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History of the Pavlova Dessert

 Crispy and crunchy outside, soft and sweet inside – Pavlova is a deliciously indulgent meringue-based dessert loved by people across the world. So beloved, in fact, some countries have debated being the original source of this sweet treat for nearly 100 years! Regardless of who claims the right to “first”, all agree Pavlova was created in honour of one very special person.

What is a Pavlova?

Simply put, this decadent and delicate confection is a stiff meringue usually made with very stiff beaten egg whites. These are folded with caster sugar, an acid (such as lemon juice), cornflour, and occasionally a flavour additive like vanilla extract. The whole meringue is baked until the outside becomes a crispy light brown shell, while the centre remains soft, like a warm and melty marshmallow. Many top their Pavlova with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

It can take quite a bit of practice to perfect the Pavlova. It’s very fragile, prone to deflating and breaking when exposed to cool air too fast. It’s a popular Christmas dessert in southern hemisphere countries; since the holiday falls during the Summer season in those regions there is less chance of having the “Pav” flatten. Australia and New Zealand are particularly passionate about their holiday Pavlovas.

Why is it called Pavlova?

While the exact date and country of origin is still hotly debated, almost all culinary historians agree the dessert was created in honour of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Anna’s signature dance style and beauty made her world famous in the early 20th century. In fact, she was so popular she became the first ballerina to tour around the globe!

Who was Anna Pavlova?

Many fans of the Pavlova dessert may not know its name origin today. Fewer still might not realize that Anna Pavlova’s story is still a source of inspiration 100 years later. Her motivational story is one of perseverance in the face of challenge.

She was rejected at her first audition for the Imperial Ballet School at the age of nine. Undaunted, Anna auditioned again a year later and was accepted. Still, her years of training were a challenge. She had thin ankles and arched feet, which made classical ballet difficult. She was also tall with gangly limbs, in a time when most ballet companies preferred petite ballerinas.

These traits saw Anna become the target of teasing by her peers.

Again undeterred, she trained and took extra classes until her critically acclaimed official debut at age 18. All of her hard work paid off, resulting in a unique style that eschewed the strict rules of most academic ballerinas. She was adored for her “daintiness and fragility”, traits that were rare among her peers at the time. Anna eventually formed her own ballet company and set about touring the world to acclaim.

Dedicated to the very end, she refused a life-saving operation for pneumonia once she was told she would never be able to dance again. Anna Pavlova passed away a few weeks later at the age of 49. Her final words were “Get my ‘Swan’ costume ready.”

Just like the famous dessert that bears her name, Anna’s story is one of a delicate and unique beauty that could have easily folded under pressure. However, with the right amount of patience and practice, she became a popular treat beloved across the globe.

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New Cake Decorating Trends

There isn’t anything more delectable than that first bite of a freshly baked, divine cake.  The mix of moist, rich cake with sweet frosting is worth all of the effort put into making it.  Besides the wonderful blends of flavours, we love cakes for their decorative exteriors (and sometimes the surprise decoration on the inside as well!).  The newest cake decorating trends are exciting, eye-catching, and can encourage some pretty inspiring creativity.

Flowers, flowers everywhere

We’ve known for a long time that certain flowers are edible, and maybe you’ve even sampled a few in salads or as a candied treat, but if you haven’t had a cake with edible flowers, you’re missing out.  Not only do we love the nature inspired feel, but the gorgeous exterior is like the best kind of garden we can think of.  With flowers in all sorts of sizes, types and colours, you’ve got a world of possibilities at your fingertips.

Dressed in black

You’ve seen pink cakes, red cakes, yellow cakes…and cakes in a rainbow of swirls, but if you want to stay at the forefront of cake colour trend, black is best.  Black is dramatic, and if the rest of the cake decor is simple, it can make a bigger statement than any other colour on the palette wheel.  Black commands attention, is dignified, and can make just the impact that you’re looking for. If you find black too bold but love the idea of a more dramatic feel to a cake, navy is also making a show stopping appearance as complete coverage, or as a band wrapped around the center of a cake.  Just as with black, navy is best served when displayed without much other decor to detract from its bold flavour.

Shapes and sizes

The simplicity of a round cake will never be out of style, but if you’re looking for something a little different, square cakes offer a unique surface area for decorative creativity.  They can stand alone or be stacked, either in neat little boxes or set off center.  A square cake is the perfect background for big decorative elements, and can act as a frame for center stage design features. Why stop there?  Silicone moulds are opening doors to the fun trend of making cakes in all shapes and sizes.  Your imagination is truly the limit when you’re looking for a cake in which the shape itself is the main feature on display.  With ripples, mounds, ovals, bubbles and waves at your disposal, it’ll be very interesting to see what other options silicone moulds will offer bakers in the upcoming months.

Mirrored surfaces

A little glaze goes a long way!  For a truly unique cake, try one of the trendiest finishes this year to make its mark; a glazed surface so shiny that it could double as a mirror!  If you want to keep other cake decor

 

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