Isla Flotante – A Fluffy Meringue Cake with Caramel

If you are in the mood for a fluffy and airy dessert, this is for you. This is meringue made in a waterbath and there is a reason it is called isla flotante or “floating island”. It is so airy, it is only floating. It is perfect for anyone who can’t eat gluten as it does not contain any flour. As stated, you will prepare a meringue and bake it in a waterbath. The top is caramelized. You may serve it just like that or you can serve it with the custard called Sabayon. I also caramelized some strawberries since I like some fresh component. Even if you serve it with all these extras, you will only need five ingredients in total: eggs, sugar, vanilla, alcohol and strawberries. May I interest you in this dessert?

Yes, if you are cutting back on sugar, this dessert is probably not for you. You will need sugar in order to make the caramel and meringue will only be stable if you use sugar. However, I found a lot of recipes in the Internet calling for 400 grams of sugar for 8 eggs. This is way too much. I managed to reduce it by almost half, we will use 250 grams, it also works with this amount and keeps the meringue stable enough to set. But be aware, this should be eaten in moderation.

Isla Flotante - A Fluffy Meringue Dream with Caramel

Serves: One bundt form
Prep Time: 1hr Cooking Time: 1hr Total Time: 2hr

Isla flotante can be best described as a meringue prepared in a waterbath and served with caramel.


  • Caramel
  • 250 grams of regular sugar

  • Meringue
  • 8 egg whites
  • 250 grams of regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Sabayon, egg yolk custard
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 85 grams of regular sugar
  • 200 grams of alcohol, traditionally Marsala or a sweet port wine, can be replaced with milk

  • Caramelized Starwberries
  • 20 grams of regular sugar
  • Strawberries or other fruit to your liking



First look for a bundt cake form or, if you have one, a savarin bake form. This one should fit in a casserole as you want to bake this cake in a waterbath. Place wire rack on lowest and preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius, bring about 1 liter of water to a boil.


First we will start with the caramel. Melt the sugar in a frying pan on medium heat. Seperate the egg whites and yolks and weigh 250 grams of sugar. Once the sugar has completely melted and is amber color, you will need to work fast as it hardens almost immediatley. Pour into the bundt form and with a swirling motion, cover the bottom and a bit of the sides. Set aside.


For the meringue beat the egg white with the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt until you have soft peaks, pour in the sugar and beat on high until glossy and stiff, this will take a few minutes. Spread the meringue evenly in the bundt form in batches with no air in between. Pour the water into the casserole and then place the bundt form inside. Bake for about an hour, an inserted toothpick should come out clean. First bring to room temperature, then place covered into the fridge and let sit for a few hours or overnight.


You can east the isla just like that. Place the bundt cake in a heated frying pan for about 30 seconds to loosen the caramel, then release the sides and turn upside down onto a large plate. It should come out easily.


For the sabayon place all ingredients in a pot, which you can use on a waterbath. Bring the water of the waterbath to a boil while stirring constantly. After a few minutes it should thicken and become a custards, let cool.


For the caramelized strawberries melt the sugar in a large frying pan on medium heat, once it is caramel, carefully transfer the hulled and cut strawberries to it, it will bubble, so be careful. Fry the strawberries for a few minutes until covered in caramel and softer. Set aside.


Serve the isla flotante with the custard and strawberries. It will keep a few days in the fridge and should be chilled throughout.


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