES surprises. We didn't really decided a set plan until one day before and that we decided to have a pool party!

Although weather here is perfect during summer, it gets pretty chilly when the sun is down, making swimming at 5pm outdoor a pretty cold experience. Only a few of us dare to get into the water (including a baby) and the rest of us just chilling or prepping the food.

It didn't leave me much time to make the cake, basically only had less than a day to make. I decided that I am going to make a simple cake with whatever I had on hand (this seems to be my strategy for a last-minute cake), which I'm never happy to do cuz it doesn't give me the freedom to experiment with it.

So I made some kind of pistachio joconde, mascarpone mousse, red berry gelee, and white chocolate mousse. I had the pistachio joconde readily available and I always have frozen fruits in the freezer for the gelee that I froze during the peak of their season. I even had the pink macaron too, everything seems to be right in place.

The components of the cake are:
  • pistachio joconde, moistened with kirsch syrup
  • mascarpone mousse
  • fresh strawberries
  • pistachio joconde, moistened with kirsch syrup
  • thin white chocolate mousse
  • red berry gelee (strawberry and raspberry)
  • white chocolate mousse
  • pink macaron decor

We had a BBQ by the pool and we prepared korean BBQ, sausages. I made caprese salad and tuna dip to go along with the lemon garlic pita chips I bought at the farmers' market that morning. The bf also made a turtle and a pic watermelon carving to hold the watermelon cubes.

The cake turned out quite nice, the gelee was a bit thicker than what i wanted, but it's not a big deal. I will definitely use less in the future.

Strawberry and Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate and Mascarpone Mousse Cake
yield: one 8 3/4" round cake

Pistachio Joconde (from Hidemi Sugino's recipe)
90g almond paste
37.5g pistachio paste
45g whole eggs
40g egg yolks
25g egg whites
80g egg whites
50g sugar
45g cornstarch
20g melted butter
  • Combine almond & pistachio paste in a mixer bowl and mix it to combine
  • Add the egg yolks, 25g egg whites & whole eggs gradually and beat until thick
  • Fold in the cornstarch
  • Fold in the melted butter
  • In another bowl whisk 80g egg whites and 50g caster sugar until stiff peaks and fold it in 2-3 additions
  • Pour mixture into two 8" round pan and bake at 445F for 5-6 minutes
Sliced fresh strawberries

Kirsch Syrup
20g sugar syrup (made with 1:1.3 water:sugar ratio)
15g water
10g kirsch
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
Red Berry Gelee
125g raspberry puree
125g strawberry puree
80g sugar (adjust depending on the sweetness of the fruits)
1.5 tsp. gelatin powder (mixed with 1 Tbs. water)
  • Heat the raspberry, strawberry puree and the sugar in a saucepan
  • Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin and the water, let set
  • Once the puree almost reaches the boiling point, melt the gelatin in a microwave for a few seconds
  • Add to the puree mixture and let it boil a few seconds
  • Let cool in an icebath and pour into 8" round pan that has been lined with plastic wrap
  • Harden in the freezer until ready to use
Mascarpone Mousse
8-oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
200g heavy cream
40g sugar
1/2 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped (optional)
  • Heat the heavy cream and vanilla bean seeds in a saucepan until simmering
  • Turn off the heat and let it steep for a few minutes
  • Put it in the fridge overnight
  • If not using vanilla bean, use the cream directly without steeping
  • Whip the cream and the sugar until soft peak and fold it into the mascarpone cheese
  • Use immediately
White Chocolate Mousse
150g white chocolate
150g heavy cream
350g heavy cream, whipped until soft peak
3/4 tsp. gelatin (mixed with 1 tbs. water)
  • Make a ganache with the white chocolate and 150g heavy cream
  • Melt the gelatin and add it to the hot ganache
  • Let cool in the refrigerator or on an icebath
  • Whip the cream until soft peak
  • Fold it into the cooled ganache
  • Use immediately
To Assemble
  • Place one layer of pistachio joconde inside of a 8" 8ound cake ring and moisten with kirsch syrup
  • Spread about 1/2 of the mascarpone mousse
  • Arrange strawberry slices on top
  • Spread the rest of the mascarpone mousse
  • Place the second layer of pistachio joconde and brush with the syrup
  • Refrigerate overnight
  • The next day, remove the cake ring and place 8 3/4" round ring around the cake
  • Pipe white chcolate mousse on the side of the cake and a thin layer on top
  • Place the frozen gelee on top and cover with more white chocolate mousse
  • Refrigerate for at least overnight


Ann said...

Love your blog and all the pictures! Do you come up with your own recipes?

Bertha said...

Hi Ann, Thanks! The joconde recipe is from Hidemi Sugino because I have that ready already at that time. The rests are my own recipe, unless I will put the source.

Ειρήνη said...

this cake looks amazing!so beautiful!congratulations!

YONKS said...

It looks like you had such a wonderful day with your friends and family, such wonderful smiling faces :-)
That cake looks delicious!

Mary Jeanette said...

absolutely amazing blog! i'm also a chinese indonesian who's living overseas and have a foodblog. haha! will definitely keep following your updates :) they're nothing but inspiring!

Unknown said...

Hi. Is there a reason you boil red gelle after adding gelatine,which is supposed not to be cooked or heated to boiling temperature? Tnx

Bertha said...

Unknown: Hi, I don't actually remember putting that step in there, but in any case, it is ok to let it boil a few seconds (as it is stated in the recipe), or even longer. Gelatin works to its full strength when the mixture reaches a full boil.
If you are worried, then you can just mix the gelatin to the boiled mixture, off the heat. This is actually what I have been doing. It doesn't make any difference so far. But just to note it, I don't boil the gelatin normally