Luscious Pavlova

Wondering what cake to have on your wedding day?

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Why not a pavlova? After all, it is one of Australia’s favourite desserts! Never mind the long-standing debate about whether Australia or New Zealand invented the recipe. What’s important is we know that this fabulous cake was named in honour of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited both countries in 1926 on her world tour.

For the uninitiated, a pavlova is a meringue cake with a delicate, crisp crust and a soft, marshmallow-like center. This would be fantastic for an intimate, informal wedding where you’re not too keen on having your cake all perfectly done up. A pavlova has that charming homemade look about it, with all the peaks and cracks of the meringue showing, the whipped cream all fluffed up, and the fruit piled on top of the cream.

Here are two recipes for a classic pavlova and a chocolate-flavored one. And you can have two options: one large cake or many cute little pavlovas for each of the guests.

Stephanie Alexander’s Pavlova

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Ingredients:

4 egg whites

pinch of salt

250g castor sugar

2 teaspoons corn flour

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

few drops of vanilla extract

300ml cream

Fruit to preference (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, passion fruit, or pomegranate)

Method:

Preheat over to 180°C. Beat egg whites and salt until soft, satiny peaks form. Beat in sugar, a third at a time, until stiff and shiny. Sprinkle in corn flour, vinegar, and vanilla extract, and fold lightly.

Spread onto baking paper within 20cm radius circle and smooth tops and sides. Place in over and reduce temperature to 150°C. Bake for 1 – 1.15 hours (depending on your oven). Turn oven off and leave to cool completely. Turn upside down and top with whipped cream and fruit.

Recipe via LifeStyled

Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

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Ingredients:

For the chocolate meringue base:

6 egg whites

300g caster sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved

1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar

50g dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the topping:

500ml double cream

500g raspberries

2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated dark chocolate

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2 and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.

3. When you’re ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don’t want the raspberries’ luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate’s rim.

Recipe via Nigella.com

{First image via Papa Bun; second image via LifeStyled; third image via What Katie Ate}

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“I’m Marcela, an Aussie expat living in Hong Kong. This space is where I share my love for weddings and bits and pieces from my family’s life and adventures. I love celebrating weddings, motherhood, family, travel and life’s simple joys.”