There are some desserts in this world that are in a league of their own. The type that some people cross cities – sometimes even oceans – just to indulge in their unparalleled goodness. There's Ladurée's unmatched macarons, New York City's Magnolia Bakery and its famed banana pudding; the list goes on. It would only make sense then, that Australia have its very own sweet treasure, one that even after so many years, still manages to draw in the same crowd of overly-hyped first-time buyers and long-time loyalists. You guessed it, it's Black Star Pantry's Strawberry Watermelon Cake.
For those who reside in Sydney, you'll already know very well that even uttering the words 'Strawberry Watermelon Cake' in a public place has the ability to strike up a conversation with even the most distant stranger. The strangest part is, no one actually knows how or when our undying obsession with this sweet treat even began; but like any cult meal, the only thing that matters is that it hasn't slowed down since.
So, where does this mysterious, coveted cake come from? The Strawberry Watermelon Cake heralds from pastry chef Christopher Thé’s bustling kitchen. First opening his flagship cafe and bakery in Newtown back in 2008, Thé's success has now extended to four different locations across Sydney and one in Melbourne – each one progressively bigger and more impressive than the next.
Although the Strawberry Watermelon Cake isn't Black Star Pastry's only selling point, there is good reason for the hype surrounding the cake. What is it actually made of that makes it so popular? We're glad you asked. The cake comprises of masterfully placed layers of almond dacquoise, precision-cut watermelon slices, and a pretty-in-pink crown of strawberries, grapes and rose petals. Some of life's greatest treasures all in one mouthful – and yes, it tastes just as good as it looks.
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The visual intrigue of the cake also speaks to its popularity. During a time where our feeds have been transformed into virtual food diaries, it makes sense that a dessert with such finesse would demand an audience.
While it's true that you could – and should – head to one of Black Star Pastry's many venues and pick up a slice or a slab of this baby hassle free; for our interstate or even international buddies who are looking to get a taste, the trip isn't so simple. Thankfully, the internet is a wonderful place; a place where finding an easy-to-follow and replicate recipe for the famed Strawberry Watermelon Cake is merely within an arms reach. We've broken it all down for you, below. What are you waiting for?
Strawberry Watermelon Cake recipe
250 gm seedless watermelon, thinly sliced
60 ml (¼ cup) Rosewater
4 tbsp caster sugar
40g almond meal
500g strawberries (about 2 punnets), halved
10 seedless red grapes, halved
1 tbsp slivered pistachios
1 tbsp dried rose petals
150g almonds, coarsely chopped
150g pure icing sugar sieved
5 egg whites
135g caster sugar
300 ml thickened cream
30g caster sugar
2 tbsp rosewater
For the almond dacquoise, preheat oven to 200C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground, then combine in a bowl with icing sugar. Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (3-4 minutes), then gradually add caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes). Gently fold through almond mixture, spread on a 30cm x 40cm oven tray lined with baking paper and bake until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool on tray, then cut in half lengthways.
Arrange watermelon slices in a single layer on a wire rack. Sprinkle with 20ml rosewater, then scatter with 2 tbsp sugar. Stand to macerate (30 minutes), then pat dry with absorbent paper.
Meanwhile, for rose-scented cream, whisk cream and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add rosewater and whisk until stiff peaks form (do not over-whisk).
Spread one-third of rose cream evenly over one half of dacquoise, scatter with half the almond meal, then top with watermelon, trimming to fill any gaps. Scatter over remaining almond meal, spread over half remaining cream. Top with remaining dacquoise, spread over remaining cream and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
Combine strawberries, remaining rosewater and remaining sugar in a bowl, toss to combine and set aside to macerate (15 minutes). Carefully arrange on top of cake, gently pushing into cream. Trim edges of cake, scatter over grapes, pistachios and petals, and serve.
If this recipe has put you in a baking mood, look to our round-up of 5 easy desserts you can make from pantry staples.