This pavlova cake features three layers of pavlova filled and topped with fresh whipped cream and berries. A lovely and light summer dessert!
Have you ever had pavlova? It’s a meringue dessert that hails from Australia or New Zealand (depending on who you ask), and it is utterly fabulous. Also, it is ridiculously easy to make!
My sister’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago and when I asked what she’d like for dessert to celebrate, she sent me a Facebook video of what appeared to be layers of meringue with whipped cream and berries (it wasn’t in English). She thought it looked light and airy and something different from traditional birthday cake. It might look intimidating, but you can whip it up with just a hand mixer (or some serious elbow grease) and a couple of bowls. My kind of low-maintenance dessert!
I first made a traditional pavlova years ago and immediately fell in love with it. The outside is super crisp and light, while the inside is soft and light, almost like whipped marshmallow. They are traditionally served with fresh whipped cream and fruit, and make the perfect dessert when you want something just slightly sweet and light, which makes it a phenomenal summer dessert.
The recipe I used here is adapted from the one I shared all those years ago. Since posting it, some have reported having issues with the egg whites never getting to stiff peaks, and I realized it had to do with adding the sugar all at once, and not gradually. Fixed!
One of my best friends in high school had ANOTHER best friend who was originally from Australia, and this is her mom’s recipe.
Authentic regional family recipe? My heart skipped a beat!
I used fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries since they’re all fantastic right now, but feel free to use whatever kind of fruit you’d like! In the past, I’ve topped pavlovas with kiwi, blackberries, mango, as well as more berries.
Ironically, when I went back to that post I did years ago, I mentioned that my sister tried the pavlova and liked it so much she said she might request it for her birthday cake. I don’t think she ever did that year, but apparently life has come full circle, ha!
If you need a dessert for Mother’s Day or a special summer occasion (or no occasion at all!), give this pavlova cake a whirl… you’ll love it!
Make the Pavlova: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw three 8-inch circles on the parchment paper (I traced 8-inch parchment rounds, but you could cake pans or anything else about the same diameter). Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, then add the cream of tartar. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat to soft peaks. While continuing to beat the egg whites, gradually add the granulated sugar (I estimate that I added about 3 tablespoons at a time) and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form. Divide the meringue evenly between the three circles and use an offset spatula to form a circular shape.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
Make the Whipped Cream: Place the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat on medium-high speed until it holds soft peaks.
Assemble the Cake: Very gently lift one of the pavlova layers off of the parchment paper and place on a serving plate. Top with one-third of the whipped cream, and sprinkle with a mixture of raspberries, blueberries, and chopped strawberries (I didn't measure how much I used, feel free to use a little or a lot!). Gently place another pavlova layer on top of the fruit, spread another one-third of the whipped cream and sprinkle with fruit. Finally, top with the last pavlova layer, remaining whipped cream and more fruit. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Feel free to use whatever kind of fruit you like best!