Recipe: Fourth of July Pavlova Cake

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Fourth of July is definitely my favorite holiday. I love the parades, the barbeques, the fireworks, and the time spent celebrating with family and friends. Since it is technically a birthday celebration (Happy 240th, America!), our new family tradition for dessert is to serve cake! Last year I served up a traditional layer cake with frosting, but I wanted to try something different. Something (slightly) healthier. Something more colorful.

Something like Pavlova Cake!

Pavlova is a dessert consisting of a wide, flat disc of meringue (basically a huge meringue cookie) that is covered in whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit. While the original is traditionally only one layer, I decided to go with the whole “birthday cake” theme and stack it up to create a Pavlova Cake. Layers of meringue, whipped cream, and fresh berries create a beautiful and light dessert, with all the colors of our amazing flag! A perfect homage to our country on its birthday.

This is how you make it.

It starts with the meringue discs. I recommend taking the time to prep all the ingredients before starting so you can move smoothly through the process.

Start by preheating your oven to 250 degrees. Then draw two circles (about 6-7” in diameter) in pencil on a piece of parchment paper–I used one of my circular casserole dishes as a template. Flip the parchment over (because no one wants to eat pencil!) and place the parchment on a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet aside.

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In a bowl, combine 1 cup of superfine sugar (1 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar processed in a food processor for 30 seconds) and a bit of cornstarch. Whisk well to combine and set aside.

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In a small ramekin, combine some white vinegar and some vanilla extract. Set aside.

Now that we have all the  “add-in” ingredients assembled, we can start making the meringue.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 4 egg whites and a pinch of salt. Start to beat the egg whites on a low speed, gradually working towards medium speed. When you look into the bowl of the mixer and see small, even bubbles forming  (it looks like the egg whites are only foam) start sprinkling in the sugar/cornstarch mix one tablespoon at a time.

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When the sugar is all added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and then add the vinegar/vanilla mixture. Continue to beat on medium-high until the meringue is shiny and stiff peaks form.

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Either spoon or pipe the meringue evenly into each circle, leaving a small divot in the middle to hold the fruit and cream. I did both methods and I found that it was easier for me to pipe the meringue (put meringue into a zip-top baggie, cut off a corner and pipe away!) into the circles but if you want a more “free-form” looking pavlova, use a spoon!
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Bake the meringue circles at 250 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then turn off the oven, crack the oven door open, and let the circles cool in the oven for one hour. You can make the meringue circles earlier in the day and store them in an air-tight container until dessert time!

Then it’s time to assemble. Grab a pretty cake plate (it is a birthday cake, after all!) and place the first meringue circle on the plate. Add a portion of lightly whipped cream to the middle of the circle. Spread the cream out evenly over the meringue.Then layer on sliced strawberries in a shingle pattern.

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Top with the second meringue disc and add another portion of whipped cream. Top this layer with fresh blueberries.

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Then dig in! I did top mine with some sparkler candles for a festive edge… totally optional! I hope you enjoy this festive cake!

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Check out more of Catherine’s delicious recipes by visiting Simply A (RD) Foodie and come back here every Wednesday for new recipes!

Recipe: Fourth of July Pavlova Cake

Total Time: 3 hours

Serves: 8

Ingredients

    For the meringue:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the whipped cream:
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • For the fruit:
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries

Instructions

    For the meringue:
  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Outline two circles (6-7” in diameter) on a piece of parchment paper using a pencil. FLIP the parchment over and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine superfine sugar and cornstarch. Whisk to combine thoroughly. If you don’t have superfine sugar, no worries. Toss 1 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds and then you have superfine sugar!
  3. In a small ramekin, combine vinegar and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 4 egg whites and a pinch of salt. Start to beat the egg whites on a low speed, gradually working towards medium speed. When you look into the bowl of the mixer and see small, even bubbles forming (it looks like the egg whites are only foam), start sprinkling in the sugar/cornstarch mix one tablespoon at a time.
  5. When the sugar is all added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and then add the vinegar/vanilla mixture. Continue to beat on medium-high until the meringue is shiny and stiff peaks form.
  6. Either spoon or pipe the meringue evenly into each circle, leaving a small divot in the middle to hold the fruit and cream. I did both methods and I found that it was easier for me to pipe the meringue (put meringue into a zip-top baggie, cut off a corner and pipe away!) into the circles but if you want a more “free-form” looking pavlova, use a spoon!
  7. Bake the meringue circles at 250 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then turn off the oven, crack the oven open, and let the circles cool in the oven.
  8. When the meringues are cool, remove from the oven and set aside. They can be made ahead and stored in an air-tight container until you’re ready to assemble!
  9. For the whipped cream:
  10. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine heavy whipping cream and sugar. Beat cream on medium-high speed until just becoming stiff.
  11. To assemble:
  12. Layer one meringue circle on a cake stand.
  13. Add half the whipped cream onto the middle of the circle and spread it out evenly to the edge. Layer on sliced strawberries, making sure they overhang a bit.
  14. Add the second meringue circle. Dollop the second half of the whipped cream onto the circle. Layer on fresh blueberries.
  15. Serve it up to family and friends immediately! Enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 260 | Fat: 17gm | Saturated fat: 10gm | Carbohydrates: 26gm | Sodium: 117mg | Fiber: 0gm | Protein: 3gm | Cholesterol: 61mg

http://im-perfectmagazine.com/recipe-fourth-of-july-pavlova-cake/

Recipe lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Our Writers

Catherine is a registered dietitian, whose love of all things food and cooking started during her study abroad in Italy. She believes that all foods fit into a healthy diet (even chocolate cake), food tastes better when you cook it yourself, and that a well-stocked pantry is a lifesaver. Check her out at Simply a (RD) Foodie.

1 Comment

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