I had all good intentions to really make this cake pretty, but who am I kidding. Eton Mess is, well, pretty messy. But don't let the appearance deter you from what I think is the most phenomenal tasting mess I have eaten in quite awhile.
Salted Caramel as a sauce on its own is already a dessert winner, but stir that through pavlova and pair it with raspberries and cream, there is nothing else better.
For this Eton Mess cake, instead of having the marshmallow and meringue element separately, I decided that Pavlova was the best way to go, and used 2 recipes that I've already shared from this blog to base the dessert cake. That is, I made salted caramel sauce from this recipe, then left it aside to cool completely. While the caramel sauce was cooling I made a pavlova mixture, from this recipe. I then stencilled out round discs** on a baking sheet, spooned out discs of the pavlova mixture, keeping within the stencilled disc lines, teaspoon-ed over some salted caramel and swirled that through the pavlova before baking in the oven (according to the original Pavlova recipe). Once cooled, I layered them up with cream and fresh raspberries, to the height I liked (I used 4 discs, it was basically the point before the cake wanted to tip over :) you have about 7 discs to play around with) and then drizzle more salted caramel all around over top. A sprinkling of cocoa nibs for some crunchy more-ish texture, and then I was away.
Hey, we're all human here. Not everything is always pretty. I'm feeling like this is the cake to make for your friends with no pressure to make it look 100% perfect, because after all...the taste overrules the looks department here :) Some of my pavlova discs deflated, some remained puffed, but it didn't matter because the varying texture is what you want in an Eton Mess.
Just don't keep it overnight, it's best eaten on the day it's made.
Huzzah, we're close to Easter and I have a great post coming up that will help you break that Lent like no man's business.
** I was able to actually make about 7 pavlova round discs that were about 10cm in diameter. You'll find that your pavlova won't dry out as much as a non-salted caramel one would so it's perfectly normal if your pavlova puffs up in the oven then deflates a lil while it dries out. Salted caramel sticky bottoms are also allowed.