How to Make Pavlova Cake
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Learn how to make homemade pavlova recipe from scratch with simple ingredients. It will always be light and airy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
If you like meringue and marshmallows, a pavlova cake will be a dream come true for you! It is the perfect combination of both. It is so light and crispy, and the fruit topping brings the perfect amount of bright, juicy, and sweet balance. These Easy Meringue Cookies and Lemon Meringue Pie also feature the wonder of light and airy meringue.
What is Pavlova?
Pavlova is a dessert made popular in Australia and New Zealand. It is made by whipping egg whites, and then baking at a low temperature in the oven. This creates a very light, airy texture. It is crispy on the outside and slightly marshmallow like on the inside.
What Is The Difference Between Meringue and Pavlova?
Both desserts are made from beating egg whites. However, meringue is crispy throughout the outside and inside of the cookies or desserts. A pavlova is much like a meringue on the outside, but the inside is softer, and more pillowy, like a marshmallow.
What Are The Three Components of Pavlova?
The meringue cake, whipped cream on top of that, and fresh fruit on top of that. These are the 3 main components of a pavlova.
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How To Make Easy Pavlova Recipe From Scratch?
- Preheat oven.
- Beat egg whites– In a bowl till the whites are foamy and hold soft peaks.
- Add sugar and cornstarch– Do so gradually.
- Mix in vanilla and vinegar– Until stiff peaks form and mixture is no longer gritty.
- Spread mixture– Use a spatula to spread mixture into a 9 inch circle on a large round baking tray, lined with parchment paper.
- Reduce heat– Put tray in oven and immediately reduce the temperature.
- Bake– For 90 minutes. Do not open the oven!
- Turn off oven– When the baking time is over, turn off the oven but don’t open it.
- Let it cool– In the oven and dry out further for 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Top it– Spread whipped cream on top. Add all the fruit toppings. Drizzle warm strawberry jam on top.
- Enjoy!– Serve immediately.
Variations for Pavlova Cake
Individual mini pavlova– Make smaller circles of pavlova on the baking tray to create individual desserts.
Chocolate pavlova– Add a little unsweetened cocoa powder in the mixture.
Lemon pavlova– Use this Lemon Curd in place of whipped cream.
Make a layer cake– This is very similar to a regular cake but instead of a sponge cake, you are using 3 layers of these meringues.
Add color– Use gel coloring rather than liquid food coloring because that prevents the mixture consistency from changing. Use any color you like. Match it with the holidays. E.g. Red and green for Christmas, white and black for Halloween e.t.c.
Flavored pavlova– The sky is the limit here. Use vanilla, peppermint, mint, cinnamon, espresso/coffee, strawberry, raspberry, chocolate, orange and any other flavor you like. You can use extracts or emulsion oils or even ground spices. Just make sure to use the complimentary fruit flavors on top.
Tips And Techniques For Pavlova Cake
Let it dry out properly after you have baked it– If it is not dried, it will become soggy. Some people leave it in the oven to dry over-night.
Why do you need vinegar in pavlova? Why do you need cream of tartar? These are both acids which help to stabilize the egg whites so that they do not collapse. It keeps the protein in the egg whites from sticking together giving us that smooth and stiff consistency.
Why is my pavlova sticky and chewy? The pavlova was exposed to too much moisture. The sugar in this dessert absorbs extra moisture in the air when it is taken out of the oven too fast. Once again, the key is to turn off the heat and leave the pavlova in the oven after it bakes, to prevent it from absorbing any moisture.
Why is my pavlova brown? This means it was baked at a very high temperature or was over-baked.
Why did my pavlova collapse? Why did it crack? This means the pavlova was taken out of the oven right away and cooled off too fast. It needs to cool off nice and slow with the heat turned off and door kept closed. Another reason for cracking is high oven temperature. If the baking temperature is too high, the air bubbles in the mixture expand very quickly causing cracks.
How to tell if pavlova is cooked and baked through? It will be pale and look dry. If you are concerned it isn’t done, just let it sit for an additional hour to dry out. If you stick a toothpick or skewer into the center it will come out with a marshmallow like consistency on it.
Use room temperature egg whites– Because they whip up faster and bigger than cold egg whites.
Can egg yolks be used? No! No egg yolks can be mixed into the egg whites. This will prevent them from whipping into a fluffy stiff mixture.
How to make super fine sugar? Pulse the granulated sugar in a food processor until it’s very fine. This dissolves in the egg white mixture more easily and smoothly.
Don’t open oven until pavlova completely cools– The heat escapes when you open the door and will not dry out the dessert.
Pay fruits dry– This helps to prevent the cake from becoming a soggy mess.
Line baking tray with parchment paper– This is very important because if you don’t line the tray, the cake will stick to the pan and it would be impossible to remove it properly without breaking.
Whipping egg whites is crucial- They must be firm peaks. Don’t over-whip and also, don’t under-whip! Once you get stiff firm peaks, stop mixing!
Storage For Strawberry Pavlova
Can you make pavlova the day before (Make ahead instructions?) Yes, you can make the pavlova cake a day ahead of time. However, do not top it with whipped cream or fruit. Store the meringue cake in an airtight container overnight. Then, top the cake when you are ready to serve it.
How to store leftover pavlova? I do not recommend storing this because it will become very soggy from the whipped cream and fruit topping. It is best served immediately to maintain the integrity of the cake.
More Classic Desserts
- How to Make Nougat
- How to Make Chocolate Fudge (3 Ingredients)
- How to Make Chocolate Bark
- How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- How to Make Flaky Butter Pie Crust
Easy Pavlova Recipe
Learn how to make easy homemade pavlova recipe from scratch with simple ingredients. It's always light and airy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
- 5 Egg whites From large eggs, Room temperature
- 1 cup Superfine sugar Pulse granulated sugar in a food processor
- 2 tsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract Use clear extract to prevent discoloration
- 1 tsp Vinegar
- 1.5 cups Homemade whipped cream
- 1 cup Strawberries Washed, Diced, Patted dry
- 1/2 cup Blueberries Washed, Patted dry
- 2 Kiwis Peeled, Diced
- 2 tbsp Pomegranate seeds Optional
- 1/2-3/4 cup Strawberry jam Warmed in microwave
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites are foamy and hold soft peaks.
Add sugar and cornstarch gradually.
Mix in vanilla extract and vinegar until stiff peaks form and mixture is no longer gritty. Test it by rubbing mixture between 2 fingers.
Use a spatula to spread mixture into a 9 inch circle on a large round baking tray, lined with parchment paper. I highly recommend drawing out a 9 inch circle on the parchment beforehand to make this step easy.
Place tray in oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 240 degrees F.
Bake for 90 minutes. Do not open the oven!
When the baking time is over, turn off the oven but don't open it.
Let it cool in the oven and dry out further for 2-3 hours or overnight.
Spread whipped cream on top.
Add all the fruit toppings (strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, pomegranate seeds).
Drizzle warm strawberry jam on top.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Storing leftovers is not recommended since the toppings will make the meringue base soggy.