Pavlova perfect dessert for the holidays!

Close up photo of a pavlova topped with strawberries, raspberries, and kiwi on a white cake stand.

Pavlova is a simple dessert recipe made with ingredients like egg whites, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch. This large meringue-like dessert is a popular holiday treat that’s a lot easier to make than it looks!

Pavlova is baked and then topped with Whipped Cream and fresh fruit! For an extra pop of flavor, serve it with Lemon Curd!

Close up photo of a pavlova topped with strawberries, raspberries, and kiwi on a white cake stand.

What Is Pavlova?

The classic pavlova dessert is believed to have originated in New Zealand in the early 1900s and has since become popular all over the world. This dessert is similar to meringue cookies but you will love the soft center that’s encompassed in a crunchy shell and topped with smooth whipped cream and bright fruits!

The Pavlova itself tastes a lot like Marshmallows or Marshmallow Fluff with a smooth vanilla flavor. Traditionally, it is topped with strawberries, raspberries, and kiwi – but you can add any fruit. Strawberry Pavlova is a fave!

Pavlova dessert is popular to prepare around the holidays, most commonly during Christmas and Easter. The best part is that the toppings are completely customizable! Try topping it with Kahlua Whipped Cream for a boozy finish!

How To Make Pavlova

This fancy meringue dessert is actually quite easy to make and tastes the best topped with an assortment of fruits, like strawberries, raspberries, and kiwis!

  1. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy.
  2. Combine the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch with the lemon juice and vanilla.
  3. Fold the lemon juice mixture into the egg whites with a rubber spatula.
  4. Transfer the egg whites to the prepared baking sheet and bake. Turn off the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven until completely cool.

Once cooled, place the Pavlova cake on the serving dish, then top with whipped cream and fruit.

Overhead photo of a pavlova on a baking pan ready to be baked

Why Does My Pavlova Sink And Crack?

These issues arise when the pavlova cools too quickly. This is why the recipe calls for leaving the Pavlova cake in the oven to cool completely.

It’s also important to use the freshest eggs possible. Having farm fresh eggs will work the best, but if not, just looks for the eggs with the latest expiration date at the store.

Small cracks are par for the course when making a Pavlova properly, but bigger cracks can still happen. This is usually caused by external forces like the weight of the toppings rather than any baking or recipe issues.

More Great Baking Tips

  • Start with room temperature eggs for the best volume.
  • Do not use grease of any kind in prepping this recipe.
  • Dust the parchment paper with cornstarch to prevent sticking.
  • Make absolutely certain there is no egg yolk in the mixture.
  • Avoid making pavlova on humid or rainy days.

Pavlova on a white cake stand topped with fresh berries and kiwi.

Can You Make It Ahead Of Time?

Yes and no. You can prepare the pavlova itself a few days in advance of serving and it can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. However, it shouldn’t be decorated with whipped cream or fruit until just before serving.

Leftovers? Pavlova with toppings can be refrigerated overnight, but the dessert can absorb moisture and lose its crunch.

More Delicious Desserts

Pavlova

This large meringue dessert is topped with whipped cream and fruit and is popular around the holidays.

  • 4 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 cup caster sugar (*)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 2 kiwi (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup strawberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Add egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and begin beating on medium speed until frothy.

  3. Add the sugar in a very slow but continuous pour while the mixer is going. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy.

  4. While the egg whites are beating, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and use 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to rub in a 12-inch circle. Set the pan aside.

  5. In a small prep bowl, combine the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch with the lemon juice and vanilla and mix with a fork until liquid.

  6. Once the egg whites are done, fold the lemon juice mixture into the egg whites with a rubber spatula.

  7. Transfer the egg whites to the prepared baking sheet and use the rubber spatula to spread it out in a circle leaving an indentation in the center.

  8. REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 250°F and bake the pavlova for 1 HOUR, then turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven until completely cool, about 3 hours.

  9. Once cooled, gently remove the pavlova from the pan and place on the serving dish, then top with whipped cream and fruit.

*If caster sugar is not available, you can use granulated sugar but the pavlova will have some noticeable granules. You can also run granulated sugar through a food processor to make it finer. DO NOT use powdered sugar. 

Pavlova topped with fresh fruit.
Pavlova topped with fresh fruit.
Top photo shows Pavlova topped with fresh fruit on a tray. Bottom photo shows the pavlova on a baking pan ready to be baked.