In case you've never heard of a pavlova, it's simply a meringue cake. It's light, airy, and extremely versatile. It's similar to a crunchy meringue cookie but also has that chewy-ness of a macaron. I love it because it's completely grain and gluten free, plus you can show off your mean piping skills. This is a semi-technical cake however because egg whites can be somewhat finicky.
4 egg whites
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp corn starch
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C nutella
1 c whipping cream (or heavy cream)
1 tbsp instant vanilla pudding
1 tbsp confectioners sugar
You'll also need
Pencil and Cake Pan
Optional: Piping bag with star tip
Offset spatula or knife
Step 1: Egg White Etiquette
Separate your egg whites from the yolk and put the to the side. When whipping egg whites you must be certain not to get any egg yolk mixed in or they will not whip properly.
We must also make sure that there is no fat whatsoever in our mixing bowl or utensils. I like to take a half of lemon and rub the inside of the bowl as well as the mixing beaters. This cuts the fat and ensures that your whites will have a better chance of getting full body.
Place the egg whites in your mixing bowl, and add cream of tartar. Your egg whites should be room temperature as this ensures that the proteins will be build up and air will be incorporated during the mixing process, cream of tartar also helps with this step.
Whisk the egg whites until you reach a soft peak. At this point you can add the sugar a little bit at a time while mixing until you begin to reach firm peaks. As soon as you do, turn off the mixer and begin folding in the cocoa powder and corn starch in increments of three. It's important not to stir, as we don't want to deflate our beautiful clouds, so make sure to "cut" down the center with a rubber spatula preferably, then fold to the center. Do this until the cocoa powder is fully incorporated. Lastly add the vinegar and vanilla.
Step 2: Pavlova Mix
With a pencil, trace a cake pan (whatever size you need) onto a sheet of parchment. Make two circle templates and then flip the parchment so that the pencil marks are on the other side (no lead in the cake). Then, secure the parchment onto a sheet pan by putting a small amount of the pavlova mixture under the four corners.
Fill the circle templates with a dollop of the pavlova mixture and smooth completely with a spatula or knife. Make sure to keep the edges round and within the template.
You can then fill a piping bag with a star tip and your pavlova mix. Pipe a beautiful shell border around the edge of the circle for added decoration..
Bake in a preheated 190 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.
Step 3: Whipped Cream Goodness
Carefully begin to remove the wax paper from the pavlova. Then sit back onto the sheet tray.
Melt down 1/2 cup of nutella in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Drizzle this over the pavlova layers.
Cut a few strawberries in various ways.
The perfect topping for this cake is a simple whipped cream. To make sure that it held up throughout dinner and dessert I used my favorite stabilized whipped cream. Simply mix 1 cup of heavy cream ,1 tbsp of instant vanilla pudding and 1 tbsp of confectioners sugar in a bowl until stiff peaks form. The gelatin proteins adds stability to the whipped cream which makes it last much longer - it also adds a wonderful french vanilla flavor. Don't' over whisk or you will have a sweet french vanilla butter....which doesn't sound too bad. Maybe for another recipe.
Step 4: Finite!!!
Place one of layer of pavlova onto your serving dish, then spread with whipped cream, top with strawberries, then the next pavlova layer. Lastly of course, top with more whipped cream and strawberries. And you are done!!!
**As a bonus treat ,I made loads of mini pavlovas. They were between 3 and 4 inches in size. As you expected I just made small dollops of the pavlova mixture onto my sheet tray and baked for 45 minutes. They were amazing!!!