The classic Pavlova is a fantastic cake that is easy to make and taste wonderful. It is a delicate and absolutely fantastic dessert, adaptable to all kinds of fruits, and naturally a gluten-free cake. So, this cake is always a good choice for serving your friends or family who follow a gluten-free diet.
This lovely confection, made of meringue, whipped cream, and fruit, called a Pavlova. The special meringue crispy on the outside and soft inside are fantastic and well suited to softly whipped cream and fresh berries and fruits.
I always have excess egg whites whenever I make my Leche Flan. Therefore I am still in the chase to find recipes where I can use leftover egg whites.
The beauty of a Pavlova is that you can make the meringue base a day or two ahead, then add the whipped cream and fruit an hour before serving.
Bake it before bed, then let it cool in the oven overnight in the oven with the door closed. It may last up to two days, but as it will absorb moisture, it will become less crispy as the long time goes on—Store Pavlova, undecorated, in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Don’t store it in the fridge.
Pavlova is not just an ordinary meringue
Pavlova is a wonderful cake, easy to make, impressive to serve, and always a hit with everyone. The crunchy crusty shell with the soft interior and sweet contracts with the fresh fruit topping.
A real Pavlova must be crunchy crispy on the outside and marshmallow-soft inside. This perfect consistency is achieved by adding a little bit of cornstarch and vinegar to the meringue. Without these ingredients, it is not a Pavlova but a plain meringue.
A little history about Pavlova
Pavlova is a national dessert in New Zealand and Australia. The dessert dates back to approx. 1920 and named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.
Tips ad tricks to Pavlova
- Make sure your stand mixer, hand mixer, or beaters are dry before you start beating egg whites. Moisture stops egg whites aerating, so it may not increase in volume at all, or your meringue may be smaller. Please don’t use a plastic bowl as it retains moisture. It is best to use a metal or glass bowl.
- Don’t allow any egg yolk to spill into the egg white. The tiniest bit of egg yolk in the white can stop the white from aerating.
- Bring eggs to room temperature before separating. Cold egg whites take longer to beat.
- Make Pavlovas on dry days with low humidity and no rain. That is why it is a perfect summer cake. Any moisture in the air can stop your mixture from aerating. Therefore, don’t cook other dishes or boil the kettle when making pavlova. These activities create steam, which adds moisture to the air.
- Use cornstarch and vinegar. These ingredients are vital to the overall result of this recipe. So, don’t omit the cornstarch and vinegar.
- Use caster sugar, if you have. This type of sugar dissolves easily in the foamy mixture.
- Make sure to preheat your oven before you start making the Pavlova, so you can bake the cake right away before it starts melting.
- To avoid the cake sticking into the baking sheet, make sure to use parchment paper for easy removal. You can also drizzle some powdered sugar on the parchment paper if you want.
- The long drying time in the oven is very important. Remember that the cake is not ready when you turn off the oven. It should stand longer in the oven and slowly cool down to get perfect. During this time, the oven must not be opened.
- Top the cake with the fruit that is in session just before serving. Lots of fruit is important as a contrast to the sweet cake.
- One last little good advice: Pavlova is easy to make, but it’s always nice to have tried a recipe before serving for guests. That way, you know how the recipe works with your oven and your mixer.
My Pavlovas may not look perfect, but trust me, it tastes even better than it looks! You can make Pavlovas as big as mine, or they can also serve as mini Pavlova. Or you can also add flavors such as chocolate, ube, or pandan. 😉
I hope you enjoy making this recipe for the Classic Pavlova. Let me know in the comment below.
You will need:
For the Pavlova
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 250 grams granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp cornstarch or powdered sugar, to sprinkle on the baking paper
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
For the toppings
- 140 ml heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp powdered sugar
- 1 handful of raspberry
- 1 handful of strawberry
- 2 kiwi fruits or other fruit of your choice
- a few mint leaves or thin strands of lemon zest for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celcius.
- Draw a circle (I used a deep plate) onto a piece of parchment paper with a pencil or marker pen, then sprinkle some cornstarch or powdered sugar. Place it on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Whip the egg whites until light peaks form and then add sugar gradually over heavy whipping, one tablespoon at a time. When half of the sugar is whipped, add vinegar and cornstarch (and vanilla, if using) and continue to whisk the sugar in. Whisk until all the sugar has dissolved and the mass is thick and shiny. It will take at least 5 minutes using my stand mixer.
- Using a spatula or piping bag, spread the meringue mix to fill the parchment paper’s drawn circle. Make sure the meringue mix is evenly tall.
- Transfer the cake into the preheated oven and bake the Pavlova for 70 to 90 minutes. Do not open the oven during this time.
- When the baking time is up, turn off the oven and allow the Pavlova to cool down in the oven, up to 2 hours or longer, until completely cooled down.
- Transfer the Pavlova carefully to a serving plate.
- Place the chilled heavy whipping cream in a bowl and whisk the cream. While whisking the cream, add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
- Spread the cream on top of the Pavlova and top it with the prepared fruits. Drizzle the lemon strands over the top (if using).
- Serve immediately.
- The cornstarch or powdered sugar reduces the bottom sticking to the baking paper when the bottom is baked.
- As the meringue has to be whipped for a long time, it is advantageous with a mixer. However, if you are patient, you can whip the pulp with an electric whip. It is super important that the bowl you use is spotless and, most of all, metal.