Strawberry and watermelon cake

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 people

  • 250 gm seedless watermelon, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) rosewater
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 40 gm almond meal
  • 500 gm strawberries (about 2 punnets), halved
  • 10 seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 tbsp slivered pistachios (see note)
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals (see note)
  •  
  • Almond dacquoise
  • 150 gm almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 150 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
  • 5 eggwhites
  • 135 gm caster sugar
  •  
  • Rose-scented cream
  • 300 ml thickened cream
  • 30 gm caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp rosewater
01   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.
02   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.
03   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).
04   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).
05   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.

Note Slivered pistachios and dried rose petals are available from David Jones food halls, select delicatessens and Pariya Food.

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