Strawberry and Pistachio Mousse Cake
It was two of my dear coworker friends' birthday last weekend, on the 6th and 7th. As a good friend :), of course I want to make them a birthday cake. And what is a better opportunity to experiment than this one? I really wanted to make something new, and I was struck by this cake from Lynn. She makes absolutely gorgeous cakes and desserts. Everything she make is a perfection. There are a couple of reason why I chose this cake. First, I've always wanted to combine strawberry and pistachio together since last year, but never had the urgency to make it :). Second, I have a container of pure pistachio paste that I bought online for a while now. Third, I still have my pink macaron I made about a week ago in the freezer to decorate with.
It was a very hectic weekend I had, and everything I had planned didn't go the way I expected. I only had 2 hours at home on Sunday (other than the hours for sleep), so I made the rest of the cake on Monday night after work. I had quite a few obstacles when making this cake. First, I couldn't find stawberries at Costco. Every other time I go there, there are always plenty of strawberries, so I had to make do with grocery store strawberries, which are more expensive, and don't look fresh at all. They're all white in the middle, and completely tasteless and soft!!! I was really disappointed when I ate one to see how much sugar I would need.
I was pretty skeptical at first with the amount of gelatin I decided to use. It seems like a lot and I don't like those rubbery mousse they usually sell at the bakery because they put too much gelatin. Of course gelatin is good to make the mousse hold its shape, but sometimes they just went overboard with it :). But in the end, I was really glad that the mousse hold its shape and yet you still get that mousse texture. And the strawberry flavor is definitely there, although it would be a lot better if I had used tasty and flavorful strawberries you would get in the farmers market in summer (hmm....can wait for summer to come). But there was enough strawberry flavor in the mousse. Maybe it's because I used considerably plenty of puree for the mousse (about 600ml or so).
So, the cake consists of a layer of joconde that I flavored with pure pistachio paste, moisten with Grand Marnier. Then there's a layer of strawberry mousse, a layer of pistachio bavarois, and the whole thing is then encased with the rest of the mousse. Put a clear glaze on top, fresh strawberries and macaron for the decoration, and it's done. The clear glaze is not that clear though. I made it myself and I put lemon and orange juice as well as the zest, also mint and vanilla bean. It tastes great, but it won't be very clear. I will try to make the plain one next time. I love this glaze because it won't turn to gel when it cooled down. It's just like glaze. The only thing I would do different next time (other than using good strawberries of course), I should use less pistachio cream. Yesterday when it was cut, I notice that the pistachio layer is a little thicker than what I would have liked. But other than that, everything was excellent.
Of course mine is still far from what Lynn made. I could only dream to make cakes like her, but I think it's pretty good :). I wish I have the picture of the cut portion, but I didn't. If you want to see what it looks like inside, you can see lynn's perfect layer here, it's pretty close.