This beautiful French Charlotte, filled with a creamy raspberry and pistachio bavarois, makes for an elegant cake to finish a fancy meal at home with. Learn how to create this Charlotte with our easy to follow, step by step recipe.
Raspberry Charlotte is one of my favourite cakes, one that I request for not only on my birthday but every other occasion that follows. Decorative and delicious, Charlotte is fluffy from the outside and heavenly creamy on the inside with textures of raspberry and crunchy pistachio.
This dessert has a nostalgic feel to it and yes, it might not be the most in fashion dessert out there, but come Spring, I remember always seeing them in bakeries and cake shops around France.
You might have noticed there is something that really stands out looking at this stunning cake...yes, it's the ladyfingers and these are part of the recipe. If I told you, making the ladyfingers is not much extra work, would you believe me?
Even with store bought ladyfingers, you still have to make the sponge cake. But, what if you can make the ladyfingers and cake sponge using one dough? Well, with our charlotte recipe you certainly can! The filling and the ladyfinger band on the outside are both made from one dough, hence no extra steps involved.
WHAT IS CHARLOTTE?
Charlotte or Charlotte Russe was invented in the 18th century by the famous French Chef Marie-Antoine Careme. The cake is served cold and consists of a mousse (called bavarois) made with whipped cream, some type of fruit puree like raspberry or strawberry and gelatine. The mousse is then set in a cake form lined with ladyfingers.
STEPS TO MAKE CHARLOTTE
- First we need to prepare the homemade ladyfingers and the cake base.
- The next step is to make the raspberry coulis
- Then we need to make the creamy filling.
- Finally, we need to assemble the charlotte and let it set.
- The last and most exciting step is the decoration.
The dough for the ladyfingers is based on eggs, flour and sugar. Before starting the dough, prepare your baking sheet drawings. To make it easy to pipe the dough, draw a circle for the cake base with the help of the springform pan (you most definitely need this for the recipe!).
Now measure the height of the cake form and the length required to make a band to fit the inside of the cake form and draw it on the baking paper.
To make the dough, whip the egg whites and sugar together and add the egg yolks and flour. Place in a piping bag. Pipe inside the circle you have drew earlier for the cake base.
Pipe lines of ladyfingers at an angle for the outer band. Use any remaining dough batter to pipe extra ladyfingers as these make part of the middle layer. I used a 8inch/20cm springform pan and the recipe for the dough was enough.
Dust the dough with icing sugar and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 12 minutes. Watch the last few minutes making sure the ladyfingers don't turn out too dark. Once baked set aside to use later. Oh, and these are great for dishes like tiramisu too!
THE RASPBERRY COULIS
The raspberry coulis is made with frozen raspberries instead of fresh. Additional ingredients are sugar and Chambord. Chambord is a French raspberry liqueur adding flavour to the mousse. It is not a must to add and can be replaced with cassis, raspberry syrup or just water.
To make the coulis, combine the raspberries with the sugar and Chambord in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes and strain through a fine sieve and press out as much liquid as possible. Keep the raspberry coulis aside and now start preparing the bavarois filling.
To start, place the gelatine in cold water. Once the gelatine is soft, squeeze to remove any excess water. Add the gelatine to the still warm raspberry coulis and stir well making sure the gelatine has completely dissolved (if not, heat up the coulis again).
For the mousse, use a hand mixer or kitchen aid and beat the cream until thick and spreadable. Add the raspberry coulis to the whipped cream and mix well.
Before assembling the charlotte, you need to prepare the middle layer. For doing this, place the sponge base and ladyfinger band inside your springform pan and measure the right length and height. Cut off any excess parts from the ladyfingers.
Use these leftovers and cut into small pieces. Add fresh raspberries, chopped pistachio and ⅓ of the raspberry bavarois. Mix together and set aside.
Now start assembling the charlotte by spreading half of the mousse inside the cake. Top with the raspberry and pistachio layer and finally the remaining mousse. Place in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight to set the charlotte.
When the charlotte has set, garnish the top with whipped cream, fresh raspberries, chopped pistachios and dust with icing sugar just before serving.
SERVING THE CHARLOTTE
In France Charlotte is usually served just on it's own. If you made extra raspberry coulis and whipped cream, then you can decorate the plate with those. Charlotte can be prepared as a dessert as well as an afternoon cake along with tea and coffee.
If you are into French baking then here are a few more recipes for you to try:
Oven baked Quince Tart topped with meringue
My grandma's simple french apple tart recipe
A next level chocolate ganache tart
The famous tarte tatin made with plums and lemon thyme
A cherry clafoutis tart that can even be made for breakfast
yes, you can especially when you want to make a quick charlotte. Arrange the ladyfingers on the inside of the cake form exactly the same way we did for this recipe. Instead of the sponge cake, lay the store bought lady fingers at the bottom of the form and continue with remaining recipe as is.
yes, you can make the charlotte a day in advance. This way the raspberry bavarois is properly set and the cake will be easy to cut.
The cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days but it's best eaten the same or next day. Any leftover charlotte can be frozen for up to 3 months.
yes most certainly you can. Feel free to use any other berries like blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries. Otherwise you can also use rhubarb or mango.
How about making this Charlotte cake recipe today? Otherwise save the recipe to make another day! Either ways, I would love to know when you make it so don't forget to leave me a comment and star rating below!
French Raspberry Charlotte Cake
- small pot
- mixing bowls
- Springform Pan 8inch / 20cm
- hand blender or kitchen aid
- piping bag
- fine strainer
- parchment paper
for the ladyfingers
- 5 eggs
- 90 gram caster sugar
- 90 gram all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon icing sugar
for the raspebrry coulis
- 250 gram frozen raspberries
- 80 gram caster sugar
- 80 milliliter chambord raspberry liquor
for the filling
- 500 milliliter heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 4 gelatine leaves (McKenzie's)
- 125 gram raspberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped pistachio
- 125 gram fresh raspberries
- 1 teaspoon chopped pistachio
- 80 milliliter heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
for the ladyfingers
- Draw a circle, the size of the springform pan you are using for the cake base. Now measure the height of the form and the length required to make a band fit inside the cake form and draw it on the baking paper.
- Seperate the eggs. Whip the egg whites and sugar together until soft peaks form. Add the egg yolks and mix. Followed by the flour and carefully whisk to a smooth batter.
- Transfer to a piping bag. Now pipe inside the circle you drew earlier using the cake form. Thereafter pipe lines of ladyfingers at an angle for the outer band. Use any remaining dough batter to pipe extra ladyfingers as these make part of the middle layer.
- Sprinkle the dough with icing sugar and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 12 minutes. Watch the last few minutes making sure the ladyfingers don't turn out too dark. Once baked set aside to use later.
for the raspberry coulis
- To make the coulis combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve pressing out as much liquid as possible. Keep the coulis aside at room temperature.
for the filling
- Soak the gelatine in ice cold water. Once the gelatine is soft, squeeze to remove any excess water. Add the gelatine to the still warm raspberry coulis and stir well making sure the gelatine has completely dissolved.
- For the mousse, use a hand mixer or kitchen aid. Beat the cream until thick and spreadable. Add the raspberry coulis to the whipped cream and mix well.
to assemble the cake
- Prepare the middle layer first. Place the sponge base and ladyfinger band inside your cake form and measure the right length and height. Cut off any excess parts from the ladyfingers.
- Use the ladyfinger leftovers and cut into small pieces. Add fresh raspberries, chopped pistachio and ⅓ of the raspberry mousse. Mix together and set aside.
- Start assembling the charlotte by spreading half of the mousse inside the cake. Top with the raspberry and pistachio layer and use the remaining mousse for the top layer. Place in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight to set the charlotte.
- Beat the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag with a star nozzle attachment and pipe dots on the outer ring of the charlotte. Sprinkle with chopped pistachio.
- Place fresh raspberries in the centre and dust with icing sugar just before serving.