Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

Easy Pavlova Recipe

This easy Pavlova recipe is perfect for beginners! Equipped with my time-tested tips and tricks, you too can make an impressive Pavlova right in your kitchen.

This classic meringue-based cake is light, airy and absolutely delicate dessert that never fails to impress.

This classic meringue-based cake is light, airy and absolutely delicate dessert that never fails to impress. #pavlovacake

Back in 2013, I made my first Pavlova cake for Mother’s Day for my now mother-in-law. It was such a big hit and I loved it so much so I had to bake another one for myself that same night. And it’s still one of my favorite desserts of all time!

Since then, I’ve made countless Pavlovas (including these mini Pavlovas and chocolate Pavlova) and in the process, I’ve learned lots of tips and tricks for a perfect cake.

And if you’re looking for an easy Pavlova recipe with a proven result, you’re in the right place!

This easy Pavlova recipe is perfect for beginners! Equipped with my time-tested tips and tricks, you too can make an impressive Pavlova right in your kitchen.

What is Pavlova cake?

Pavlova is a delicate meringue-based cake, typically topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits. It’s named after a famous Russian ballerina, but the origin of this cake brings a heated debacle between Australia and New Zealand to this day.

Pavlova cake is effortlessly stunning, just like a ballerina, and such a classic dessert that never fails to impress!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS EASY PAVLOVA RECIPE:

Delicately crisp on the outside and soft and marshmallow-y on the inside, a classic Pavlova is all about a perfect contrast of textures and flavors.

That’s why, my goal was to highlight the contrast of sweet and sour, crisp and fluffy. 

  • Whipped cream infused with lemon curd, or any citrus curd, balances the sweetness of meringue cake.
  • And assortment of fresh fruits brings a texture and flavor contrast that compliments the soft and fluffy texture!

PAVLOVA CAKE INGREDIENTS:

The good news is that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make Pavlova. Some are optional, but some are not. So let’s dive into the details…

  • Egg whites – Make sure to carefully separate the egg whites from yolks. You don’t want any yolks in the whites, or your egg whites won’t whip into fluffy white meringue with hard peaks.
  • Sugar – Sugar is an essential ingredient for proper structure of the cake. Sugar stabilizes the egg whites, creating a nice and strong meringue. Reducing the sugar amount will compromise the end result! And please use superfine sugar, or caster sugar, as it easily dissolves into the egg whites.
  • Cornstarch – It’s what makes the cake fluffy soft, marshmallow-y in the middle.
  • Cream of Tartar – Cream of tartar is a dry acid, and it helps to stabilize the meringue. Again, it’s all about that structure!!! You can actually use either cream of tartar or white vinegar, or both like I do.
  • White Vinegar – White vinegar is optional, but I’ve always added both cream of tartar and white vinegar in my Pavlovas. Don’t worry, you  won’t taste the vinegar.  
  • Vanilla Extract – This’s not an essential ingredient, and it’s here for flavor! I use this homemade vanilla extract.

TIP: It’s easier to separate cold eggs, but room temperature egg whites whip better and faster. 

Simple ingredients for an impressive dessert. Classic Pavlova cake is an easy dessert that never fails to impress. #Pavlovacake

HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY PAVLOVA RECIPE

Pavlova is an easy dessert to make, and mostly hands-off. The meringue base can be made, and recommended, a day or two in advance, but it’s important to assemble the cake right before serving.

Crisp shell doesn’t tolerate humidity, and if you frost the cake with whipped cream, it needs to be refrigerated and that’ll ruin the delicate crisp texture.

HOW TO MAKE PAVLOVA BATTER:

To make the meringue batter:

  1. Whip the egg whites until foamy. Then whisk in cream of tartar and salt.
  2. Meanwhile, combine sugar and cornstarch together.
  3. Slowly add sugar/cornstarch mixture a tablespoon at a time, making sure sugar is dissolved after each addition.
  4. Once the meringue reach soft peak stage, fold in white vinegar and vanilla extract. 

That’s it! It’s super easy to make the batter…

Step by step easy Pavlova recipe with time-tested tips and tricks. #pavlovacake

HOW TO SHAPE PAVLOVA CAKE:

Now that we have our meringue batter, let’s shape our Pavlova. This’s the most fun step, in my opinion. Get creative!

  1. On a parchment paper, draw an 8-inch circle and flip it so the ink is on other side. Place the parchment paper on a baking sheet, flipped upside down.
  2. Pour the meringue on the prepared parchment paper inside the circle.
  3. Using a silicone spatula, shape the meringue, making sure to create a small crate on top. This is where we’ll fill with whipped cream and fruits.
  4. Bake the Pavlova in preheat oven. Then turn off the oven and let the cake cool inside the oven.

TIP: Turning the baking sheet upside down helps to transfer the baked Pavlova easily.

How to shape Pavlova cake, step by step. #pavlovacake

HOW TO ASSEMBLE PAVLOVA CAKE:

It’s best to assemble Pavlova cake right before serving.

  1. Carefully transfer the meringue cake onto a serving platter.
  2. Whip heavy whipping cream with sugar and lemon curd until soft peaks.
  3. Pick assortment of fresh fruits with different sweetness/tartness level. Prep them by washing and slicing, if needed.
  4. Spread the whipped cream on Pavlova base and then arrange the fruits on top.

It's best to assemble Pavlova cake right before serving for the best result. #pavlova

Pavlova Topping Ideas:

While whipped cream and fresh fruits are classic toppings, you can go wild with toppings.

Here’re just a few ideas:

  • Drizzle fruit sauce, like raspberry sauce over the whipped cream.
  • Chocolate ganache is also divine!
  • Lemon curd, or any citrus curd, make a stunning addition.
  • Pair sour fruits, like kiwi, passion fruit, blood oranges, with sweet ones like mango, berries, cherries, peaches, etc.
  • Chocolate shaving, citrus zest (lime, orange), fresh herbs (mint, basil, etc) make a pretty presentation!

4 TIPS FOR PERFECT PAVLOVA CAKE:

  • Make sure to use clean, grease-free bowl and whisk to whip the meringue. And be careful not to include even the smallest egg yolk, as it’ll prevent the egg whites to whip.
  • Room temperature egg whites whip better and get more volume.
  • Cool the cake slowly in the oven for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to prevent cracking.
  • Choose a flat serving platter, as it’s easier to slide the cake base without cracking the delicate shell.

FAQ AND TROUBLESHOOTING PAVLOVA CAKE

Why my Pavlova cake cracked?

  • Pavlova cake cracks when cooled too rapidly. Therefore, cool it slowly in the oven.

Why my Pavlova cake collapse?

Pavlova may collapse if the shell cracks too much for various reasons. Cracks are totally fine and natural, because the shell is so delicate, but if not careful a small crack could lead to complete collapse.

  • Make sure to make a small well on top when shaping your cake. This will create a nice area for whipped cream frosting and toppings. Without this well, the sides may collapse if the delicate shell cracks.
  • Also avoid putting too much topping around the edges.

Can I make Pavlova day before?

  • Yes, absolutely. It’s actually ideal to make the Pavlova base a day in advance to give it plenty of time to cool slowly.

Can you leave Pavlova in the oven overnight?

  • Yes, oven is the best place to store Pavlova shell, as it’s cool and dry. I usually make Pavlova in the evening and leave it overnight until ready to frost and decorate.

What vinegar do you use for Pavlova?

  • Any kind of vinegar will do: white distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even lemon juice. However, if you’re out of any vinegar, you may omit it altogether!

This classic meringue-based cake is light, airy and absolutely delicate dessert that never fails to impress.

HOW TO STORE PAVLOVA:

  • Store naked Pavlova shell in a cool, dry place, like an oven for up to 2 days.

It’s best to frost and decorate Pavlova right before serving, or a few hours prior at the most.

Refrigerate leftover Pavlova cake and eat it within 24 hours. Or the crisp shell loses its delicate texture and becomes sticky and gummy.

  • Pavlova cake doesn’t freeze well.
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Easy Pavlova Recipe

This easy Pavlova recipe is perfect for beginners! Equipped with my time-tested tips and tricks, you too can make an impressive Pavlova right in your kitchen.

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time:20 minutes

Cook Time:90 minutes

Total Time:4 hours (Includes chilling time)

Ingredients:

For cake base:

  • 1 ¼ cups (250gr) superfine sugar (Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar, or white wine vinegar, optional

For whipped cream:

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • Assortment of sweet and tart fruits, like berries, kiwi,

Directions:

  1. Draw 8-inch circle on a parchment paper and place it ink side down on a baking sheet, turned upside down.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
  3. To make the batter: whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, or using handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy.
  5. Stir in cream of tartar and salt and continue to beat on medium speed.
  6. Slowly add sugar/cornstarch mixture one tablespoon at a time, while mixer is still running on medium speed. Continue to beat the egg whites until hard peaks form. The mixture will look smooth and shiny.
  7. Add vanilla extract and vinegar, and gently fold the mixture with a spatula.
  8. To shape the cake: transfer the batter onto the prepared parchment paper inside the circle. Using a spatula smooth the shell and make a shallow well on top.
  9. To bake: bake the cake for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and let it cool for at least 2 hours. You can leave it overnight.
  10. To make the whipped cream: beat the heavy cream with sugar and vanilla extract on medium speed until nice and thick . Keep a close eye on it. Don’t over-whip the cream, or you will start making butter.
  11. To assemble the cake: when you are ready to serve, gently run a long offset spatula on the bottom of the cake to separate from the parchment paper. Using a large cake lifter, carefully transfer the cake to a serving platter. (TIP: Choose a flat serving platter for easy transfer and to avoid cracking the shell.)
  12. Spread the whipped cream filling over the top of the cake and top with fresh fruits.

Note 1: Superfine sugar, or caster sugar, easily dissolves into the egg whites.

All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory

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All photographs and content on Sweet & Savory by Shinee is copyright protected, unless otherwise noted. Please do not use any of my photos without my authorization. If you would like to share my recipe, you may re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the full directions. Thank you for your cooperation!

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51 comments

  1. didn’t work. my batter never formed into peaks.

    Rating: 2
  2. This is a great recipe! I followed it exactly and it turned out beautifully. I topped with whipped cream and fresh, local strawberries, storing leftovers wasn’t a problem as there weren’t any 😉

    Rating: 5
  3. For baking two in the oven at once would I want to put them both at the same level and rotate halfway or put one on the rack below the other and should I still switch halfway through or does that not matter?

    Rating: 5
    • Hi, Hannah. I’ve never baked 2 Pavlovas at once, but for best air circulation, I advice to place one baking sheet per rack. Hope it turns out great for you. Merry Christmas!!

  4. Could I bake this in a springform pan and if so what size?

    • Julie, so sorry for late response. You don’t need any form for this cake. I’ve never tried baking it in springform pan, and no idea how it’ll work though.

  5. I saw this on Pinterest and thought hmm looks familiar..turns out this is the recipe I used to make two big pavlovas for my hubby’s birthday two years ago! They turned out so perfect I still remember how light and soft they were on the inside! And it was my first try! I wish I had pictures …

    Rating: 5
  6. I tried it for a first time but it turned out soft and not crunchy. What did I miss? I followed the recipe just replaced tartar with lemon juice. Thanks

    • Hi, Vilma. Hope you didn’t adjust the sugar amount in the recipe, because sugar is not just a sweetener, it also helps to make that crisp crust. I know you said you didn’t alter the recipe, but I just wanted to point that out. And how much lemon juice did you use? Also did you cool the Pavlova in the oven? Did it come out of the oven with soft crust? Or it softened at room temperature?

  7. May I know what’s the role of the white vinegar when you already have cream of tartar in it.? Thank you 

    • Hi, Mae. Thanks for your question. Small amount of cream of tartar is there to stabilize the egg whites for better meringue. It’s not enough amount to completely replace white vinegar for the right texture. Hope this helps.

  8. hii ,if i want to make this pavlova into mini pavlova , what temp should i set and for how long ? thanks

  9. Hi I just made this, it went a little flat after the 50mins, I still have to wait the two hours however I do have the oven door cracked open a littl, is it normal to look a little less puffy and it looks glossy. I’m praying this turns out! I’ve had this before and love it! Soo refreshing! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Nissrene. Did it puff up and then went down? If so, it’s totally normal. As it cools, the shell may crack too, which is fine. Just let it cool completely, preferably overnight. Hope you’ll love it! Let me know.

      • Unfortunately I ended up baking another one except I kept
        It baking for an hour and 10 minutes. The first one was very soft in the center and a little crispy on the edges however I do live in Illinois so I’m sure the weather might have something to do with it. I have it cooling in the oven with the oven door slightly cracked open so I’m praying this works out. I’m not going to lie though, we were nibbling on the first one and it was delicious but if only it wasn’t too soft in the center. I’ll let you know how this one turns out. Thanks for responding! 

      • The second one turned out absolutely amazing! Thank you!!!

  10. Shinee, in response to question about cracking?? I’ve have made so many variations over the years and in so many altitudes and climates, but I have never known a pavlova not to crack!! They just do.  Your’s is the very best recipe I have ever tried. Frankly the cracking won”t matter once it”s on a plate covered with strawberries and whipped cream!!

  11. Fabulous Recipe!! Best I’ve ever tried and I have tried many variations over the years. I live in Florida so Strawberries just coming into season, and I will be making this tonight! The compliments I have received
    With this recipe exceed anything I’ve ever made and requests for the recipe. Once I was asked if I could be paid to make this.  Be prepared to receive many ooh’s and awe’s!!  Sometimes I add a little
     Shaved chocolate and some finely chopped nuts(walnuts) to the top, just before serving and I have gone so far as to reserve the plumpest, nicest strawberries to dip in chocolate and place around plate.  Enjoy!!!

    • Karen, you made my day! So happy that it’s the winner of all the pavlova recipes you’ve tried. And I agree it’s such a show stopper! So jealous of the strawberry season you’re having over there, Karen! It’s outrageously cold (9°F!!) here today. 🙂 Eat some juicy strawberries for me.

  12. What can you do if u don’t have cream of tartar Available? 

  13. Making this today for a Passover dinner tonight. Glad I found your recipe, seems to tick all the boxes needed for a perfect meringue!

  14. Ummm I’m from aus and its actually not meant to collapse. The hardest part of making a pav is for it to not collapse ????

    • Hmm, really? That’s interesting. I guess by collapse I meant the crispy crust cracks and the center is slightly exposed. As you can see on the photo the center is still tall and marshmallow-y. So does it not meant to crack at all? If you have any tips to prevent the cracks, I’d love to know. I’m a perfectionist, and now I’d love to make it a proper way. I always thought that it’s just a nature of Pavlova to have imperfections. Thanks for your comment, Linda! Really appreciate it. 🙂

  15. If I make the cake the night before and add the whipped cream in the morning to serve that evening?

    • Hi, Jan. I’d suggest adding the whipped cream about an hour or so before serving. Or the cake might get soggy. Cake can be baked a day in advance though.

  16. Looks wonderful Shinee! Never made Pavlova myself, but can’t wait to try your recipe. Love the fresh berries on top, perfect for spring!

  17. This is a a stunning dessert!  I have extended family from Australia where this dessert is quite common so I’ve always wanted to make it.  Look forward to trying it when fresh berries are in season again.

  18. This is so  beautiful! I could totally see myself serving this as an Easter dessert. It just seems perfect for it. 

  19. Im just seeing this recipe now, Oh.my.gosh.  This looks so scrumptious, I must make this one!!! Your recipes and ideas and photos are to die for!

  20. Pingback: Pumpkin Pudding ~Sweet and Savory by Shinee

  21. this came out beautifully! i’d love to try it.

  22. sain bainuu, ene vineger gedegt heden huviin uks us hiih yum bol? apple vineger hiij bolohiin boluu?

  23. Монголоор орц хийх дараалал оруулж болох уу 🙂

  24. Yamar goyo haragdaj bainaa! Neeh huurhun tailbar bichdegiishdee!

  25. Looks delicious, i would try it. Tkanks for sharing, became your regular visitor of the blog.