I have been obsessed with making meringue lately! It doesn’t require many ingredients, but just patience for the long baking time. Which, we all have right now as we shelter in place and keep our social distance.
Over the past couple months I have made more batches of meringue than I can eat! For my birthday this past week, on March 25th, I had started thinking about what kind of cake I wanted to make myself. Usually Mimi bakes me something, but with everything going on right now that wasn’t necessary. Since I am at home taking care of my family and staying healthy, while 7 months pregnant, I knew I’d be making my own birthday cake this year!
Growing up as a little girl I actually did not like cake. I didn’t like cake until I found Dessert’D Organic Bakeshop in 2015! Year after year my mom bought me a fruit tart from a local bakery for my birthday. I would wake up on my birthday morning and my mom had set the kitchen table with a tablecloth and balloons. On that table was a fruit tart, which I ate for breakfast. And when I became an adult, I rarely had cake on my birthday until I started at the bakery. And usually it’s because Mimi is making me delicious gluten free cakes! Check out some of my past birthday cakes, like my Blueberry Passion Fruit Cake or my Lavender Lemon Sage Cupcakes.
So this year I immediately knew what I wanted to make, a traditional berry pavlova cake. It is naturally gluten free, light and airy, and filled with whipped cream and berries. It’s not that different from a tart which has a crust, custard, and fruit on top. To make a pavlova cake you start by making a meringue cake as the base. Then when that has cooled completely you fill it with fresh made whipped cream and top with your favorite fruit. It’s actually really simple and easy to make for any event or party. And they look really impressive for being made up of just a few simple ingredients! Get the recipe for my Birthday Pavlova Cake below.
Makes 8-inch Cake
4 organic large eggs whites, room temperature
226 grams (1 cup) organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
1 pint organic heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
organic kiwis organic raspberries organic blackberries organic strawberries
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 250°F. Begin with a clean, dry mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. Make sure the mixing bowl is free of any grease, oils, or yolks as this will deflate the meringue. Add the egg whites to the mixing bowl. Start mixing on low while adding the vanilla and cornstarch. Gradually turn the mixer up as the egg whites become frothy and very slowly add the cane sugar. Continue to gradually increase the speed until it is at full speed. Whip until you have stiff and shiny peaks.
While the mixer is going, on a piece of parchment paper, trace an 8-inch circle in the center. Flip the parchment paper over on a baking sheet so the ink side is down.
When the meringue has formed stiff peaks use a spatula or spoon to place all of the meringue inside the 8-inch circle. Form into a round shape using the circle as your guide. Then create a shallow crater in the center, leaving a boarder.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then turn off the oven and let the meringue cool inside the oven for a couple hours. This helps to prevent it from cracking.
To make the Whipped Cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the heavy whipping cream, cane sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk starting on low, then gradually increase the speed as the cream begins to thicken, until you are at full speed. Whisk until stiff peaks form.
Pile all the whipped cream onto the top of the cake into the crater. Top with fresh fruit of your choice! I prefer to top it with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and kiwi. I even leave the kiwi skin on! Did you know that the skin of a kiwi is edible? It is very high in fiber, higher than the fruit flesh itself. At home we eat them like you would eat an apple with the skin. Serve immediately.
Store in the fridge (though the texture is not quite the same once stored in the fridge). So this is not the best cake to prepare ahead of a party. Make sure to make this cake when you can eat it right away.
High Altitude - Bake at 250°F for 1 hour 40 minutes.