Birthday Cake Club: Chocolate Raspberry Charlotte
A symphony of sponge cake, raspberries, and the lightest chocolate cream filling.
This cake has been on my list to make for years. It missed being in either of my cookbooks, but I am glad I finally have the recipe ready for you today. It’s a bit of a doozy, but each step is completely worth it. Just look how stunning the final cake is!
If you or someone you know tires of buttercream often (ahem, me) then you need this cake. This Chocolate Raspberry Charlotte is made up of sponge cake, chocolate Bavarian cream, and homemade ladyfingers. There is only like 1 tablespoon of butter in the entire cake. Instead we use lots of eggs and put our whipping skills to work.
Enjoy this cake, my May birthday babies! I sure did = )
Let’s talk sponge cake…
The main component of a sponge cake is eggs. Be it a genoise or one used for a Swiss roll, there is little fat beyond the egg yolks. While some recipes rely solely on the lifting power of whipped egg whites, this recipe uses baking powder for extra insurance.
After toying with a couple different recipes, I went back to my favorite hot milk sponge cake. It’s easy, straightforward, and always springy. It’s also the perfect sponge for when a cake needs to be refrigerated because it remains soft after chilling. The layers here are quite thin, so watch your bake time.
Ladyfingers are also a type of sponge cake. As you will see, they do not have any additional chemical leavening agents. Be sure not to deflate the batter when folding together, or the ladyfingers will spread and puff out in the oven.
If you aren’t already making your own ladyfingers, I definitely recommend giving it a try. Don’t stress if your piping skills aren’t up to par, they can be trimmed down to size after baking.
Warning: you will want to snack on these or dip ‘em in your morning coffee, so make sure you save enough for your cake!
The Bavarian cream filling is flavored with chocolate and studded with raspberries. It is super light and creamy, each bite with a burst of tart raspberry.
Yes, you need the gelatin to set the filling. I tested with a full 2 teaspoons to make sure I didn’t have a chocolate pudding puddle upon unmolding, and the texture was perfection. It’s similar to a chocolate mousse - utterly light and chocolatey without being too rich or decadent.
After all the steps in the recipe, I saved you one by using cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate. It tastes just as good without the extra work.
Lastly, the raspberries. It’s not quite berry season, so save the fresh ones for topping. Frozen raspberries are easier on the budget, so use those for the sauce and filling.
You could totally use a thin layer of raspberry jam instead of the sauce if you have some on hand or are looking to cut down on some dish washing.
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