As a vacationer, I am predictable: I am sugar-pushed. Guava Danish and hot churros in Mexico City. Shaved ice and slippery mochi in Tokyo. The first time I went to Sydney, I rode a bus to Bondi Beach with a bag of Australian supermarket chocolates on my lap. I toured the botanical gardens and walked around the Sydney Opera House. I deliberate the afternoon around experience to Black Star Pastry in Newtown, so I ought to eat a slice of Christopher Thé’s well-known strawberry-and-watermelon cake.
“Famous” isn’t always an exaggeration. I’d been hearing about this cake for years, catching glimpses of it on my social media feeds and meals blogs. It seemed so quiet in well-lit snapshots, but as a snack, it remained a thriller. The top becomes a vivid cobble of reducing strawberries, pistachios, and dried rose petals. The cake itself turned into a slice of watermelon — raw, ripe watermelon — sandwiched between gentle almond dacquoise, the shade of moist sand, and whipped cream flavored with rose water. Watermelon seemed like any such risky addition to a based cake, with its crystalline, icy texture, and extra moisture. How many want to it paintings?
Thé first made the cake as a one-off, for a friend’s wedding ceremony, more than a decade ago. And even though he didn’t know it might grow to be an unofficial countrywide treasure, an ought to to-prevent on the Sydney tourism circuit; he did know a way to make a lovely cake: The soft dacquoise, a light sponge crafted from meringue mixed with floor almonds, may want to without difficulty take in any greater moisture, and emerge as even more scrumptious within the method. The watermelon cut not too thick, gave shape, and a distinct sort of sweetness, even as it gave in without difficulty to a fork. The rose water inside the cream wasn’t overpowering, best lightly floral, and the decoration on top turned into colorful and celebratory. In 2011, Thé’s cake took off on WeChat, the Chinese social media app, and in 2012, it did the same on Instagram, where users shared images and dutifully hashtagged them.
I’ve been considering the piece I had for precisely three years, in suits and starts, thinking a way to write approximately it. The problem changed into that it becomes way too quiet to attempt making at home — one of these dishes that would forever be disappointing human beings if I adapted the recipe. After all, it couldn’t possibly turn out because it did in the image, the way Thé and his cooks do it. Over the 10 years, they’ve been making the cake, they have got emerge as even extra unique, building the layers up so the cake is neat and its strains are parallel, and the fruit is a great pink stripe.
But then, I wasn’t nevertheless considering this cake due to the way it looked. The cake’s achievement didn’t hinge on its looks in any respect. It becomes without a doubt about the soft, mellow flavors of rose, watermelon, and cream coming collectively and the variety of textures simply starting to soften into each other. So an awful lot so that maybe my version, cobbled collectively at home in Los Angeles, didn’t want to be a beautiful layered cake at all.
So just as they do at Black Star Pastry, I organized the primary additives — reduce fruit, whipped cream, and baked cake. But then, in preference to building a cake, I reduce the pieces up more or less and layered them in a glass dish, greater like a trifle. It wasn’t a reproduction, and there has been no danger of this turning into the sector’s maximum Instagrammed cake variation. Still, contained like this, the cake worked just right, bringing domestic a touch taste of Sydney’s sweetness.