This ethereal cake is one of the most romantic creations I've come across in a long while.
It put Christopher Thé, chef-owner of Black Star Pastry, Sydney, on the map as it's apparently one of the most instagrammed desserts in the world.
You can see it being made here.
"I just wanted to make it as romantic as possible," he says. "The rose petals and the rosewater are Middle Eastern influences and the watermelon is like the dessert course at a Chinese restaurant - straight-up fruit as palate cleanser."
I made this version of it recently for my niece's wedding. It's a beauty for Valentine's Day.
- Yield : 10 - 12
- Almond Dacquoise
- almonds - 150g
- pure icing sugar - 150g, sifted
- egg whites - 5
- caster sugar - 135g
- Rose-scented cream
- thickened cream (i.e. with gelatine) - 600ml
- caster sugar - 3 tablespoons
- rosewater - 3 tablespoons
- Watermelon Layer
- seedless watermelon, rind removed - 400g
- rosewater - 3 tablespoons
- caster sugar - 4 tablespoons
- almond meal - 40g
- To finish:
- strawberries - 500g, hulled and halved (or quartered if large)
- small seedless red grapes - 10, halved
- slivered pistachios - 1 - 2 tablespoons (or use maple syrup)
- dried rose petals - 1 - 2 tablespoons (or use maple syrup)
Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 30cm x 40cm tray with baking paper.
To make the almond dacquoise: Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground, then combine in a bowl with icing sugar.
In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 3-4minutes.
Gradually add caster sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form, for 1-2minutes.
Gently fold the almond-icing sugar mixture into the egg whites.
Spread the almond dacquoise mixture evenly over the prepared baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool on the tray, then cut in half lengthwise. Leave to rest for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Arrange watermelon slices in a single layer on a wire rack. Sprinkle with half the rosewater and half the caster sugar. Let soak for 30 minutes, then pat dry with kitchen towels.
For the rose-scented cream, whisk cream and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks forum. Gradually add rosewater and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Do not over-whisk.
Spread 1/3 of rose-scented cream evenly over half the dacquoise. Sprinkle with half the almond meal, and layer watermelon over the dacquoise, You might need to trim some of the watermelon slices to fill the gaps.
Sprinkle the remaining almond meal over the watermelon. Spread half of the remaining rose cream. Layer with the rest of the dacquoise and rose cream. Refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.
Combine strawberries with the remaining rosewater and sugar in a bowl. Toss to combine and set aside for 15 minutes. Carefully arrange the strawberries onto the cake, gently pushing into the cream. Trim the edges of the cake, scatter top with grapes, pistachios and rose petals. Serve.
Tip: Wipe mixing bowls with a dash of vinegar and salt to remove impurities before whipping egg whites. If the bowl is dirty, the egg whites might not be able to form stiff peaks.