The One with the Black Star Cake
You know how sometimes you see something in a magazine and you think to yourself “OMG I NEED THIS!!!” or “#goals” or whatever it is you crazy kids are sayin’ these days? Well, I’m kinda like that with magazine recipes. I’m going to admit, I’m a bit of a hoarder - sometimes, I browse the chips/magazine aisle at my local Woolies (one always leads to the other!) and find myself standing for ages flipping from cover to cover, taking sneaky snaps on my phone. Shhh, our secret! It never happened!!!
So when I found out about Gourmet Traveller’s rendition of the Black Star Pastry cake - online though, so less embarrassing for me - I knew I had to recreate it. And so I did…twice! Learning from my mistakes, slurping on leftover watermelon and failing to post for months on end. Ahhh, the joys of being a lazy blogger/Snorlax.
Stayc’s lovely beagle, Raja, joined in on the action!
But time to assuage my guilt and show you the delicious results. I have a series of snapshots that Ange so kindly took for me during my second attempt. But first? My two cents - or however much price you put on my baking knowledge LOL - worth on the Gourmet Traveller Recipe.
- The almond dacquoise layer was thinner than I would have liked and did not have the same lovely height as the real BSB cake
- Before placing ANY wet component onto ANY dry component, cover generously in almond meal. And oh BOY do I mean GENEROUSLY - don’t worry about the quantity stated in the recipe. Go by gut here - create a 0.5cm thick lining. This acts like sawdust (you know when in school when a kid vomited and the teachers would cover it in sawdust so you couldn’t see anything and it would totally absorb it/the stench ok no? lol) to completely mop up the moisture so you don’t end up with a sloppy mess of a cake.
- Going back to observation 2, watermelon is VERY VERY watery and will need to be ‘sawdusted’ on both sides. Ensure you have more almond meal than the recipe says (#therecipeisalie - jokes, it’s mostly great)
- Investing in good quality rosewater WILL make a world of difference! And for that matter,
- Dried roses can be found in select department stores and food specialty stores but tend to be very expensive on the whole! Either splurge or do what I do - go to an Asian supermarket and look for rose tea with whole buds. I bought a pretty big pack for ~$4 that I’m still getting through!
- The recipe doesn’t mention this but I guarantee that moisture will be your biggest enemy when constructing this cake and there is a great chance that water shall prevail. To prevent this, I constructed my cake on a small rectangular platter and put it in the freezer after placing on each layer. The frozen cake was far easier to work with and nothing slid off (this happened the first time I made the cake and it caused me much grief!).
- BE METICULOUS - this BSP signature is essentially a naked cake and so every scrappy imperfection or wonkily sliced watermelon piece is gapingly obvious. Keep things neatly trimmed, measure measure measure before you place on component on another, try and divide cream in half before placing on dacquoise layer (so the cream layers appear consistent) and it really helps to have your work station planned out so you can work methodically through the layers and decorations.
- Slice the strawberries thinly. I regret halving it as the end result did not look as delicate and the large chunks of strawberry were a bit unwieldy and hard to eat.
Black Star Pastry’s Watermelon Strawberry Cake
250 g seedless watermelon, thinly sliced
60 ml (¼ cup)rosewater
4 tbsp caster sugar
40 g almond meal
500 g strawberries (about 2 punnets), halved
10 seedless red grapes, halved
1 tbsp slivered pistachios
1 tbspdried rose petals
150 g almonds, coarsely chopped
150 g pure icing sugar, sieved
5 egg whites
135 g caster sugar
300 ml thickened cream
30 g caster sugar
2 tbsp rosewater
1. For almond dacquoise, preheat oven to 200C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground, then combine in a bowl with icing sugar. Whisk eggwhites 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.
2. 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.
3. 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).
4. 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).
5. 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.
Look, it didn’t turn out looking exactly like the almighty BSB cake and I assume they’re not going to give away the secrets of their trade so soon. However, it is a serviceable and delicious cake which is easier to whip up than expected and oh so looovely (how can the trinity of watermelon, strawberries and rose be anything BUT mouthwateringly good!).
A home-made cake is also cheaper and allows one to play around with different flavours and fillings! Have fun with this recipe and enjoy the fruits of your own labour - trust me, you’ve well and truly earned it!