Back to my Sydney posts .. here’s one really extra mega special cake you definitely cannot miss when you’re in town – Black Star Pastry’s Watermelon Cake.
I know right, watermelon cake sounds kind of dodgy – you’d imagine juicy dripping slices of red watermelon mixing a little weirdly with cream and sponge – but I was amazed. I don’t say this lightly – it could have been the most delicious, thirst quenching (what a word to describe cake) pastry I have ever had !
We ordered two slices with two glasses of refreshing iced-tea and that still wasn’t enough for the three of us – K and I were squabbling over the last few crumbs while C looked on indulgently at us tourists – she’s so lucky she gets to have it almost any time !
The vibe at Black Star is – again – Aussie hipster. It was all very deconstructed cool with crates and upcycled benches making up the furniture and barely any seating at all. We were there on a particularly sunny Spring day. It’s located right smack in the middle of too-cool-for-school New Town and be prepared to brave the throng that crowded the tiny cafe for a slice of their cake – but do it, because it’s worth it.
And so pretty to boot ! Lucky me – the lighting was just perfect that day to do justice to the watermelon cake – light pastry cream, crunchy-fluffy pastry layers, and perfect square cubes of juicy-sweet, refreshing watermelon topped with a layer of strawberries, a sprinkling of slivered pistachios and little purple flowers.
If I stayed in Sydney, I would have this for my birthday cake every year.
The three of us also had our faux food critic / Masterchef moments at C’s place post another very delicious fresh seafood dinner enjoyed in their beautiful winter garden – K and I bought back a box of celebrity pastry chef Adriano Zumbo’s much raved about zumbarons as well as a Malt-teaser – this whopping smooth glistening tempered orb of chocolate with untold secrets and we did a taste test. Here’s how it went down:
From right, clockwise starting from the Green One
Apple Pie Zumbaron: This was the most meh out of the lot. We all felt it tasted ok – like apple, a bit like pie but not really, and the bright green color was kind of off-putting.
Bread and Butter Pudding Zumbaron: I really liked this, while C and K thought it was all right. It had good creamy milky overtones just like a well-soaked B&B pudding, and strong hints of vanilla bean and – by some magic, the buttercream tasted exactly like smooth custard.
Salted Popcorn Zumbaron: The most magical of the lot – C says it tasted “ridiculously like salted popcorn but softer”. It even had those crunchy corn bits you get from the heart of kernels which are half popped ! It was buttery, salty, and really fun to eat. Maybe even more fun than eating real pop corn out of a bag because it was the perfect balance between sweet and salty.
Salted Caramel Zumbaron: Tasted more like toffee than caramel, a bit sticky and very chewy – I worried for my fillings. Pierre Herme and Laduree’s versions of salted caramel definitely win the Zumbarons hands down.
Salted Caramel on Toast Zumbaron (yes, there is a difference): Bizarrely (and in a good way) like caramel spread on whole wheat toast ! I kid you not there was even the slightly grittiness that comes with whole meal toast ! And thats when C told me Aussies are mad about their whole meal toast – I felt like I just leveled up on the faux food critic scale. Pregnancy must be doing good things for my palate.
Francesco Brownie Zumbaron: EXACT TASTE OF A BROWNIE. A BROWNIE-RON. Rich, fudgy, and with that light sweetness you only get from the thin paper-like crust on the top. How did he do it? Zumbo must be a wizard.
The Malt and Teaser cake was a hit too – especially with C’s mum, who can’t eat sweet things.
Here’s what goes in – luscious layers of chocolate sabayon mousse, malt dacquoise, which I’m guessing is fancy speak for like a layered meringue, almond crunch, vanilla cremeaux, malt bavarois, and a decadent dark chocolate glaze and salty chocolate sable crumb.
Basically, it tasted like a Malteser – luxed up and fit for adult consumption. We especially loved the salty crumbly biscuit base which cut right through the dark, almost heady chocolate shell. It was very grown up.
Here’s where you can get these amazing desserts:
Black Star Pastry
277 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Adriano Zumbo at The Star
Shop 1, Cafe Court, The Star/80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia