As much as I love flowers, I’ve learned over the years that I have a black thumb. No matter how hard I try or how “low-maintenance” the plant is, I manage to kill it. I’ve even killed a cactus. Don’t ask me how I did it. But one day it started to shrivel up and before I knew it, it was dead. These days, I run away from plants like the plague. The cute DIY terrariums that everyone talks about? Nope. Growing my own herbs? No way. So instead of growing my own plants, I prefer already cut plants because (not to sound morbid) they’re already dying. It gives me a little less stress.
In the food world, I think Valentine’s Day can be renamed as Red Velvet Everything Day. Is it just me or when February rolls around, everything is red velvet flavored? They come in forms of cake, brownies, whoopie pies, cupcakes and cookies. It is not their fault. There aren’t that many red cakes out there and that deep red hue is kind of perfect for the season.
Instead of doing the usual red velvet cake, I decided to make a red velvet pavlova. I dyed the layers of pavolva red (or as red as I could get them) and flavored them with a hint of cocoa. Then I made a cream cheese whipped cream (because how would you have anything red velvet without cream cheese) and flavored it with some rose water for a floral note. I finally decorated it with some tiny rose meringues and actual tiny roses. If you are using fresh flowers, make sure they’re pesticide-free and if you want to eat them, make sure they’re edible.
This may be the most romantic cake I’ve made. (Followed closely by this one.)
Red Velvet Rose Pavlova
Makes one 4-layered mini cake
300 g. superfine sugar
150 g. egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch cream of tartar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
red gel food color
1 batch of cream cheese rose whipped cream (recipe below)
mini red roses, organic pesticide-free (for decoration)
- Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread sugar in an even layer over parchment.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and the cream of tartar.
- Place sugar into the oven and bake until the edges of the sugar begins to melt but not brown, about 5 minutes.
- Once the sugar begins to melt, turn the mixer onto high.
- Remove baking sheet from the oven and the eggs whites should be foamy.
- Turn the mixer to medium high and slowly pour the hot sugar from the parchment paper into egg whites.
- Once all the sugar is added, turn the mixer onto high and mix until stiff, shiny peaks form.
- Reserve ¼ c. of white meringue batter in a different bowl.
- Add cocoa powder and red gel food color to the rest of the batter and mix until desired color is reached.
- Reserve ¼ c. of red meringue batter in a separate bowl.
- Reduce oven to lowest setting 140˚F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On one baking sheet, spoon 4 five-inch circles of the red meringue.
- Fit a medium closed star piping tip into a piping bag and add ¼ c. each of reserved white and red meringue batter.
- On the second baking sheet, form small roses by making small circles with the piping tip.
- Bake the baking sheet with the five-inch circles for 1- 2 hours until they are crisp and hollow.
- Bake the baking sheet with the mini roses for 30 minutes to 1 hour until they are crisp and hollow.
- Turn off oven and let it dry out for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- When meringues are completely cool and dry, alternate a layer of the meringue with the layer of the whipped cream.
- Decorate the top with the mini meringue roses and mini roses.
Cream Cheese Rose Whipped Cream
1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream, cold
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ c. powdered sugar
½ – 1 tsp. rose water (be careful with the rose water, too much of it will make the frosting taste like soap)
- In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Set aside the whipped cream mixture into a different bowl.
- In the same bowl, add the cream cheese and powdered sugar and mix until light, fluffy and fully incorporated.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- Add ½ tsp. rose water and taste. If you feel like it needs more, add ¼ tsp. at a time until desired flavor is reached.