Summer raspberries for a stunning cake-like dessert

This rose-scented raspberry Charlotte is made with simple homemade ladyfingers

Raspberry rose Charlotte cake

Raspberry rose Charlotte cake

 

A Charlotte is a classic cake-like dessert with sponges lined around the outside, and a fruity or custardy filling of some sort in the centre. Think of it like a trifle, but sturdy. There are a few variations, but my favourite is one made with Savoiardi biscuits or ladyfingers, and filled with a smooth fruity mousse. It’s simple and kind of old school in its concept, but when executed well, it’s a beauty.

I make my own ladyfingers, and I really would urge you to do the same for this dessert. The crunchy, shop-bought version have their place in tiramisu and sherry trifle, but fresh is best in this recipe. The reason? Here, they aren’t soaked in coffee or sherry, like they would be in other classic desserts. If you used store-bought for this Charlotte, they would be dry and not very pleasant to eat.

Baking your own gives you a soft and chewy texture, like a macaron. The best part is that they are pretty simple to make and use only three ingredients. The batter is piped onto lined trays before being dusted with a little icing sugar and baked until slightly crisp on the outside, with a soft and chewy centre. Leaving a little gap in between the piped fingers allows them to spread out a little while baking and stick together to form a long band of sponge fingers which can then be used as a collar around the outside of the cake. There is enough batter to make a base for your cake too; this gives the cake something stable to sit on and makes it easier to portion and serve.

While I don’t usually like using excessive amounts of food colouring in desserts, a drop of red colour here will turn your sponges a gorgeous blush hue, adding to the pink theme of the Charlotte.

I fill my finger-lined tin with a fresh raspberry mousse, spiked with a little rosewater. The rosewater works beautifully with the raspberries and gives the complete dish a subtle floral note. This is a gorgeous light dessert, perfect for the warmer months.

Recipe: Raspberry rose Charlotte  

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