A Day Late...Again!

I don't know about you, but I am the kind of person who bakes my own birthday cake. And everyone else's, too. I love it that way. It means I get exactly what I want. Even if it's a day late (which seems to be an on-going problem I have as it happened last year on David's birthday as well.)

As with David's birthday, I wasn't up for making a cake on my birthday which was this Monday. I worked all weekend in the heat and then my friend, who is an amazing chef, surprised me with a fantabulous birthday dinner Sunday night and whipped up everything I love including very vanilla souffles for dessert with an amazing cranberry-raspberry sauce.

So after this oh-so-special-treat, I didn't really feel obligated to make something dreamy for myself, but figured it could wait until the day after.

On my birthday, David and I celebrated by having an unbelievable lobster dinner at The Palm, with all the trimmings...a bottle of wine, salads and a freshly cut corn-off-the-cob saute with pancetta and caramelized pearl onions which was loaded with flavor and went extremely well with da lobsta. 

So here I am. The day after my birthday. Ready to whip up something totally unusual and utterly divine, but neither overly sweet nor utterly unhealthy.

Not too long ago, I made pavlovas, which are an easy, delicious and healthy dessert, and when I came across this recipe for a chocolate pavlova, I found it too irresistible!

It meets all my criteria for a perfect birthday treat after several days of gluttony...healthy, delicious, simple and a fabulous way to start my 43rd year!

Even if it is a day late...

Buen provecho!

Chocolate Pavlova Cake
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this from Nigella Lawson's recipe

Print recipe

While this recipe is simple and doesn't call for butter or flour, I still wanted to limit the sugar, so although Nigella calls for 2 cups super fine sugar, I chose to use just 6 Truvia packets and also added 2 Tablespoons sugar for a balanced sugar flavor. I tasted the meringue and it was plenty sweet for me, but how much or little sugar you use is up to you. Just know that using Truvia rather than sugar means that the pavlova will not rise as much, but will be much better for you.

Serves 8

6 large egg whites
6 Truvia packets and 2 Tablespoons sugar (or 1 cup superfine sugar)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lime a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the paper and flip paper over so you can still see the outline of the circle.

Beat egg whites until satiny peaks form, then add the cream of tartar and the sugar, one spoonful at a time, and continue beating until meringue is soft and shiny.

Sprinkle the cocoa, vinegar and then the chopped chocolate, gently folding everything with a rubber spatula until cocoa is thoroughly incorporated.

Mound meringue onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet within the circle, smoothing the sides and top with the spatula.

Place in oven and lower temperature to 300 dgrees, cooking for 1 1/2 hours*. The pavlova should look crisp and dry on the top but the center should be squidgy.

Turn off the oven and open the door slightly allowing the meringue disc to cool completely in the oven.

When ready to serve invert meringue onto a flat-bottomed plate and peel off parchment.

Top with the following deliciousness:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint raspberries (or more if you choose) and 1 cup blueberries blueberries
1 Tablespoon cocoa, sifted, optional
1-2 ounces dark chocolate shavings, optional

Whip the cream until thick but still soft, add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla and whip a bit more. Pile on top of the completely cooled meringue. Carefully sift the cocoa on top of the whipped cream. Scatter the berries or place decoratively and coarsley grate chocolate over the top so you get chocolate curls.

Pavlova on the left has chocolate shavings, while the one on the right does not.

Cut into eight wedges and dig in!!

*Keep in mind that if you live in a humid environment, the cooking time of the pavlova may vary. I ended up cooking my pavlova for almost 2 1/2 hours.
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