Indulge in this delightful and super easy French strawberry Charlotte cake recipe made with just 1 preparation and which will make the ideal dessert for any occasion, or just to enjoy the strawberry season.
What is Charlotte aux Fraises?
This Strawberry charlotte cake recipe (charlotte aux fraises) is a classic French dessert generally made with sponge fingers known as ladyfingers biscuits (biscuits à la cuillère or boudoirs in French) which enclose a creamy filling and fresh fruits.
This no-bake dessert, inspired by the pudding, is usually assembled in a Charlotte pan or a simple cake pan, which gives it its distinctive and elegant shape, a French-style cake perfect for your summer dessert occasions, from a birthday to Mother's Day.
My version of French strawberry Charlotte cake is quite similar to Charlotte russe cake because it's made with a whipped cream filling, but much easier because it's made without gelatine.
Unlike Bavarian cream, which is a bit like a strawberry mousse and requires some time in the fridge to ensure the filling doesn't fall out, I wanted to make a super-easy recipe with a simple mascarpone whipped cream that goes perfectly with fresh strawberries.
Why you'll love this recipe
Ingredients you need for this recipe
You need these ingredients to make this easy strawberry charlotte cake:
- Ladyfinger cookies: For a quicker recipe, go straight for store-bought ladyfingers and for a recipe from scratch you can follow this homemade ladyfingers recipe.
- Strawberries: Use seasonal fresh strawberries, or replace them with fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries, exotic fruits, etc.
- Mascarpone: Essential for making mascarpone whipped cream, use cold, full-fat mascarpone cheese.
- Heavy Cream: Only full-fat heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, cold with at least 30% or 35% fat content.
- Powdered sugar: No granulated sugar or flavored sugar, just powdered sugar so you don't feel any grains in the filling.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds, or simply add a bag of vanilla sugar.
- Milk: To soak the ladyfingers, you can also replace it with strawberry syrup or orange juice.
How to make this French Strawberry Charlotte Cake
Here are some quick visual instructions. Don't forget that full recipe instructions with exact ingredients can be found in the recipe card below!
- Prepare a pastry ring or a springform cake pan 7-8 inches/ 18-20 cm in diameter, or a cake pan with a removable bottom, or a springform pan, placed on a cake board or large plate.
- Cut the edges of sponge cake fingers so that they are all the same height.
- Lightly dip the backs of the ladyfinger's biscuits into a bowl containing a little milk to soak them a bit.
- Place the ladyfingers on the edge of the pan to form a crown.(Note that it's not the flat part that sticks to the pan)
- Place the ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan to fill it completely.
- Place all ingredients, cold mascarpone cheese, cold heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Mix with an electric mixer for about 3-4 minutes until thick and firm.
- Fill the bottom of the pan with a layer of mascarpone whipped cream just enough to cover the fingers sponge (you can use a piping bag).
- Add sliced strawberries in 2 or chopped strawberries and cover them completely with mascarpone whipped cream.
- Repeat with another layer of cookies, frosting, strawberries and more frosting until you reach the top of the pan.
- Smooth with an angled spatula and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
- Carefully unmold the cake by pulling it out from the bottom or gently removing the pastry ring.
- Add whole or sliced in half fresh strawberries to decorate the top of the cake.
- Serve immediately with a strawberry sauce and enjoy.
Tips for this recipe
Store in the fridge: For 3-4 days under plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
Can I freeze it? I don't recommend freezing, as this dessert contains fresh fruit and very fragile sponge fingers, and may thaw badly and collapse.
Frequently Asked Questions
If possible, use an adjustable pastry ring, a removable-bottom pan or a springform pan to easily unmold your charlotte cake.
If the filling remains soft, you may not have whipped the mascarpone whipped cream to a thick consistency, or it may not have rested in the refrigerator long enough.
More Strawberry Cake Recipes
I hope you love this strawberry Charlotte cake. If you make it, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Happy Baking!Print