When I was a kid I wanted to be a gymnast. I remember watching a movie on Romanian Nadia Comaneci and how she scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars in the 1976 Olympics and thought to myself that I was born to be a gymnast.
So my best friend and I started teaching ourselves cartwheels, back bends and once even decided to create our own dismount station on the side of my brother’s bed so we could practice somersaults (I shrudder at the thought of our bravery then!). During long car trips my Dad would play classical music and I would close my eyes and pretend to do a floor routine to the music of Mozart and Tchaikovsky.
So the logical thing to do was ask my parents permission to take proper gymnastic lessons – and I was devastated when they said no. I am assuming they thought it was too dangerous. Maybe they thought I wasn’t ready… maybe, they weren’t ready. I brooded over what to do next for months. Finally, I decided to write them what I thought was a tear jerker of a letter asking them to reconsider their decision. And what a letter it was. I’m pretty sure the phrases “this is my dream” and “please, please, please” came up many times. The next day, they relented.
Now take a look at this Strawberry and Watermelon Cake which is a signature dish at the Black Star Pastry in Newtown. I first heard about this cake from a number of bloggers many months ago and thought “Huh? No that’s just wrong! Watermelon in a cake? How is that going to taste?” Then I saw it again in this month’s Gourmet Traveller and glanced at the recipe and knew I had to give it a go.
Think layers of almond dacquoise, rose scented cream and a refreshing watermelon surprise in between. Now on top of this you’ve got the sweetest, juiciest rose scented strawberries, grapes and pistachios. Don’t be intimated by it’s beauty. It’s a relatively simple cake to make but looks very impressive and it’s a great cake to make ahead of time for parties or dinners. This is a wonderful gluten free cake that I know I am going to be making many times while strawberries are in season.
I humbly admit I was wrong. Maybe I just wasn’t ready then.
Sometimes, no, means just not now.
Black Star Pastry’s Strawberry and Watermelon Cake
- 250 grams seedless watermelon, thinly sliced
- 60 ml rose water
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 40 grams almond meal
- 500 grams strawberries, quartered
- 10 seedless grapes, halved
- 1 tbsp chopped pistachios, raw and shelled
For Almond Dacquoise
- 150 grams ground almonds
- 150 grams icing sugar
- 5 egg whites
- 135 grams caster sugar
Rose Scented Cream
- 300 ml thickened cream
- 30 grams caster sugar
- 30 ml rosewater
- For the almond dacquoise, preheat the oven to 200c. Process the almonds and icing sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks (around 3 to 4 minutes) then add the caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form (around 1 to 2 minutes). Gently fold through almond mixture, spread on a 30 cm by 40 cm oven tray lined with baking paper and bake around 10 to 15 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool on a tray, then cut in half, lengthways.
- Arrange the watermelon slices in a single layer on a wire rack. Sprinkle with 20 ml rosewater then scatter 2 tbsp sugar. Stand to macerate around 30 minutes then pat dry with absorbent paper.
- Meanwhile, for the rosescented cream, whisk the 300 ml cream with the 30 grams sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add the rosewater and whisk until stiff peaks form (do not overwhisk).
- Spread 1/3 of the rose cream evenly over the half dacquoise, scatter half the almond meal (20 grams), then layer the watermelon, the remaining almond meal (20 grams) then spread over half the remaining cream. Top with the remaining dacquoise, spread over the remaining cream and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours until firm.
- Combine the strawberries, remaining rosewater and remaining sugar in a bowl, toss to combine and set aside to macerate (around 15 minutes). Carefully arrange on top of the cake, gently pushing into the cream. Trim the edges of the cake, scatter over the grapes, pistachios and serve. (Optional – 1 tbsp dried rose petals to spread over the cake as well.
On other news please head on over to the New Asian Cuisine site for some of my recipes! I’ve been a big follower of this site for months and it has provided me with tons of inspiration for my posts. I’m so happy to be featured here as well.
New Asian Cuisine is a celebration of Asian cuisine by providing the largest database of delicious Asian recipes from over 100 chefs, restaurateurs, bloggers and Asian food experts worldwide. From a variety of Dumpling recipes, Sweet Rice stuffing for your Thanksgiving turkey, to lots of cooking tips from the chefs themselves, they’ve got it all! They are also an online resource guide of Asian cookbooks, Asian ingredients and have provided a list of over 1000 Asian supermarkets and Asian online grocery stores in the US and Canada.
New Asian Cuisine was originally launched in 2005 by original founders, Wendy Chan and Grace Niwa. As of 2009, New Asian Cuisine is owned by Asian Culinary Productions, Inc. and published by Grace Niwa of Niwa PR and Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.