December is pretty stressful for all of us, so when I can simplify things I try to do just that. I write my Christmas cards in advance, do most my Christmas gift shopping online etc.
The same applied when I after a party weekend away for my dear colleague wanted to bake some cakes for her actual birthday in the office. In my head I wanted to do this lovely chocolate Pavlova, but when I came home tired after a great party and having had to deal with snow (!) in London, I lowered the bar somewhat.
And I’m so glad I did. Sometimes less really is more and all my colleagues loved this cake. I topped it with Maltesters but throw on whatever chocolate, fruit or berries you like.
Pavlova, serves 8
4 egg whites
220 g caster sugar
450 ml whipping cream
1 bag of Maltesers
cocoa for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 150C.
Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar a little at the time while beating. Once added beat until stiff peaks form and you have a glossy firm meringue (you should be able to hold the bowl upside down wihout the meringue moving).
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a spatula, pour the meringue out onto the parchment paper and shape it into an even circle.
Bake for 60 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar until the oven has cooled down. Leave to cool completely.
Turn the cake upside down onto a cake plate and remove the parchment paper. Lightly whip the cream and spread on top of the meringue. Top with Maltesers and dust with cocoa. Serve immediately.
I made this wonderful cake for the office just before Easter (hence the chocolate eggs on top) and it became everyone’s new favourite cake! Initially I was using a recipe from Swedish pastry chef Roy Fares but as I didn’t have all the ingredients I only used his recipe for the meringue and ended up trying pastry food blogger extraordinaire Linda Lomelino’s recipe for the filling and chocolate sauce (although slightly adapted) – and the combination was amazing! I’m still really keen to try their respective versions of chocolate pavlova but this mishmash of recipes worked really well!
I also made this lovely rhubarb cake, served with store-bought (but fresh) custard.
And these wonderful oat and raisin cookies. But the piece de resistance was definitely the pavlova!
Chocolate pavlova with maltesers and chocolate eggs, serves 8-10
Adapted from Roy Fares’s and Linda Lomelinos’s respective recipes.
75 g dark chocolate
140 g egg whites (4 egg whites)
220 g caster sugar
8 g / 1 tbsp corn flour
4 g / 1 tsp white wine vinegar
250 g cream cheese
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
5 dl whipping cream
60 g caster sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
100 ml water
1-2 tbsp cream
1 bag maltesers
1 bag chocolate eggs
Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl, melt either over boiling water or in the microwave. Pre-heat oven to 150C.
Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar bit by it while beating until stiff and glossy. Add the corn flour and vinegar and mix carefully with a spatula. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and create a marbled effect by folding the mixture 2-3 times with a spatula. T
Divide the meringue between two baking parchment covered baking trays, shaping round discs, approx 20 cm in diameter.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven while its cooling. Let the meringue discs cool completely.
Mix sugar, cocoa and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Add the cream and let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the cream and beat until thick and fluffy (but don’t over-beat it). Spread out the cream in between the meringue discs and on top of the cake. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and decorate with maltesers and chocolate eggs.