28 January 2006

Apologies for the mess over the last couple of days due to the move of our server, and sincere thanks to all of you who supported this site for the 2005 Food Blog Awards – in which Nordljus has been chosen as Best Food Photography Blog. As you have probably noticed, taking pictures is something I really enjoy and although I have loads to learn, it has encouraged me in many ways – so thank you so much again for all your feedback and support!

Anyway, this cake from Desserts by Pierre Hermé has been on my must-try list for a while – I was intrigued by the unusual combination of the flavours and I’ve finally got around to trying it. The cake has three textures each with their own flavour – layers of dark flourless chocolate cake, bittersweet chocolate mousse and ultra smooth lemon cream. I’ve made a similar cake before with orange and chocolate – but the orange butter cream was quite rich and I didn’t think it worked very well with the chocolate in terms of flavour or texture. So I was a little anxious until I actually tasted the finished cake, but luckily I was totally convinced this time :)

What makes it is definitely the lemon cream which I’ve been making good use of since I first made his lemon tart (which is another stunner). This cream has the same ingredients as used to make lemon curd, but straining and giving it a high speed finish in a blender while adding the butter results in silky texture and vibrant flavour. I liked the flourless chocolate cake too – it looks quite dry when baked but has a slightly chewy texture inside. Although he doesn’t suggest it, I applied syrup to the chocolate cake, suspecting that it might end up too dry without it (and I think it was the right decision).

The recipe specifies another layer of the chocolate mousse on top to finish, but wanting something more interesting, I made glacage au chocolat instead (with sugar syrup, cocoa powder, double cream and gelatine). It’s the same as I use for opera cake and unlike the picture in his book, mine ended up looking like opera indeed – but I was really happy with the result, I think it is a good addition to the recipe. As he points out, the proportion of the component parts is very important for this cake – I assume it depends on one’s taste but you will see what he means when you actually try it. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to get bitter and acidic flavours to work well together so you need a chocolate that is more sweet than bitter. I followed his advice and used Manjari which also helped to bind the two flavours together.

Speaking of Riviera – I saw the first cherry blossom of the year yesterday, I can now see an end to this dark, cold winter (even though I still have lots of chilblains on my feet), I can’t wait for the spring to come…


Food - Sweet        64 comments    Permalink

  • Great photography as always! You make me awfully hungry everytime I visit your blog ;)

    Posted by | 28 January 2006 #
  • hi keiko, congratulations! the choice was always crystal clear right from the beginning ;) your photography is truly in a league of its own - always breathtaking, just sumptuous beyond belief...this picture of the riviera is no exception - as stunning as always!

    Posted by Joycelyn | 28 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko! I am so happy you won -- your photographic artistry is amazing.


    Posted by jasmine | 28 January 2006 #
  • Wahou....This photo is terrific !! i’d made this cake 2 years ago and I want to try it again as I see your’s Mine was a little too dry if a remember...

    Posted by mercotte | 28 January 2006 #
  • I love what you do! It is always exciting. What kind of camera do you use?

    The chocolate/lemon combo has intrigued me for about 6 years...It is surprisingly good. keep up the fantastic work.

    Posted by | 28 January 2006 #
  • Big congrats Keiko! Very happy that you won :) The best of the best.

    Posted by Carolg | 28 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations, I’m so glad that you won! The Riviera, as per all your other creations, looks so professionally made. Have you taken any pastry courses before?

    Posted by Cin | 28 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations! You have definitely been an inspiration. And those cherry blossoms are absolutely beautiful.

    Posted by MM | 28 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko. Your photos are beautiful and always, looking at them brings a smile, happiness to seeing such beauties.

    Posted by Béa at La Tartine Gourmande | 28 January 2006 #
  • luscious...dessert great photography...

    me keeps coming back...

    i finally ordered P herme

    if not I have Paris mapped this year as my destination

    Paris or bury st edmonds?

    Posted by sha | 28 January 2006 #
  • I’m invigorated every time I see your blog. It is all rather classy and warming.Congratulations on the well deserved win.

    Posted by valentina | 28 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations on your win Keiko. Your photos inspire me to not just improve my photography, but my cooking also. Thankyou.

    Posted by Barbara | 28 January 2006 #
  • And we are all so very glad that you tried it! Beautiful photo and cake!

    (And congratulations on your win, Keiko!)

    Posted by Ivonne | 29 January 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko- I am so glad that you finally try making Riviera. I’ve been trying to convinced myself that I should try this cake but I was a little scared since I am not really a lemon fan. I saw a lot of review regarding this cake and all were good. I also tried the chocolate sponge recipe of PH in the Chocolate dome recipe which turned out nice, moist, and not crumbly at all and slightly chewy.I also saw this cake again in Singapore in the shop of one of his student before and it is named Tanariva there. By the way yoor Riviera looks so nice, the glace is so shiny and it looks so sophisticated! How I wish I can make it as beautiful as yours. Thank You.

    Posted by Cathy | 29 January 2006 #
  • P.H.’s lemon cream recipe is stellar and hasn’t left my side since my discovery of it. It has made many appearances on my menu. The pale color and luxurious mouth feel are amazing! I am glad to see I am not the only fan of this!

    Posted by Dana | 29 January 2006 #
  • Nice to see you back Keiko. A very joyful way to start the day with your photo. Thank you

    Posted by bonheursdesophie | 29 January 2006 #
  • Always such delicious photos...and you have cherry blossoms :)

    Posted by Kat & Satoshi | 29 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations on your win!

    I’m very glad to know that.


    Posted by seiko | 29 January 2006 #
  • So that’s what happened! Keiko I have you in my Bloglines subsriptions but I hadn’t seen an update from your site in weeks! And from the looks of it, I’ve missed PLENTY. Now I go to catch up...

    Posted by rowena | 29 January 2006 #
  • congratulations on your food blog award and on your beautiful website! what camera do you use? all the best!

    Posted by kishko | 29 January 2006 #
  • congratulation (you are the best)

    Posted by AnneE | 29 January 2006 #
  • Congrats on your food blog award! That is awesome. You have and make great use of the photos. This si something I am trying to figure out. I have a lot of photos and am having trouble getting them uploaded onto my sight, cuisinierskitchen.blogspot.com. I am not sure why some take and some don’t. I am a photo junkie and love great pix’s of great food. Any advice would be helpful. Check out my sight and let me know what you think for a rookie at this. cuisinierskitchen. Respectfully

    Posted by cuisinierskitchen | 30 January 2006 #
  • So simple, elegent and beautifu!l

    Posted by clare eats | 30 January 2006 #
  • Keiko, congratulations on the award. You really do have some fabulous photos that always inspire me to get baking again.

    What is your recipe for glacage au chocolat? It looks amazing in the photo.


    Posted by Yasmine | 30 January 2006 #
  • Well done Keiko, very well deserved in a very competitive field.

    Cherry blossoms in January?

    Posted by anthony | 30 January 2006 #
  • speaking of spring...

    i saw camomille flowers today and cherry blossoms

    all I could think is SPRING..

    Posted by sha | 31 January 2006 #
  • Love cherry blossom...when I was living in Washington, DC. Near the Jefferson Memorial...there were plenty of cherry trees, and when they blossomed...wow...splendidly pink :-) Thanks to Japan for giving those trees to Mr. & Mrs. President.

    Posted by Maya | 31 January 2006 #
  • What stunning photography. Can you tell me how on earth you managed to cut the Riviera so neatly? it’s one of those patissier secrets I’ve always wanted to know - do you use a hot knife?

    Posted by kookiegoddess | 31 January 2006 #
  • Keiko, the cake look sinful!! Reading your blog and influenced my next cookbook purchase of Dessert by Pierre Herme. He should give u some commision for all the great advertising!! And congrats on winning the Best Food Blog Photography! I voted!!!!

    Posted by steffles | 31 January 2006 #
  • Congratulations!!!



    Posted by azu | 1 February 2006 #
  • Congratulation Keiko! It’s an award that you deserve...

    The different textures in this photo are absolutly favolous. I can almost feel them. A mouthwatering dessert indeed. :-)

    Posted by Marcela | 1 February 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Beautiful as ever and you certainly deserved to win that category in the food blog awards. CONGRATULATIONS!

    Posted by Reid | 1 February 2006 #
  • A well-deserved win. I look forward to another year of beautiful photography and stunning recipes.

    Posted by s’kat | 1 February 2006 #
  • awesome shots!!!

    Posted by wendy | 1 February 2006 #

    In TASTE, Sybil Kapoor mentioned that sourness lessen our perception of bitterness while heightening sweetness. I guess that’s why the combo worked so well!

    Posted by slurp! | 1 February 2006 #
  • May I join the congrulations chorus?? Thanks for commenting on cavoletto and, yes, really, your photos are definitely faboulous :-))

    Posted by Cenzina | 1 February 2006 #
  • I came across your blog in during the blog awards nominations and on Andrew’s site for DMBLGIT. Well deserved award—photography is stunning.

    And yeah, I’m totally with you on the spring fever thing. I’ve had enough of winter. Give me blossoms and sunshine anyday.

    Stay warm!

    Posted by vanessa Chang | 2 February 2006 #
  • Hi there, thank you very much for all your kind notes!

    Joycelyn - I remember your gorgeous riviera too...

    Mercotte - any place I can see your version? It must be beautiful, I’m glad you felt the same way ;)

    Anonymous, kishko - I use Canon 350D now, but I took earlier pics with Minolta A2.

    Cin - no, I’ve never taken a pastry course before.

    Sha - I was just thinking of using camomile for some cakes... I’m sure you’ll make a lot of beautiful desserts from the book, let me know when you have a chance to come over :)

    Cathy - I felt the same way as you do, but I’m glad I’ve tried - maybe you can try an orange/lemon combination?

    Dana - I’m glad you’re a fan of the luscious cream too :) I really like the silky smooth texture as well as the taste.

    Rowena - sounds like my rss feed isn’t working on yours, could you try to subscribe my new photo blog, I’ve installed the new version of the blog programme so if it works, I can change the food one too.

    Cuisiner - your creations are amazing, look forward to visiting your site again.

    Yasmine - I make sugar syrup first, then add cocoa powder, double cream and gelatine at the end - I find it easy to deal with and like the taste as it doesn’t overpower the whole cake like normal chocolate ganache.

    Anthony - I know, I was a bit confused when I first came here, but I’ve seen them blooming in some places in Europe in the middle of winter.

    Maya - I’ve only seen some pics of the place, it must be beautiful. I hope you’ll have a chance to enjoy cherry blossoms in Japan one day, it’s absolutely gorgeous (and I don’t know why but it makes me quite emotional too ;))

    kookiegoddess - I use a normal knife. This cake wasn’t actually too difficult as all the components are quite firm - but I normally freeze beforehand when I make mousse based cake.

    Steffles - I’d love to get his new book, but it’s FAR too expensive.

    Slurp - I think I must have that book soon...

    Cenzina - your creations are always beautiful and you capture them perfectly.

    Vanessa - keep warm and have a lot of comfort food :)

    Posted by keiko | 2 February 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, just discover your blog and I found your photos so beautiful. I have questions : are you a chef ? do you own your bakery or restaurant ? where did you learn to bake like that ?

    Posted by peggy | 2 February 2006 #
  • You are amazing! Congratulations Keiko.

    Posted by Kelli | 2 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko!!! So happy that you won!

    And cherry blossom?! Now?? Amazing!

    Posted by obachan | 2 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations!

    Posted by Kathryn | 2 February 2006 #
  • keikon san

    camomille... just to let you know I danced with joy,,, I saw fresh CAMOMILLE FLOWERS today and cherry blosoms..Athens is enjoying 15C temp and so sunny...

    Posted by sha | 3 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations!

    Posted by coffee81 | 3 February 2006 #
  • Hi! Your cake is wonderful, anche I dream to see your cherry blossom:)


    Posted by Francesca | 3 February 2006 #
  • Fab pic’s and wonderful person!!! ;-)

    You’re great Keiko!!


    Posted by Sandra | 3 February 2006 #
  • Congrats Keiko!!! You absolutely deserve the award with all your jaw-droppingly beautiful shots. What kind of camera do you use again? Anyway, it’s your styling as much as the photography, you are gifted in both... And that cake looks divine I have been hankering for that book and I know my chocoholic sweet-toothed husband would love that dessert. Keep up the good work and inspiration!

    Posted by Vivilicious | 3 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko! Richly deserved. Your photos and descriptions are very well done. Is there a book in the works?

    Posted by Deb | 3 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko! Keep up the good work. I love your posts and work.



    Posted by Shanna | 4 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko-san! I am very happy that you won :-)

    Posted by rie | 5 February 2006 #
  • Hello Keiko,some words to say to you that it’s always an immense pleasure of coming on your blog, thank you to share that with us!I can’t wait for the next post!


    Posted by Ooishi Gal | 6 February 2006 #
  • Keiko san

    Congratulations!! I’m glad to hear about that!

    I was sure your win ’cos your photoes are so wonderful.


    Posted by aya | 7 February 2006 #
  • Your photo...so ’magnifique’

    Posted by Caroline | 7 February 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko - your cake looks equisite, like all your desserts! I made my first ever Pierre Herme dish today, but as I didn’t think I’m ready for a multi-layered delicated cake of his yet, I made a chocolate rice pudding from Chocolate Desserts by PH. It was delicious, and I can now proudly say that I’ve managed a recipe of his as well:)

    Posted by Pille | 9 February 2006 #
  • You absolutely deserve that award. Would you be willing to share what kind of lighting you use to achieve such dreamy photos?


    Posted by Melissa | 9 February 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, congrats on your award! it is most deserved. Your cake looks fantastic, as perfect as it could possibly be.

    I spent almost a year in DC and came to love the cherry blossoms there, thanks for reminding me of them!

    Posted by Michele | 9 February 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko, you really deserve the price. I mean your photography is so awesome and sometimes (urg i should say always actually) your pictures are a lot more beautiful than the ones i find in cookbooks and food magazines.

    As for the riviera you convinced me to try it. It’s true that lemon and chocolate is quite unusual but it seems so good. I MUST try it.



    Posted by fanny | 11 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations fellow winner! I feel so honored to be among blogs I have enjoyed thoroughly since the beginning.

    Chocolate and lemon has been a favourite flavour combination for me for almost 15 years. But everyone I worked with thought I was crazy. But a few years ago I took a chance and made a dessert with these components and it became an incredibly popular dessert! Not only was the praise satisfying but I loved that people jumped on my train with me even though they were worried the conductor didn’t look like she knew where she was going.

    Posted by shuna fish lydon | 12 February 2006 #
  • Congratulations Keiko-Your posts are so lovely. Thank you for sharing them.

    Posted by Fran | 12 February 2006 #
  • Hi there, thank you so much for all your kind notes!

    Peggy - I’ve never learnt cooking, I guess I’m just greedy...

    Obachan - I really miss sakura in Japan...

    Sha - it’s been very warm here too, but I’m sure it’ll get cold again before the spring comes...

    Vivlicious - I use a Canon 350D, I think your husband is like mine :)

    Pille - how about trying Plaisir Sucre next? :) It was easy to make and really delicious!

    Melissa - I don’t have any lighting equipment, so I’ve got really limited time to shoot during the winter here in the UK!

    Michele - I’m jealous you’ve lived in so many different places...

    Fanny - I’m glad I’ve convinced you :) Let me know when you try it.

    Shuna - wow, 15 years! you were definitely way ahead of PH, I think I’m going to ask you next time I need advice on a new combination :)

    Posted by keiko | 16 February 2006 #
  • hi keiko! my lemon curd recipe is from martha steward’s living magz, will that do for this cake? coz the amount of butter in the recipe is very little (in my opinion). i really want to try it coz it really looks yummy. thank’s!

    Posted by meechan | 12 June 2007 #
  • would be great if you could post a recipe.looks amazing well done

    Posted by abe | 17 April 2008 #
  • Hi Abe – you can find the recipe in Desserts by Pierre Herme.

    Posted by keiko | 1 July 2008 #
  • Congratulations! Your photography work is truly amazing. I have just spotted your blog and for sure will visit again. cheers!

    Posted by jo | 17 September 2009 #

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