A Tribute To Australia Day: Black Forest Pavlova With Espresso Cream


Recipe, photography and styling by Tanya Zouev.

This weekend is Australia Day long-weekend. It’s been a weekend of celebrating with the quintessential Aussie barbie (BBQ), wearing the Australian flag printed on one’s t-shirt or bikini, screaming out “Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi” (unfortunately) and eating lamingtons (very fortunately). For some however it’s eating pavlova, and I’ve seen a fair few of them proudly shown off on Facebook and the usual social media sites this weekend.

Now I know there’s some debate (actually, a lot of debate) around the exact origin of the pav, I’ve even discussed this in a recent post. Yes I know it hails originally from New Zealand but for many it is still a major part of Australia Day celebrations. Since we don’t actually have very many dishes we can call upon as being authentically Australian cuisine, it’s understandable why.

During the few days leading up to Australia Day I was having some thoughts as to what makes up authentic Australian food, and there actually isn’t much. We have beautiful indigenous Australian bush foods but they’re really more ingredients rather than actual dishes. Just about everything other than “bush tucker” as it’s colloquially known, including a large percentage of our population is from someplace else. This I very much believe to be one of the many things which makes Australia so incredible. Our multiculturalism, and in turn our food.

For example, may parents were migrants who came to this country in the late 1950’s (I am a first generation Australian). I grew up eating a lot of Eastern European and Chinese food as well as many Anglo-Saxon favourites. I loved piroshki as much as a finger bun (for overseas readers this is a soft wheat flour bun with icing on it), yum cha as much as a meat pie with sauce. My Polish-Russian father enjoyed Vegemite sandwiches, my Chinese-born Russian mother loved (and still loves) a passionfruit and cream-filled sponge.

So in honour of Australia Day and multiculturism I created this Pavlova. I hope you enjoy her. She’s an adaptation of an Aussie/Kiwi classic merged with European flavours, and she’s a bit like this country: big, beautiful, diverse in flavour, and she speaks with a slight accent. That’s what makes her so special.

Prep time 1 hour, cooking time approximately 2 hours.


For the meringue

8 egg whites
2 cups granulated raw sugar
2 tablespoons dutch cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the topping

2 cups thickened (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons strong espresso coffee
a 680 gram (24 ounce) jar of morello cherries
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dark chocolate curls *
½ cup dark chocolate shavings **

* To make chocolate curls run a potato peeler down the edge of a block of chocolate. ** To make chocolate shavings use an ordinary fine grater or a Micro-Plane.


1. Preheat oven to 220ºC (approx 420˚F). Place a sheet of baking paper on two large baking tray and draw 20cm (8″) rounds.

2. Separate your eggs making utmost care not to contaminate the egg whites with any egg yolk. Any fat in the egg whites will prevent them from beating properly and will weigh them down.

3. Beat your egg whites until they are stiff and add your sugar slowly along with the vanilla essence, one tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form. Turn your bowl upside down to make sure the whites are stiff enough. If not, beat another minute or so then check again.

4. Sift the cocoa powder into the raw meringue and fold through carefully ensuring you leave streaks of cocoa rather than fully incorporating it.

5. Shape the meringue into the two rounds on the baking paper/trays. Place meringues into oven and immediately turn temperature down to 120 degrees celcius. Bake for 90 minutes then turn off oven, do not remove meringues until oven is cool.


1. Drain the morello cherries into a colander with a bowl underneath it to catch the syrup. Give the cherries a shake to make sure the syrup drains out of them. You will want the cherries quite dry so give them a bit of time to drain.

2. Pour the cherry syrup into a saucepan and over medium heat reduce it down to a honey-like consistency (about 5-10 minutes). If you over-reduce you can add a little bit of water and whisk through to make it more liquid again. Set aside.

3. Beat the cream with the coffee until stiff peaks form. With a silicone spatula spread half of the cream over the bottom meringue, place cherries on the cream along with half of the chopped walnuts. Sprinkle half of the chocolate shavings over the meringue.

4. Place the top meringue layer over the bottom. Spread the remaining cream over it along with the cherries, nuts and chocolate shavings. Top  with the chocolate curls. Drizzle the cherry syrup over the entire pavlova.


Photography & styling notes:

I wanted this grand lady to shine so I chose to have a fairly simple background. I used a vintage milk glass cake stand purchased at the Salvo’s, and the vintage doily and the antique silverware jug in the background which were purchased for a few dollars at Vinnie’s. The surface is a rescued old weathered timber coffee table-top pulled out of a council hard rubbish clean-up. The only light used in this image is window light.



Pin on Pinterest29,238Share on Facebook929Tweet about this on Twitter28Share on Google+687Share on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon5Digg thisShare on LinkedIn1Share on Tumblr

76 Responses to "A Tribute To Australia Day: Black Forest Pavlova With Espresso Cream"

Add Comment
  1. Carrie

    February 6, 2013 at 2:38 am

    That is a gorgeous dessert!

  2. tessa

    February 6, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Absolutely beautiful!

  3. Tanya Zouev

    February 6, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Thanks Carrie for your feedback and for reading my blog.


  4. Tanya Zouev

    February 6, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for your feedback Tessa and for stopping by my blog. Happy cooking!


  5. Casey

    February 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Wow! What beautiful photography? What equipment do you use?

  6. Tanya Zouev

    February 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Casey,

    Thanks for your feedback. I’m very minimalist when it comes to equipment these days. After twenty years of professional shooting I’ve been through countless analog and digital cameras and these days I shoot on a Canon 5d Mark 3 with a 100mm f2.8 and 28-70 f2.8 lenses. I have a back up body, a very small lighting kit which I barely use preferring daylight. I travel light.


  7. Rachael

    February 8, 2013 at 4:20 am

    This is the sort of dessert people just don’t make anymore, at least not in the states. Thank you for the insane temptation and visual delight! I’m definitely adding this to the list of my must-makes!

  8. Tanya Zouev

    February 8, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hi Rachael,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind words. I thought the best most over the top cakes came from the USA, Martha is always coming up with wild creations. It’s not common here either for big desserts except for weddings and special occasions. I love a bit of fantasy and extravagance so I’m all for whipping up this sort of thing, providing it doesn’t involve too much detailed cake decorating (the messier the better in my books). Happy cooking and be sure to stop by again.


  9. Reem | Simply Reem

    February 10, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Beautiful Photography!
    Loving your gorgeous space I’m glad I found it

  10. Tanya Zouev

    February 10, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Hi Reem, happy to have you here! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and come visit again. I’m posting at least once a week at the moment so there’ll be lots of food love to share. Regards Tanya

  11. Pingback: 10 Last Minute Valentine's Day Infused DIY's That Will Help You Make Today Special | Storyboard Wedding

  12. Emma Galloway

    February 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    So lovely to come across your blog tonight! Stunning :-)

  13. Tanya Zouev

    February 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Thank you Emma, I’m very happy to have you stop by my blog and that you are enjoying it. I’d love to have you visit again. Regards Tanya

  14. Samantha Dosser

    March 1, 2013 at 6:40 am

    This dessert looks absolutely mouthwatering! I think I will try it for our next gathering. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Tanya Zouev

    March 1, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Hi Samantha, thanks for your feedback and for stopping by my blog. It’s a pretty tasty pav, I hope you enjoy it! Regards Tanya

  16. Pingback: Dream.Thank.Love.Learn. | Her Masters Voice

  17. canapé d'angle

    March 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Really good blog. keep it up!

  18. Tanya Zouev

    March 14, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Thank you for your feedback, do come by again. Regards Tanya

  19. Betty Cox

    March 25, 2013 at 3:01 am


  20. Tanya Zouev

    March 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks Betty! Thank you for stopping by my blog. Regards Tanya

  21. Danai

    April 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

    In the recipe, you haven’t included the vanilla essence.

  22. Tanya Zouev

    April 26, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Hi Danai, thanks for pointing this out. I have amended the recipe. Regards, Tanya

  23. Rita

    April 26, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Wow!!! It looks amazing!

  24. Juli

    April 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Should this dessert be served cold?

  25. Tanya Zouev

    April 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Juli, as with all pavlova it can be eaten straight after you make it. Just make sure your cream is chilled. This particular pavlova is really good the next day too. Of course it’s not as pretty but tastes amazing. Regards, Tanya

  26. Tanya Zouev

    April 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you Rita! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Regards, Tanya

  27. Pingback: GREAT GLUTEN FREE DESSERTS | Best Friends For Frosting

  28. Pingback: Sign-up link for #SweetSat 06/01/2013 | Sweet Saturday Samples

  29. Sheila Skillingstead

    June 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the Pavlova. I lived in Australia for 3 and a half glorious years. I loved the celebrations. I think I might make the Pavlova for the fourth of July. I’ve only been gluten-free since October and am surprised by the wonderful results.

  30. Amanda

    September 3, 2013 at 5:00 am

    This a looks so incredible! I tried to make this yesterday with a friend and the meringue tops crumbled and separated from the insides when we tried to transfer them to the cake stand. We attempted to hide it with cream and chocolate, but it still looked quite laughable. It tasted amazing in the end, though!

  31. Tanya Zouev

    September 10, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Amanda, the main thing is you gave it a go. Meringues can be tricky to get right as it depends on how well you beat the egg whites, on your oven, whether you let them dry out enough. I’m pleased it tasted fabulous in the end and you enjoyed it. Best regards, Tanya

  32. renee ranjani shuman

    September 17, 2013 at 6:34 am

    SO GORGEOUS. i love that you added styling comments to the bottom of this post. food styling has become one of my favorite things to explore. this post inspires me to make a pavlova pumpkin spice latte flavor, too.

  33. Tanya Zouev

    September 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    That is a phenomenal idea for a pavlova reinvention. If you end up doing it be sure to let me know, I’d love to see it. So pleased you like my blog, thanks for visiting and making a comment. Best regards, Tanya

  34. John Haakestad

    November 10, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    This looks awesome and will definitely try.

    Essentially, this is not a Pavlova but a Meringue. The essential ingredient to a Pavlova is the Corn Flour, which results in the pavlova having a crisp and crunchy outer shell, and a soft, moist marshmallow-like centre, unlike meringue which is usually solid throughout.
    Also, eggs MUST be at room temperature.

  35. Tanya Zouev

    November 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Hi John, with all due respect a pavlova is a large meringue with cream and fruit. My mother has been making meringue and pavlova for about forty years and she has never used either cream of tartare, cornflour or vinegar in her recipe and it turns out with a crispy shell and marshmallowy centre every time. As I’ve said many times when it comes to cooking, there are many ways to skin a cat. Best regards, Tanya

  36. Kim McDougald

    November 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Tanya… this is the MOST delightful looking pavlova I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait to finally try making one! It’s been on my list of things to do for some time. Just a few questions… if I am making this for a gathering could I bake the meringues ahead and store them in a sealed container for a day or 2 ? and , how crumbly or soft is the pavlova when it gets cut ( don’t want to serve something that gets too messy for this occasion!)
    Thanks for posting such a lovely family recipe!

  37. Angie

    November 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Oh my god, it’s absolutely beautiful!

  38. Tanya Zouev

    November 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Kim, so pleased you like the photograph and recipe. I tend to make my meringues no more than a day in advance as they do tend to soften and want you want is a crunchy outside and marshmallow texture inside. It does get pretty crumbly, as most pavlova’s do, but not so much that it will make a huge mess. You could try making the meringues larger and thinner so the cake isn’t so high, therefore eliminating some of the crumbling. Regards, Tanya

  39. susanne

    November 27, 2013 at 4:43 am

    I made this for friends last night. Fantastic! Here’s my advice: Make this in the morning! You will not have access to your oven for most of the day. Also, I don’t advise if you’re also making dinner. This was fun to make, but a bit labor intensive. I had friends over for just dessert. With this one, just dessert was plenty. Thanks for a great recipe!

  40. susanne

    November 27, 2013 at 4:45 am

    One, more thing, I wasn’t able to get the cherry juice to thicken, so I ended up sprinkling a tiny bit of cornstarch while it was on the stove. (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?)

  41. Sarah

    November 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Just made this for Thanksgiving. Mine wasn’t nearly as beautiful as yours (still getting the hang of meringues) but it was delicious and a HUGE hit. Thanks for a great recipe!

  42. Anonymous

    December 22, 2013 at 4:44 am

    I will definitely make this for Christmas. Absolutely stunning picture! I love the props!

  43. Sophia

    December 22, 2013 at 4:44 am

    I will definitely make this for Christmas. Absolutely stunning picture! I love the props!

  44. Renee

    December 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    This looks incredible Tanya – so much so that I am going to make it for our Christmas dessert. I assume raw caster sugar will be ok for the meringue? It’s what I have already and I am too scared to visit the shops on Christmas Eve 😉

  45. Tanya Zouev

    December 24, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Hi Renee, raw caster sugar will be fine. It’s what I used for this recipe as I wanted the meringue slightly brown. Best regards and Merry Christmas, Tanya

  46. Renee

    December 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks Tanya – Merry Christmas!

  47. Linda

    January 19, 2014 at 12:39 am

    When you drop the temp is that in ferinheight?

  48. Tanya Zouev

    January 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Hi Linda, no it is for celsius which is 248 degrees fahrenheit. Best regards, Tanya

  49. LeAnn

    February 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    How do you cut and serve this? Pretty crunchy, I would think. Looks delish tho.

  50. Jared R

    February 16, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Hey Tan – Finally made this today! Delish – it was a hit, and easy too, but mine was still very soft on bottom and middle and lots of it collapsed! It was ok but sure didnt end up looking like yours! Not enough time to cool down I suspect?

  51. Tanya Zouev

    February 17, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Hi LeAnn, you cut it very carefully but don’t expect perfect slices. It’s so delicious that nobody cares so enjoy. Regards, Tanya

  52. Tanya Zouev

    February 17, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Hi Jared, you need a slightly longer cooking time then to dry it out more, and leave in the oven overnight. All ovens are different so try giving the meringues another 20 mins and don’t open the oven door until completely cold. Tanya

  53. Alann

    March 26, 2014 at 3:12 am

    This looks fantastic! I was hoping to make something like this, but to serve 15-20 people. How many servings did this make?

  54. Tanya Zouev

    March 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Hi Alann, you’ll probably get 8 slices out of this, albeit large ones. You’ll need to make two to serve that many people. Regards, Tanya

  55. lalla

    April 17, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    is it granulated sugar or castor sugar ? Thanks for sharing

  56. Tanya Zouev

    April 19, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Hi Lalla, I used castor sugar but I also use granulated and don’t notice much difference, especially with the plain vanilla meringues. Regards, Tanya

  57. Pingback: 14 scrumptious desserts summer wedding dessert bar | Storyboard Wedding

  58. paty

    July 14, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I just want to confirm that it is not a ring, empty in the middle, instead is a full circle full of meringue, right? and also after lowering the oven temp. one hour, turn it off and leave it there until it cools down. Is this correct? Thank you

  59. Tanya Zouev

    July 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Paty,

    It is a complete circle, not a ring. Once I turn off oven, I leave meringues in overnight to cool.


  60. Susu

    August 5, 2014 at 4:26 am

    Can’t wait to make this for my birthday! Growing up I always chose black forest cake for my birthday cake and since we have gone Paleo I have been looking for treats for my family that weren’t really “alternatives”, because they are usually disappointing and nobody wants to have to think “hey, this tastes almost like ___!” when they bite into something. This looks amazingly decadent and not at all an “alternative” treat! I LOVE Pavlova and have made it before, and it’s what I had in mind for myself this year. Counting the months! :)

  61. Aisha

    August 27, 2014 at 8:27 am

    You didn’t state what measurements we should use for scooping out the meringue mix and baking it. How many grams should each meringue be????

  62. Mariah

    August 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    This was so much fun to make especially catering to some gluten free and grain free friends. I was also happy to have used a darker chocolate (72% cocoa) for the topping at the meringue is quite sweet. I also was surprised at how quickly the cocoa mixed in the the meringue mixture. next time I would barely touch it before putting it onto the parchment paper in order to maintain the swirls.

    Thanks for a fun recipe!

  63. Tanya Zouev

    September 12, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Aisha, I don’t make recommendations for grams, just split the meringue mixture in half. I measure by sight. Regards, Tanya

  64. Katy

    September 24, 2014 at 4:46 am

    This is a gorgeous looking dessert, and I am eager to make it later this week for a dinner party. Would it be okay to make the meringue portions the day ahead, as well as prepping the cherry topping, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings the day before and then assemble everything right before leaving for the dinner? I assume as long as I am careful and leave the baked portions in the oven/airtight container it would be okay to leave the assembly for a last minute step right before serving.

  65. Lola

    October 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Tanya,
    it is a beautiful photo, however on my first attempt to make this (for dad’s 93rd birthday) the mixture, on cooking, just flattened out into an unusable mess. I think the granulated sugar was way too heavy and there’s just too much mixture to handle successfully.
    The recipe I usually use (same quantities) has a teaspoon of vinegar so on making the meringue the second time I added the vinegar, used castor raw sugar and only 1 dessertspoon of cocoa (a substitute for the usual dessertspoon of cornflour). I also made only half the quantity (used 4 large eggs) and this was plenty to make a spectacular pavlova.
    I read (on Nigella L’s site) that the acidity of the vinegar holds the egg-white together.
    Anyway we had a beautiful night and the black forest pavlova was a hit and leftovers are still delicious today, so thank you!

  66. Tanya Zouev

    October 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Lola, sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. I made it twice in the recent past the exact same way and it still worked for me. Quite honestly when I’ve used vinegar or lemon juice I’ve never noticed any difference to when I’ve not used it, so I leave it out. That’s great you were still able to get a good pav with the modifications that worked for you. Regards, Tanya

  67. Kate

    October 15, 2014 at 6:06 am

    Hi Tanya, Have you ever made these on a smaller scale? Like individual serving sizes? I’d like to try this but make multiple single servings. Do you have a suggestion on adjusting the baking time for that? Thank you!

  68. Tanya Zouev

    October 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Hi Kate, I haven’t made this particular pavlova as individual servings, but you could try adapting this recipe http://tanyazouev.com/caramelised-individual-pavlovas-with-cardamom-vanilla-cream-cointreau-raspberry-sauce/. The raw meringue is essentially the same recipe however you would need to add the cocoa swirls by sprinkling then swirling. Hope it works for you.


  69. Pingback: 8 Pretty Pavlovas by Sydney Food Bloggers - The Collaboreat

  70. Tanya Zouev

    December 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Katy, apologies for the delayed response, your message was in the spam folder. I make the meringues the night before and keep the oven door closed. I never whip cream the day before however as I find it loses some of it’s body. Try whipping cream in the morning instead. Yes you can assemble at the last minute. Regards Tanya

  71. Alan Ryan

    December 10, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Wow, tried the expresso/chocolate Pavlova sooooooooo nice thanks so much our guests loved it.
    Alan NZ

  72. Tanya Zouev

    December 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Alan, So good to hear your feedback! I made also the black forest pavlova for a party last weekend but topped it instead with whipped cream with vanilla powder through it, strawberry pieces and toasted flaked almonds. I then made a chocolate ganache with Cointreau and drizzled this over the whole thing. It was a massive hit, you might like to try this variation. Regards, Tanya

  73. jude aitken

    December 20, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Looks fantastic – I’m going to try it tomorrow! And very appropriate for me growing up in the 70s in NZ where no sophisticated meal was complete without the pavlova topped with sliced kiwi fruit!


  74. Pingback: Unique Cake Inspiration and Cake Obsessions - visualheart

  75. Pingback: Sunday Baking Club 02 | Gathered

  76. Mary Ekladios

    June 8, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Looks marvelous

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

commercial photographer, advertising photographer, food photographer sydney australia | Copyright © 2014 Tanya Zouev, All Rights Reserved. No content is to be republished without permission from the author.