Strawberry and Watermelon Cake – bliss! But how can you combine a delicate fruit such as watermelon into an entirely delicious cake? It would be a daunting task. Watermelon, so refreshing on a hot summer’s day, a drink in fruit form. But in a cake? And not soggy? And a cake that also has layers of dacquoise or meringue… seems tricky.
The people at Black Star Pastry in Sydney have manged just that, and other delicate and unusual flavours in cakes. I was was the recipient of their Orange Cake with Persian Fig one birthday, see here for the post.
Last week my long time friend (we’ve known each other since we were five!) Doctor Rosemary, had a dinner where she recreated the Strawberry and Watermelon Cake.
It looked and – more importantly tasted – sensational! She had managed the impossible, and achieved the dehydration of the watermelon, to create crisp layers that did not take away from the crunch of the dacquoise. I think it was texturally and taste-wise better than the original. Well done Rosemary!
So here is the recipe, from Australian Gourmet Traveller. It’s worth making!
250 g seedless watermelon, thinly sliced
60 ml (¼ cup) rosewater
4 tbsp caster sugar
40 g almond meal
500 g strawberries, halved
10 seedless red grapes, halved
1 tbsp slivered pistachios
1 tbsp dried rose petals
150 g almonds, coarsely chopped
150 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
5 free-range egg whites
135 gm caster sugar
300 ml thickened cream
30 g caster sugar
2 tbsp rosewater
For almond dacquoise, preheat oven to 200 degrees C. 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.