Layered Pink Pavlova with Vanilla Custard

January 16, 2023

Get ready to step out of your cake comfort zone with my new Layered Pink Pavlova recipe with vanilla custard and fresh raspberries.

The most delicious pavlova with vanilla custard and fresh berries

I’m excited for you to try something a little different today! This easy pavlova recipe is going to knock your socks off with it’s meringue-like texture and vanilla custard filling.

What is a Pavlova?

This may be a different type of layered cake, but don’t let that scare you off. A pavlova is actually quite easy to make. A traditional pavlova is a meringue-based dessert, made with egg whites, sugar, a little cornstarch, and flavorings (i.e. vanilla extract).

How Do You Make a Pavlova?

To make a pavlova, you’ll start by beating egg whites to a medium stiff peak. As your peak begins to form, you’ll gradually (very gradually) add the granulated sugar. Once the sugar is added and the meringue now has stiff peaks, you’ll fold in the cornstarch, flavoring of choice, and food coloring (if using).

Once the meringue is finished, you’ll gently pour the meringue onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, shape the meringue into a fairly level circle, about 8 to 9 inches wide. You’ll then bake the pavlova on a low heat for about 45 to 50 minutes. When the baking time is complete, turn the oven off and let the meringue cool completely in the oven – about another hour.

In my recipe, you’ll actually be creating two pavlova rounds. If you don’t want a layered look, just half the recipe and bake one pavlova.

What Does a Pavlova Taste Like?

A pavlova has a similar texture to a macaron and tastes of sugar and the flavoring you’ve chosen to bake with (most likely vanilla), but it also gets added richness from the custard (or whipped cream) and fresh fruit.

Ingredients You Need for Pavlova

A classic pavlova is made with 5 ingredients.

  • Egg whites – use egg whites to create the volume and base of the pavlova.
  • Sugar – sugar not only sweetens the pavlova, it also stabilizes the egg whites by holding them together both in the oven and as the whole pavlova cools. Sugar also helps to achieve the crisp texture.
  • Acid – I’m using a teaspoon of white vinegar in my recipe, but you can easily substitute it for apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. If you don’t have vinegar on hand, you can use ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar. The acid helps the egg whites hold onto air.
  • Cornstarch – helps to create a fluffier center
  • Vanilla extract – purely for flavor!

NOTE: when baking, you’ll preheat your oven to 350 degrees F., but once you place the pavlova in the oven, that temperature needs to be reduced to 225.

Ingredients You Need for the Vanilla Custard

Other Beginner Cake Recipes You’ll Love

Pink Pavlova with Vanilla Custard

5 from 17 votes
Pavlova layers stacked with vanilla custard and fresh berries.
Servings 20



  • 8 (about 260 g) egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons (10 g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) cream of tartar, OR 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • a couple drops of pink food coloring (optional), I used Americolor Soft Pink
  • NOTE: This recipe makes TWO pavlovas. You can split the recipe in half for one layer.


  • 1 box (3-ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 can (14-ounces) sweetended condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup (240 g) heavy whipping cream


  • fresh berries


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (NOTE: you will reduce this temperature later).
    Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Trace a circle on each, using an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan as your guide. Flip the parchment paper over, so the pencil doesn't get on the pavlova. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until soft peaks begin to form.
    Note: the eggs will foam first and then come together to create soft, white peaks. Be patient. This will take a few minutes.
  • Once the soft peaks have formed, gradually (very gradually), add the sugar (about one tablespoon at a time).
  • After the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks have formed, stop the mixer and fold in the cornstarch, cream of tartar (or vinegar), vanilla bean paste, and food coloring (if using).
  • Divide the meringue in half and pour one half onto each of the parchment sheets with circles on them. Gently spread the meringue to the edge of the circle you drew, making sure the top is fairly level. The edges don't need to be perfectly round or even. In fact, the more rustic and left alone, the better.
  • Place the pavlovas in your oven. If you have two ovens, you can place one baking sheet in each. If you have one oven, you can place both baking sheets in at once, on two different racks, making sure to switch the baking sheets halfway through baking.
  • When you place the pavlova in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 225 degrees F.
  • TWO OVENS: If you are using two ovens with one pavlova in each, your bake time will be about 50 to 60 minutes.
    ONE OVEN: If you are using one oven with two pavlovas, your bake time will be closer to 70 to 90 minutes.
    You are looking for the meringue to harden, but not get too brown or crack too much around the edges.
  • Once the pavlova is done baking, turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

For the Custard

  • To make the custard filling, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and water until combined. Stir in the pudding mix and then refrigerate until set, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Using a whisk attachment, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the pudding mixture.


  • Place one pavlova layer on a cake stand or plate. Cover with half of the pudding mixture and then fresh berries. Repeat with second layer.
  • Serve immediately or coverate and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake, pavlova
Keyword: Pavlova, Pink Pavlova, Valetine’s Dessert, Vanilla Custard

Join the Conversation

  1. Can liquid egg whites be used or are actual egg whites best?

    1. You can use liquid.

  2. Shari Gsrst says:

    Is it too late to cook more after it’s cooled?
    Mine are not cooked through 😩

    1. You can’t recook it. I’m sorry.

  3. I’m trying this out this weekend. Any fresh berries will work?

  4. Do you think you can freeze a pavlova? Looks delicious!

    1. I wouldn’t because of the custard.

  5. Hi Courtney,
    Will the custard filling keep well refrigerated a few days ahead? Also you have a couple different custard fillings made different, which one would you suggest for a custard filling for vanilla/choc mini cupcakes??

    Thank you !!

    1. Yes this custard holds up well in the fridge. I think for cupcakes, you’ll want to test one or two and decide which flavor and texture you like best.

      1. Thank you!!

  6. Hi Courtney! We are having a Bluey party and my daughter requested pavlova, which they eat on the show. I was so excited to see this recipe on your site. Her birthday party is tomorrow. Can I make and assemble the cake today?

    1. I would make it same day.

  7. Can it be made ahead? I wasn’t sure if it would soften/mature too much – or if it’s best day of.

  8. Lisa Christiansen says:

    5 stars
    My daughter and I made this today and we loved it! It did stick a bit to the parchment, should we have sprayed the parchment? We were able to get it off with a very thin spatula. Thank you for posting such a fun recipe!

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