Strawberry Charlotte
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last weekend, my mom asked me to make a birthday cake for a close family friend. I was happy to fulfil the request if that meant I could avoid eating a slice of ‘chinese bakery birthday cake’. They’re not bad, it’s just always the same thing. Sponge cake, whipped cream, fruit, all made with as little sugar as possible. I think, if you’re going to have a piece of cake, you should have a real piece of cake. Yes, I have become a bit of a dessert snob now.

Say hello to my strawberry charlotte made with mascarpone filling, lemon-soaked cake layers, and beautiful local B.C. strawberries. These strawberries reminded me of the French gariguette variety we used at the restaurant. Both very aromatic, soft, and juicy.

I flipped through many ideas before finally settling on something summery, light, and elegant. I got the inspiration from my miette cookbook. However, I didn’t follow their recipe. My variation of their strawberry charlotte features local B.C. strawberries, a touch of mascarpone cheese, and some ribbon to tie it together. Here are the components of the cake.

I started with Pierre Herme’s ladyfinger recipe. It’s made with just eggs, sugar, and flour.

In his book, ‘Desserts by Pierre Herme’, I learned an important step in making ladyfingers. Right after you pipe the batter, you want to dust it with icing sugar, then let it sit for 15 minutes and dust it again right before you bake.

This technique gives your ladyfingers their characteristic crackly exterior. It’s especially important for the ladyfingers that decorate your cake.

Before beginning, I covered a 7″ cake pan with plastic film. Then I put a layer of ladyfinger biscuit inside to make the base. For the ladyfinger layers, I brushed them first with a lemon syrup.

Then with some home-made strawberry jam.

For the filling, I made a vanilla brean creme anglaise, thickened with some gelatine, then mixed into some mascarpone cheese and folded with some chantilly. It’s quite similar to making tiramisu.

After a light brushing of strawberry jam, I fill the cake with my mascarpone mousse, chopped fresh strawberries, and repeat for a second time.

After setting in the fridge overnight, I removed the cake from the pan by lifting the plastic film. Then, I attached a ring of ladyfingers, secured with a ribbon and decorated the top with a pound of strawberries. I could’ve used a thick ribbon instead but couldn’t find any at home.

I will try to do some detailed step-by-step recipe posts but for the ones where I don’t post any recipes, feel free to send me an e-mail for them!

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!