Usually every year I would book a nice restaurant to take Ryan to for his birthday but as we were heading down to Tasmania the day after, I suggested that we have his birthday celebration at home with his family and offered to cook a nice lunch for them (my first time cooking for the whole family too!).
I decided that broken rice with pork chop was a good dish that everyone in his family would like and it would be relatively easy to prep and throw together for a nice casual lunch without too much stress.
Being the baker that I am, I knew that I didn't want to go out and buy a cake for him so I thought long and hard about what I was going to make.
It wasn't an easy decision as every cake I had ever baked he has tasted and I wanted to do something a little different to the norm and the favourites he has come to love. Then I remembered the recipe for the Strawberry and Watermelon cake by Christopher Thé from Black Star Pastry that I had stumbled across a long time ago on the Gourmet Traveller website but was always so scared to try.
Perfect! Strawberry and Watermelon were two of the boy's favourite fruits (as well as lychees of course) and as I had tackled the Mango Vacherin a couple of months ago, I realised that the techniques were quite similar so it shouldn't be hard to make at all.
The almond dacquoise didn't seem to cook through after the cooking time stated so I put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so.
I realised that I may have cut my watermelon slices on the slightly thinner side so had a fair bit left over.
I had prepped everything the night before so that I could assemble the cake in the morning before heading to Ryan's place to cook lunch.
It got a little messy for me assembling the cake and I wasn't sure it would turn out at all. My dacquoise layers were a bit on the thin side as I had used a larger tray than the one in the recipe.
It was a little messy and it was tricky to get clean straight cuts around the sides of the cake. I bought whole pistachios instead of slivers and just gave them a quick whizz in the food processor. My small dried roses had been attacked by weevils and I didn't have time to go buy any so I skipped those, plus I thought roses/rose petals would be a bit too girly for the man in my life.
It might not be as pretty as the one that Christopher and his team make but I thought it was quite nice what I ended up with. 'Rustic' is what they call this kind of natural/messy look isn't it? Everyone loved it, especially the birthday boy. It tasted almost exactly like the first time we had it when we did a tour of Newtown with some fellow bloggers a few years ago.
Lucky boy actually got 2 cakes for his birthday this year. His mum also bought a small Asian sponge cake filled with Taro flavoured cream from Burwood for him. It was so yummy, they were both delish! ;)
And before I forget, my blog also passed the 2 year mark on the 3rd of March. Feels like I've been doing this forever though. In a way I have... been obsessed with taking photos of everything I've cooked eaten for donkey years now, it's only been documented on this blog for the last 2 years ;)
P.S I could do with a slice of this cake right now... Might have to pop into Black Star Pastry soon, or just make this cake again! =D