From time to time, we get invited to dinner, and invited to make dessert for the occasion. This weekend, our contribution was a raspberry charlotte from a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated.
There are two insights from the magazine: one, using a chiffon cake is sturdier and easier than making ladyfingers or jelly rolls to line the outside of the pan; two, instead of a standard Bavarian cream, which can be heavy and springy, a raspberry curd blended with whipped cream achieves the perfect texture.
Another clever idea is baking the cake batter in a round pan for the bottom, and a square pan for the sides. The square is cut into four rectangular strips that form the perimeter of the charlotte. Since the layers are thin, the baking time is very short.
You need to follow the cake pan sizes exactly, as there isn’t a lot of room for adjustment. The 8” cake will fit perfectly in a 9” springform band, leaving just enough room for the rectangular strips to make a snug fit. The strips also line the circumference exactly. Definitely measure and portion 1 cup of batter for the round cake pan, as you want the square cake to be thicker.
The filling is not too complicated, but does involve a lot of bowls. Straining the curd through a sieve has the added benefit of removing the raspberry seeds, which I liked.
At the dinner, this dessert got a lot of compliments. The raspberry flavour in the filling was quite pure, and the cake was delicate but held up to the filling. Five stars, would make again.
Truc, the blogger behind Treats, has the recipe on her blog, as well as great photos of the exterior and interior of this cake.
I definitely overdid it on the decorations. Not only did I use fresh raspberries to garnish the top, as well as the marbled jam effect, but I also made chocolate curls (see this guide for a tutorial), as well as patterned chocolate discs. Here’s a tutorial.