The Charlotte Russe Cake is definitively on the easy side when it comes to baking. This no-bake dessert looks impressive and yet it’s completely approachable.
Prepare the Charlotte Russe Cake the day before you plan to serve it, allow it to chill overnight, and decorate it the following day. I know the hardest part is waiting for this dessert to set up, but at least it doesn’t require gelatin.
This cake is sure to impress. If you’ve ever been asked to bring a dessert to a friend or family member’s house but don’t have too much time, a cake with ladyfingers is always a good choice, loved by everyone.
Here’s the ingredient list with notes for some of them.
- I use homemade ladyfingers. However, if you use store-bought ones, keep in mind that the size is often smaller, so you may need to adjust the quantity.
- Heavy whipping cream with at least 30-35% milk fat; don’t use a light version. The fat helps to whip and the filling to set.
- Mascarpone cheese, use full fat. It helps the cream to hold its shape.
- Sweetened condensed milk helps to achieve a thick consistency, perfect for a Charlotte cake, while still keeping the cream smooth.
- Strawberry cordial to mix with the milk, optional, just milk is fine as the taste is subtle.
- A 7-inch cake ring. I use an adjustable cake ring with a 3-inch height. Alternatively, use a springform pan.
- Acetate roll – 3 inches in height, also called cake collar, to line the inner cake ring. Use parchment paper as an alternative.
- a large pastry bag
- palette spatula or the back of a spoon
- a pastry brush
- electric mixer
- rubber spatula
How to make a Charlotte Russe Cake
Here’s an overview of the recipe with step-by-step photos to help you in the process.
Start with the cream filling: In a large mixing bowl, add heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a lined 7-inch cake ring, place the ladyfingers up straight and side-by-side along the inner side (before: trim off the rounded edge from one end of the biscuits so that they’re flat and at the bottom with ladyfingers) leaving no gaps.
Brush the ladyfingers with the milk gently.
Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag and spread a layer of cream over the ladyfingers.
Spoon the mixed berries over the whipped cream.
Top with whipped cream and spread evenly with a palette spatula or the back of a spoon to level.
Lightly soak the remaining ladyfingers into the milk and place them on the whipped cream.
Repeat the process: whipped cream, fruits, whipped cream, and spread evenly to make sure the surface is flat and level.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for 6 hours or, best overnight.
The next day, carefully remove the cake ring and acetate roll (or the parchment paper). Garnish the top with mixed berries.
Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions at the end of this post.
This Charlotte Russe cake is easy but here are a few tips to make sure you succeed.
- To prevent the ladyfinger biscuits from becoming soggy, brush them lightly with milk for the side and bottom layers, and for the second layer in the middle of the cake, quickly dip them without allowing them to soak for too long.
- Make sure to whip the cream until stiff peaks.
- Use a pastry bag to spread the whipped cream; it makes things easier. And use a palette spatula or the back of a spoon to level it before adding the next layer.
- Allow time for chilling: place the cake in the fridge for 6 hours or preferably overnight. It will allow the filling to set properly and the ladyfingers to absorb the moisture and become soft.
- Decorate the Charlotte cake after the chilling time or before you’re ready to serve to keep the fruits as fresh as possible.
- Instead of mascarpone cheese, use cream cheese. Make sure to use full fat cream cheese. Note the flavor will differ slightly, so adjust the amount of powdered sugar to balance out any sourness.
- You can vary the fruits and adapt them to the season. Choose fruits that do not release an excess of water. These flavor combinations work well:
– Peach and apricot
– Mango and pineapple
– Golden kiwi, pineapple, and strawberry
– If you prefer a single flavor, like a raspberry Charlotte, use only raspberries.
- Infuse and flavor the heavy cream with lemon zest, spices, or herbs the day before or a few hours prior. In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil (just until the first bubbles). Pour it into a heatproof bowl, add your lemon zest or herbs, stir well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate as soon as possible. The following day, strain the cream through a sieve before using it.
- Want to make an 8-inch Charlotte Cake? Multiple each ingredient by 1.31
How to store a Charlotte Russe Cake?
Wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can we freeze this cake?
Nope, I wouldn’t recommend it. You will end up with a soggy cake and mushy fruits.
Can I make it ahead of time?
It’s already recommended to make it the day before you plan to serve it and let it chill overnight. Eventually, you can make it up to 2 days in advance. Make sure you wrap it in plastic wrap, keep it refrigerated, and decorate it the day you serve the Charlotte cake.
Can I use store-bought Ladyfinger Biscuits?
Yes, keep in mind that store-bought ladyfingers differ in taste, texture, how they absorb moisture and size. Be sure to adjust the quantity.
Want more fruit desserts, try these recipes next:
If you tried this Charlotte Russe Cake or any recipe on the blog, let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment below or a rating.