Chocolate Charlotte

Charlottes are mousse-type cakes, usually surrounded by ladyfingers, and tied with a ribbon for that extra special touch.

March 2009 | By
Chocolate Charlotte
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Date Published

March 2009

Charlottes are mousse-type cakes, usually surrounded by ladyfingers, and tied securely with a ribbon to give it that extra special touch.

1 (8-inch round) cake 
Prep Time
45 minutes plus about
      2 hours for cake to set before serving


For the pastry cream
2 1/2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 ounces semisweet or
      bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped
4 tablespoons butter

For the cream filling (Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons gelatin
4 tablespoons water
1 recipe pastry cream (see recipe above)
5 cups all-purpose cream

For the white chocolate sauce
1/2 cup all-purpose cream
1 cup white chocolate, chopped

For the cake base
1 pack store-bought ladyfingers, approximately 20 pieces
1 8-inch round sponge or chiffon cake


1  Make the pastry cream: Bring the milk to a simmer in a heavy bottomed saucepan.

2  Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, stir together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla.

3  Gradually add hot milk to the sugar mixture, whisking steadily. Pour the milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium  heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens slightly, about 7 to 10 minutes.

4  Make the cream filling: Take saucepan off the heat and stir in chocolate and butter, until mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, stir together gelatin and water. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes, then place the bowl over hot water for a few seconds to dissolve the gelatin.

Whip the pastry cream. Add the gelatin and mix until combined. Set aside.

Whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into the pastry cream mixture until just combined.

Make the white chocolate sauce: Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan. Turn off the heat, stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth. Cool and set aside.

Make the cake base: Assemble the cake: Line the sides of a 9-inch springform pan with an acetate strip with the same height as the springform pan.

10  Place the sponge cake inside the springform pan.

11  Line the sides with ladyfingers.

12  Pour the whipped chocolate cream filling over the sponge cake.

13  Drop spoonfuls of the white chocolate sauce on top of the whipped chocolate cream filling—dropping one spoonful at the center and the rest around it. Using a spatula, knife, or toothpick, swirl the white chocolate sauce around to form a lattice design.

14   Place in the refrigerator to set for about 3 to 4 hours, or freeze for 2 hours until set.

15  Before serving, unmold the cake from the springform pan very carefully.

16  Tie a big bow around the ladyfingers, and serve on a cake stand if desired.


•  Temperature tip
: Make sure the gelatin is at room temperature before adding it to the pastry cream to avoid lumps. Pastry cream will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to three days.

•  Time-saving tip:
To speed up the process, you can buy chiffon or sponge cake from your neighbourhood bakeshop or you can use the Ladyfingers for the bottom layer too. Use good-quality chocolate for the best texture and flavor. You may place the cake in the freezer to make it set faster, then thaw at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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