November 8, 2021

Chocolate Sauce Pavlova

A pavlova that’s light and crispy on the outside & marshmallowy and soft on the inside topped with a brown sugar whipped cream and doused in a salted dark chocolate sauce. It’s sweet and salty, it’s rich and  indulgent. 

5 from 3 votes
Yield: 10
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A pavlova that’s light and crispy on the outside & marshmallowy and soft on the inside topped with a brown sugar whipped cream and doused in a salted dark chocolate sauce. It’s sweet and salty, it’s rich and  indulgent. 

Chocolate Sauce Pavlova 

This is probably one of my more fun and off the cuff recipes to date. There was no real thought process other than I wanted something grand and fancy and crazy indulgent (it was an occasion after all!) and it kind of came together from random ideas but in the end we had the most wonderful non-traditional pavlova ever. 

Credit to my daughter here: when I asked her father (she was in earshot) which he preferred, chocolate sauce or a lemon curd (a common topping for pavlovas) she interjected and insisted on the former.

 It was a giant marshmallow oozing with chocolate sauce and it was amazing. 

How to make a pavlova 

I use and instruct to follow the swiss method which is warming egg whites and sugar together (while whisking) over simmering water to dissolve the sugar. Once my pinch test comes out clean I transfer the mix to a stand mixer and whisk it until it’s at stiff peaks. 

Here I add salt (sometimes I add the vanilla early too) and then I whip it until it’s almost at stiff peaks – it takes awhile, sometimes a full ten minutes. AT this point you’ll add the vinegar and sprinkle over the cornstarch. These two ingredients make a pavlova (with it’s marshmallowy soft interior) rather than a meringue (which is crispy inside and out). 

chocolate pavlova

Troubleshooting pavlovas: cracking, seeping sugar, etc. 

Collapsing and seeping are bigger problems than cracking when it comes to a pavlova. A few cracks will be covered by the toppings so don’t sweat them too much. If the pavlova cracks all over, collapses or you see sugar seeping out something went wrong and is related to one of the following: 

Things we can control: cleaning our tools, paying attention to the meringue stages. 

Oils that were on your baking tools or egg yolks that weren’t correctly separate have fats that inhibit the process of beating & aerating. 

Cracking, weeping and collapsing pavlovas are usually because the sugar didn’t dissolve fully before the meringue went into the oven OR because they weren’t beaten correctly. 

Use the pinch test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved before you take it off the bain marie. This means sticking your thumb and index finger into the mix and ‘pinching’ it to see how it feels. If you feel granules of sugar, it’s not dissolved yet. 

Beating: beat until stiff peaks which means until you can remove the whisk attachment and the meringue holds shape. Don’t overbeat beyond this point. 

Things we can only try to control: the weather! Humid and or rainy days can work against a meringue because they add moisture into the air which will stop the meringue from aerating. 

Also, not that most of you would but I had someone do this once: NEVER tap down on the bowl or baking pan as this will remove air bubbles from the meringue. Those air bubbles you worked so hard to create! 


How to make chocolate sauce pavlova 

  1. Make the chocolate sauce (this can be made ahead of time) by cooking milk, sugar and butter together then adding chocolate. 
  2. Dissolve the sugar into the egg whites over a bain marie for the meringue. 
  3. Whip the meringue to stiff peaks, adding flavors and stabilizers toward the end. 
  4. Shape and bake the pavlova. Let it sit in the oven overnight. 
  5. Whip the heavy cream and spoon it into the pavlova’s well at the top. 
  6. Cover the pavlova with the chocolate sauce. 
  7. Sprinkle on toppings! 

Ingredients for chocolate sauce pavlova 

First, for the pavlova

Almost every pavlova/meringue recipe follows the ratio of 1/4 cup sugar (52g) per 1 large egg white. Notable pavlova recipes that I’ve learned from and have developed my own recipe from are Nigella’s, Zoe’s and Ottolenghi’s

Egg whites: This and the sugar are the base of a pavlova. I have never made a pavlova with aquafaba (chick pea water) but have heard it can work. Large egg whites are best here. 

Granulated sugar: Fine sugar is best for a pavlova because it will dissolve quicker and allow us to whip the meringue more efficiently. 

Cornstarch & Vinegar: Both of these help the pavlova’s structure – we want it to be mallow-like in the center and these two ingredients prevent the center from getting too chewy/overcooked. 

Vanilla: A good quality vanilla goes a long way in the pavlova which is otherwise unflavored. 

Sea salt: Use whatever you have on hand, bearing in mind that 

For the Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate: Dark, a good quality. Milk chocolate doesn’t have enough coco solids to make a tasty sauce (especially when you consider you’re adding milk and sugar to the sauce). That said, a milk chocolate is easier to use for chocolate curls. 

Butter: Salted or unsalted. If using salted you’ll add the lesser amount to the chocolate sauce, if using unsalted the higher. You can always taste once it comes off the heat to adjust to your salt preference. 

Brown sugar: Light or brown, this is for the chocolate sauce and the whipped cream. Can be easily swapped with granulated sugar but the molasses add a nice undertone in taste. 

Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream: These are the same thing with very little difference in fat percentage. Either will whip up nicely into a thick cream. If you need to make this dairy free refrigerate a can of coconut milk for an hour or so before beating. 

Milk: This is for the chocolate sauce, a whole milk will probably give a thicker, fuller sauce as opposed to 1 percent. If you are trying to make this dairy free (you’ll sub the butter too) then use a thick milk like a hazelnut milk. 

Hazelnuts: You can use any nut really, it’s just a topping. For a non-tree nut option use peanuts! 

Fresh toasted nuts give the best crunch, and taste 

Even if you’ve bought roasted or toasted nuts, give them a tiny zing in a preheated oven to 350 F by toasting them on a cookie sheet for 5-7 minutes (longer if they are raw) until they are fragrant. 

How to get chocolate curls as pictured 

All you need is a vegetable peeler and a chocolate bar. A milk chocolate bar works best as it’s added creaminess will keep the curls whole before they break. Simply drag the peeler down the longer side of the chocolate bar. You can do this straight over the pavlova after the chocolate sauce is on. 





Recipe for Chocolate Sauce Pavlova 

Chocolate Sauce Pavlova

Pavlova with a crispy exterior and a marshmallowy center, covered in a chocolate butter sauce, nuts and whipped cream.
chocolate sauce pavlova
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Yields: 10
5 from 3 votes



  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or more if you like
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar plain or apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar dark or light
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Salted Chocolate Sauce (via David Lebovitz)

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter cold is fine
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 oz finely chopped chocolate
  • Pinch sea salt if using unsalted butter use ½ teaspoon
  • Dash of vanilla


  • Toasted chopped hazelnuts
  • Chocolate curls


  • Make the chocolate sauce: In a pot, cook together the salt, butter, sugar and milk until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the chocolate and vanilla, stir. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to a week. You’ll want to warm it just until it’s at room temperature before serving over the pavlova. Don’t pour it over hot, it will melt the whipped cream.
  • Make the pavlova: Draw a 6 or 8 inch circle on parchment paper then flip the paper over and set it on a cookie sheet. Have a mini spatula ready. Preheat the oven to 275 F (if your oven runs hot do 250 F).
  • Bring a pot filled ⅓ high with water to a simmer. In a heatproof bowl that will fit on top of the pot (but not touch the water) whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set it over the heat whisking non-stop until you can pinch it and feel no sugar granules.
  • Transfer the egg mixture to your stand mixer bowl and begin whipping on low then gradually speed it up until it’s at medium high. Whip until you have stiff peaks, about 10 minutes - right before the stiff peaks stage add the vanilla, vinegar and cornstarch (one at a time and carefully so as not to deflate it).
  • Carefully dollop the meringue onto the prepared parchment paper. Use the offset spatula to shape it into a dome, sliding upwards to create a pretty pattern and pressing down in the top center to create a ‘well’. Use a wet finger to clean the bottom of the meringue.
  • Bake the pavlova for an hour then reduce the heat by 25 degrees and bake for another hour or until the pavlova seems set. It’s okay if it has cracked! Turn the oven light on and shut off the oven. Leave the pavlova in there overnight, or at least four hours until you are ready to assemble.
  • Make the whipped cream: Beat together all the ingredients until you have medium peaks, about 3-5 minutes (use a hand mixer or if you are feeling like a workout, use a whisk). Stop before you get to ‘stiff’ peaks as this will be too close to butter! Alternatively, (and this is a new favorite method of mine) put all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high until you have a thick cream - a few minutes.
  • Assemble the chocolate sauce pavlova: Remove the pavlova from the oven and dollop the whipped cream into the center, filling it. Spoon the room temperature chocolate sauce over the top and sprinkle on the nuts and chocolate curls. Serve asap! Leftovers can be stored in the fridge but the pavlova might get a bit gummy.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday and it was so delicious!! I halved the recipe as it was just for two people, it worked perfectly. Instructions are very thoughtful and easy to follow. I let it rest in the oven for four hours and served it with fresh strawberries. Chocolate sauce + berries was so good. We still had left overs so I popped it in the fridge overnight, it was just as tasty today!

  2. 5 stars
    Amazing! Going into making this recipe I was a bit intimidated, but it’s actually so easy and hands on time is pretty minimal. Delish and now I want to make ALL the meringue and pavlovas!