Sprinkles! Coconut! Chocolate! Ricotta! Accidental good stuff! Did I mention sprinkles?
It’s cake truffle time in Casa Gander when I make too many of these Turkish coffee brownie layer cakes:
Or these coconut-mango bundt-lettes from last Fiesta:
Or gluten-free chocolate layer cakes (one from the archives!):
Or other good things that haven’t made it onto the blog, like the most sensual banana cake. (I’m calling it cake, because something with so much butter, cream and sour cream really couldn’t hide under the misnomer ‘bread’.)
Usually, I don’t blog about the cafes and patisseries that we visit. In part because there are so many food bloggers in Sydney who discover and review each new place, often months before I make my fashionably late way there.
But Black Stars Pastry’s strawberry watermelon cake is really something special.
The cake has almost a cult following among BSP fans. It’s made of two pieces of almond dacquoise, layered with rose scented cream, rose scented watermelon slices, and topped with an artful jumble of red grapes, strawberries, dried rose petals, and bright green flashes of pistachio slivers.
For me, it’s the taste of Sydney summer in every mouthful.
I served a variation of this cake for a dinner party, where the seven courses alternated between the colours red and white. Dessert was the watermelon cake turned into a trifle, with an extra sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. It was one of the hottest, most humid days in living memory. As guests began to eat the trifle, conversation around the table came to a standstill. There was only the sound of dessert forks clinking against dewy, chilled wineglasses that doubled as trifle bowls.
And tonight, the same flavour combination – rosewater, cream, watermelon and strawberries – worked their magic on savarins, for a weeknight dinner party.
This is a keeper. After tasting four cakes this afternoon, the ‘panforte’ remains Mr Gander’s favourite. It tastes better on the second and third day, which also makes it an ideal part of a Christmas gift box.
At first glance, this Aussie take on the panforte looked like a rustic version of a showpiece white chocolate and macadamia tart (Gourmet Traveller).
If the GT tart was a person, it would be a immaculately coiffed woman looking like our governor general. Its filling contains freshly ground macadamia meal (like almond meal), macadamia chunks and white chocolate, topped with a thin glistening layer of dark quince paste. How glam is that?
By comparison, this ‘panforte’ draws you in only after the first bite. It’s that woman in the corner of the cafe, her honeyed voice washing over you and catching your attention. Then, you realise she has such a pair of fascinating laughing eyes.