It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Christmas baking. Each year it’s usually a debate between whether I bake something gingerbread related or go with the classic Aussie pavlova. This year I decided to combine the best parts of both these festive desserts and make a gingerbread pavlova!
This dessert is truly a decadent treat and a real showstopper at the table for Christmas lunch. And while it seems there are quite a few steps required to create this masterpiece, each element can be made prior and stored for a quick assembly on the day.
Instead of layers of gingerbread cake, I made discs of crunchy meringue using brown sugar and spices. Because brown sugar has more moisture in it than the traditional white sugar used in a pavlova, the meringue takes longer to bake and set in the oven. Unfortunately I learnt this the hard way when I first tested this recipe – the layers of pav looked done, but when I transferred them from the baking tray they all collapsed! The second time around I cooked the meringues for 1 hour and 20 mins (plus cooling time) and they were perfect – crunchy on the outside and slightly marshmallowy on the inside.
In between each layer of spiced pavlova, there is whipped cream cheese. This is made from a delightful blend of cream and cream cheese which is then whipped until light and fluffy. I always top my gingerbread cake with cream cheese icing, and my pavlova with whipped cream, so this was the perfect happy medium!
The final addition to this creation was a generous scattering of crumbled gingerbread cookies and drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce between each layer.
- 6 egg whites (room temp)
- 1 cup caster sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1½ tbsp cornflour
- 1½ tsp white vinegar
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 120ml water
- ¾ cup thickened cream
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 250g cream cheese
- 250ml thickened cream
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 150°C and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg-whites until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add the caster and brown sugar, beating well until the mixture is glossy and the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the cornflour, vinegar and spices and beat until well combined.
- Spoon mixture into 3 x 18-20cm circles. Using a palette knife, shape into a circle.
- Place in the oven, reduce the heat to 120°C and cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Then turn the oven off and allow the meringues to completely cool in the oven (at least an hour).
- Dissolve the sugar into the water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and let it bubble away over a medium heat.
- The mixture should turn a golden caramel colour after around 5-10 minutes. DON’T stir the caramel mixture – the sugar will crystallize.
- Once the caramel has reached the desired colour, take it off the heat and add the salt and cream. Whisk until combined.
- Whip the cream until stiff peaks form and then set aside.
- In another bowl combine the cream cheese and icing sugar and beat until smooth.
- Fold in the whipped cream and gently stir until combined.
- Gently transfer the first layer of pavlova to a cake stand. Spread ⅓ of the whipped cream cheese over the top, followed by a scattering of crumbled gingerbread cookies, and a generous drizzle of the salted caramel.
- Carefully put on the next layer of pavlova and repeat the cream, gingerbread and salted caramel process until you have three layers.
I hope you love this Christmas hybrid dessert as much as me! If you’re more of a classic Christmas dessert kinda gal/guy (which is totally fine) may I suggest my Chocolate Gingerbread Cake or Pavlova with Cream, Passionfruit and Kiwi?
Happy festive baking everyone!