The photogenic strawberry watermelon cake, masterminded by Australian Christopher Thé, purports to be Australia’s most photographed slice of cake (if not the whole world, says the patisserie). At Black Star Pastry, which opened its first branch in Sydney in 2008, the signature cake shifts an average of 15,000 slices a week – with up to 4000 slices selling in a single day. According to Thé, the patisserie will sell up to 6000 slices on Christmas Eve.
To prepare for the cake’s Hong Kong arrival at the three-day Taste food festival, a team of three from Sydney have flown over and extra staff have been hired. Black Star Pastry estimates that it will sell 1200 cakes a day to Hong Kongers looking for that perfect Instagram food shot. The pretty cake – which thanks to its Instagram infamy is Black Star Pastry’s most ordered dish – began life as a wedding cake. Each slice is handmade, with two layers of almond dacquoise, rose-scented cream, a slice of watermelon and strawberries. It’s garnished with pistachios and dried rose petals, and all ingredients are locally and seasonally sourced.
‘Before Instagram, the strawberry watermelon was a popular cake but it didn’t have that buzz behind it. Then we started to get busier and busier, with lines running down the street, and we can pretty much correlate that to the time that Instagram took off,’ Thé says. Thé adds that ‘Hong Kong would be a great match’ for a future Black Star Pastry. ‘Taste gives us the opportunity to meet the locals and we hope that they would love us as much as we would love them,’ says Thé.
Black Star Pastry, which now has four outlets in Sydney and sells other baked goods including brownies, tarts and croissants, first opened as a boutique patisserie in Newton, Sydney. Thanks to the widespread fame of the award-winning strawberry watermelon cake, Black Star Pastry now has more than 76,000 followers on Instagram, with the majority of followers from Australia, followed by the USA, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Meanwhile, the patisserie is gearing up to launch a dragon cake this weekend, using slices of dragonfruit as a topping rather than strawberry.
Words: Cathy Adams