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Chocolate and Vanilla Charlotte Cake with Berries

Chocolate and Vanilla Charlotte Cake with Berries

Photo: Natalie Levin

Charlotte cake is one of the most classic cakes in the French patisserie, but somehow it gets a little “hidden” between all other delicious desserts and cakes that fill the patisseries in Paris. This is a relatively simple cake made of layers of sponge cake or ladyfingers with pudding, whipped cream or other cream, and fresh fruit. Think of a (much!) fancier version of icebox cake.

This year I was finally able to find berries relatively easy (in Israel berries are not so common at the grocery store), and it has brought me to think of making Charlotte cake. I made it especially festive with berry mousse, chocolate mousse, vanilla cream and fresh berries of all kinds. It’s a great cake for birthdays and special occasions and will be perfect for Christmas as well.

Chocolate and Vanilla Charlotte Cake with Berries

Photo: Natalie Levin



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Chocolate and Vanilla Charlotte Cake with Berries


Servings 20 cm round cake pan

Ingredients

For the base and sides:

  • 200 grams ladyfinger cookies
  • 125 ml. (1/2 cup) milk

For berry mousse:

  • 2 grams (1/2 tsp.) gelatin powder
  • 10 ml. (2 tsp.) water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25 grams (2 tbsp.) sugar
  • 150 grams berry puree raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, etc.
  • 50 grams (3 tbsp.) soft butter
  • 125 ml. (1/2 cup) very cold whipping cream

For chocolate mousse:

  • 100 grams dark chocolate finely chopped
  • 250 ml. (1 cup) whipping cream very cold

For vanilla cream:

  • 250 ml. (1 cup) whipping cream very cold
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 30 grams (3 tbsp.) sugar powder
  • 10 grams (1 tbsp.) instant vanilla pudding powder

For decoration:

  • Berries of various kinds

Instructions

Make the base and the sides:

  1. Cut a small piece at the bottom of each ladyfinger to create a cookie that will be able to "stand" at the sides of the pan.
  2. Arrange ladyfingers densely on the sides of the pan.
  3. Arrange more lady fingers at the bottom of the pan to create a base.
  4. Gently brush the ladyfingers (on the sides and base) with milk using a brush.

Berry mousse:

  1. In a small bowl mix gelatin and water and set aside for about 10 minutes at room temperature until the liquid is absorbed.
  2. In a small pot, place eggs, sugar and berry puree, and whisk well until mixed.
  3. Cook the mixture, while constantly whisking, on a medium to low flame until it boils.
  4. Add in the gelatin and stir well until it melts in the mixture.
  5. Add butter and mix well until it melts in the mixture.
  6. Cool the mixture for 20-30 minutes at room temperature until it cools slightly.
  7. Whip the cream into a firm cream. Gently fold the whipped cream into the berry mixture until you get a uniform mousse.
  8. Pour the mousse on the base of the ladyfingers and straighten the top with a palate knife.
  9. Cool the cake in the freezer until the mousse layer is set.

Dark chocolate mousse:

  1. Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl.
  2. Dissolve in the microwave or over double-boiler until fully melted.
  3. Whip the cream to soft peaks.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate and mix well to compare textures with the melted chocolate.
  5. Add in the remaining cream and gently fold until you get a uniform mousse.
  6. Pour the chocolate mousse over the berry mousse layer and straighten with a palate knife.
  7. Cool in the freezer until set..

Vanilla cream:

  1. In a mixer bowl, whip cream, vanilla, powdered sugar and instant pudding until you get a very firm whipped cream.
  2. Pour the cream over the chocolate mousse layer and straighten with a palate knife to a uniform layer.
  3. Freeze the cake completely for 3-4 hours until it is completely set.
  4. Remove the cake from the baking pan carefully.
  5. Garnish with fresh assorted berries at the top and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • You can prepare the charlotte cake in advance (without the berries garnish) up to a week before serving and freeze it. The berries should be added on the serving day.
  • Instead of dark chocolate you can use milk chocolate to get milk chocolate mousse, but the result will be sweeter.
  • It is recommended to transfer the frozen charlotte cake from the freezer to the refrigerator at least 4 hours before serving, so that it will get a pleasant texture for eating.
Chocolate and Vanilla Charlotte Cake with Berries

Photo: Natalie Levin

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