Strawberry Charlotte Royale

Strawberry Charlotte Royale | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

The truth is the last time I made a Strawberry Charlotte Royale was in culinary school and that was a very long time ago. I have been meaning to make one, but just never got around to it. Then I bought a copy of Soulful Baker, by one of my favorite bakers, Julie Jones, and she had the most beautiful Charlotte Royale in the book. I took it as a sign that I needed to make this regal (it’s in the name) dessert. Julie was my muse, but being incapable of leaving things well enough alone, I wanted to make the filling in two separate flavors. I made a Grand Marnier Bavarian Cream and then added Strawberry coulis to it for the second layer. It’s not quite as simple as a banana bread, so I’ve made a video on instagram to walk you through the process. The steps are not at all difficult, but they do require a bit of planning and some timing.

Strawberry Charlotte Royale | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

Strawberry Charlotte Royale

inspired by Soulful Baker: From highly creative fruit tarts and pies to chocolate, desserts and weekend brunch by Julie Jones

Sponge Cake – I have tried many recipes and I landed on this one inspired by Mary Barry, because it was the easiest, with the fewest steps and still had a nice texture. Mary’s recipe required self rising flour, which is quite popular in England, but difficult for us to find here in the states, so I created my own by mixing all-purpose and cake flours, then adding a bit of baking powder.

100g all-purpose flour

50g cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

6 large eggs

150g castor sugar (see my instagram video to make your own) – don’t try to skip this, I learned that the hard way.

Confectioners’ sugar for towel

2 cups strawberry or raspberry jam

Strawberry Coulis

1 pound strawberries, fresh or frozen

2 tablespoons sugar

Bavarian Cream

1 cup milk

60g castor sugar, plus 1 teaspoon

4 egg yolks

5 ounces grand mariner or other orange liqueur or brandy or fruit puree

2 packages powdered gelatin (or 7 sheets)

3 tablespoons water

1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, lightly whipped to soft peak

To prepare the sponge cake:

Preheat oven to 450°F, butter and line a half baking sheet (16×11-inch) and a quarter sheet pan (13×9-inch) with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flours and baking powder, then sift them.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until tripled in volume and the eggs sit on the surface of the foam when the beater is lifted out of the bowl. See my instagram video to watch me make it.

Sift half of the flour mixture over the egg foam and gently fold it in. Repeat with the remaining flour. As soon as the flour is incorporated fill the two prepared pans, using 2/3 of the batter in the larger pan and 1/3 in the smaller one.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the cake is set, light gold and just starting to pull away from the sides.

Immediately run a knife around the edge of the larger cake pan and invert onto a kitchen towel that is generously covered with confectioners’ sugar. Peel off the parchment paper, dust the surface with more confectioners’ sugar then return the parchment and tightly roll up the sponge. All to cool completely.

Allow the smaller cake to cool in the pan and then cover with plastic to prevent it from drying.

Once the rolled cake is cool, unroll it and cover with a thin layer of jam. Starting at the short end, roll the cake into a tight spiral that goes half way up the cake. Cut off the spiral log, wrap it in plastic wrap to hold it’s shape and continue to roll with the remaining cake. If you want a larger or smaller spiral, you can roll it until you have the size you desire. Once the cakes are rolled and wrapped, freeze them for at least an hour.

Cut the frozen cake into 1/4-inch-thick disks.

Line a sphere mold or bowl with plastic, then line the mold with the disks of cake. Make sure they are tight, so the filling can’t be seen when inverted out of the mold. Set the lined mold aside.

To make the filling:

Gelatin – mix the gelatin and water, allow to sit until bloomed.

Custard – whisk the yolks, sugar and grand Marnier together in a medium bowl. In a small pot, bring the milk and 1 teaspoon sugar to a simmer. Liaison the hot milk into the yolk mixture until the yolks are warm, then return them into the pot and cook over low heat until the mixture is thickened. Add half the bloomed gelatin and stir until it dissolves. Strain into a bowl, set over an ice bath, and stir often, until chilled. (see my instagram video to watch me make the grand marnier custard).

Once the custard is cool, fold in the whipped cream. Pour half the mixture into the cake lined mold. Refrigerate the mold for about an hour. Leave the remaining custard mixture at room temperature, so the gelatin won’t set.

Strawberries – Cook the strawberries and sugar together in a pot until they are very soft. Blend with an Hand Blender. Add the remaining gelatin and continue to stir over low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Strain and set over an ice bath to cool. Add 1 cup of the strawberries to the remaining custard, then spoon this over the set custard in the mold. The filling should fill the mold almost to the top. Return to the refrigerator.

Measure the area of filling in the mold and create a template. Use the template that fits that area to cut a circle out of the remaining small pan of cake. Place that round of cake over the filling, cover with plastic and allow to chill for several hours or overnight.

Strawberry Charlotte Royale | ZoeBakes photo by Zoë François

Invert onto a serving plate and serve chilled.