Friday, May 23, 2014

Fresh Watermelon Cake


I'm not really sure who came up with the idea for this cake, but I love everything about it. I've seen a few versions floating around the web and with Memorial Day weekend coming up, I decided it was time to try it for myself.

The best part about it is that you only need three ingredients to make it (okay, four if I'm being picky). It's delicious, and even more so now because juicy watermelons are ripe and readily available at the grocery store. It is so easy to make and highly summer cookout appropriate. And if you're like me, you occasionally enjoy faking people out, especially at family gatherings. Leave the  melon balls of the top of the cake and no one will be the wiser!  


The frosting is heavy whipping cream beaten with granulated sugar. I added vanilla bean to the party because I knew it would be delicious. And it is. I've seen versions of this using tubs of frozen whipped topping, so you could use that too and make even shorter work of building the cake. I recommend the homemade whipped topping, though. Everything tastes so fresh and lovely.


Cutting the watermelon to shape was easier than I thought. Just cut the top and bottom of the melon off flat, and then carve the rind away. The shape doesn't have to be anywhere near perfect, just do the best you can. The whipped cream will camouflage an uneven surface.



You can make this cake as large or small as your party dictates (or that the available produce will allow), but you'll need to adjust your whipped cream topping accordingly. This watermelon was about 7 pounds before carving, and 2 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream covered it well. It's actually better to have too much whipped cream than too little, since it is instrumental in smoothing an uneven carving job.

Hope you all have a happy Memorial Day weekend! 

Edit 5/25/14: I was talking to the cashier at Trader Joe's about this cake, and she makes it vegan with coconut whipped cream - great tip!

Fresh Watermelon Cake
[click for printable version]
Yields 12 servings
Prep: 30 minutes, total time about 45 minutes

7- 10 pound whole seedless watermelon
2 1/2 cups/580g heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup/50g sugar
Seeds from one vanilla bean
Mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
  1. Using a large sharp knife, cut the top and bottom off of the watermelon flat and save the ends for later use. Turn the watermelon upright and carve away the rind in downward strips until all of the green and white pith is removed and you're left with a red, ripe center. Carve away small pieces from the sides and top until the center is roughly cake-shaped.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream on high speed with an electric hand mixer until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, and then the vanilla bean seeds. Beat until the mixture is thick and spreadable, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the watermelon to a cake stand or serving plate and pat the outside with paper towels to remove excess water. Spread the whipping cream over the entire surface of the watermelon. Use a melon baller to cut round pieces of melon from the two reserved ends. Place them on the top center of the cake and garnish with mint sprigs, if using.
  4. Store the cake in the refrigerator.


PS. The adorable little red bicycle is a cake topper and can be found at Hey Yo Yo!


41 comments:

Cookbook Queen said...

I just saw this for the first time yesterday...I love it!! SO so gorgeous and easy.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So pretty! A great idea.

Cheers,

Rosa

June said...

Wow, what a creative use for watermelon! This is probably the freshest and juiciest cake I've ever seen! ;)

Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen said...

My birthday is in July and THIS looks just perfect for watermelon season. Absolutely gorgeous!

ymme said...

Origineel, mooi en zo gezond!
groetjes,
Ymme

Ale said...

Amazing!!!

Catherine said...

That is beautiful!! What a great idea and so pretty to serve for a picnic! Blessings, Catherine

crumbsoflove said...

I LOVE this idea!

Katie @ Butterlust said...

this is genius!! as soon as summer starts I eat about a watermelon a week so I'm going to have to try this!

Heather Scholten said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) said...

This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen!! :)

decocinasytacones said...

WOW TRULY!!!, I have never seen anything like this...CONGRATULATIONS and thanks for sharing.
Love from the north of Spain (Basque country)
Marialuisa

Tattooed Martha said...

Beautiful! And so creative!

Judith Q Stewart said...

Brilliant ,

Anonymous said...

Does the watermelon juice and whipped cream start to react and slide off eventually? I'm wondering how long this can be stored in the fridge ahead of time and at the table?...would be fun to bring to my bunco club.

donna said...

Amazing… once again!

Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts said...

This is stunning!! This looks perfect for a Memorial Day picnic!!

aida mollenkamp said...

I love this idea! Can't wait to give it a go!

Heather Baird said...

@anonymous - This cake has been in the refrigerator for two days and the whipped cream is still on. Just be sure to pat the surface of the watermelon dry before you frost. When you cut the cake, there will be a little water pool around the bottom, but that's normal. It doesn't affect the whipped topping. I'm not sure what the results with a ready made product like Cool Whip would be, but the homemade whipped cream made from heavy cream holds up great.

Xochi said...

This looks amazing! Heather, I was just about to ask that question, I was sure the watermelon would sweat and all that lovely frosting would slide off. I am DEFINITELY making this for a BBQ tomorrow! :) Thanks for the sweet inspiration!

MonkeyPants said...

Love your blog & recipes! I have to ask... Is the bike just a cute prop or is there a story?

Molly Doughvelopment said...

So beautiful and summery! Would love to fake people out with it!

prachi agarwal said...

its awesome............

Alida Ryder said...

So gorgeous but I have to say, I can't think that my family will be too chuffed if I bring a watermelon out when they are expecting cake. ;) However, I would still make this over and over again. Can only imagine how refreshing and light it must be!

Michal said...

Wow that's amazing

Jacquee said...

Totally fresh!!

Jessica Holmes said...

Gorgeous! Only you could make a watermelon look that good Heather!

Danielle Doerr said...

This cake is absolutely gorgeous!

Debby Foodiewife said...

I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was so clever. Leave it to you to step it up even nicer. It's a great idea, that my boys would love. No matter how hard I try, I don't like watermelon. Still, it's a great idea for a BBQ gathering and dessert. Bravo!

Laurie said...

Completely awesome. Your Biggest Fan, my daughter Maaike, will be right on it. xoxo, Laurie and Maaike

Medeja said...

I have seen this idea somewhere before! And I love it!

Sue said...

I absolutley LOVE watermelon and have been known to have a big wedge as the sole food item for lunch and dinner:) This cake is a dream come true! :)

Coco Cake Land said...

this is the COOOOOOLEST! ice cold watermelon was my number one brutal craving when i was pregs with my son - i would've devoured every fresh watermelon cake i could get my hands on! love this, and all of your ideas of course, heather! xo

Anonymous said...

This is great! I make watermelon salads and think I would have to add fresh, finely chopped mint to the whipped cream for an additional fresh taste combination. Thanks!

sumbum said...

do you think making the whipped cream with vanilla extract would work just as well?

Fabuloos Dreams said...

Such a great idea!! It looks fabulous!!!

Miss Kim said...

Beautiful!! Love that little bike in the pic.

Alycia Larson said...

Does this cake need be eaten right away? There is so much moisture in watermelon that I picture it acting like it is melting almost from all the moisture coming from the watermelon.

Looks delicious!

Heather Baird said...

Hi Alycia!

You can frost it a few hours ahead of time. My cake did not seep water at all before it was cut. After you cut the watermelon cake then water will start to puddle around the bottom. I had to pour the water off of the cake stand once because we didn't eat it all the first day, and overnight in the refrigerator the uneaten portion had seeped water. Oddly enough, the moisture didn't affect the whipped cream though. I know it sounds bizarre and a lot of people are skeptical that the whipped cream stays put, but it does!

Tracy said...

I'm so intrigued by this cake! I've never seen one before and I, too, had that fear of the whipped cream sliding off. I've always used powdered sugar when making whipped cream to avoid the grittiness of regular sugar. I'm so excited to try your recipe! Thanks so much for sharing Ü

Laura Barajas said...

I really like the idea to use real whipped cream and mint as a garnish. I think mint and watermelon are best friends! I will have to try this next time.

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