This is not the cake I would typically make. Because it looks too fancy, meaning complicated. I would normally pass.
The other day when I was thinking about what to do with the leftover strawberry puree, strawberry mousse came up as it would be easy. When I kept on browsing the internet, I came across charlotte. Again, it might look too intimating to make because of the home-made ladyfingers. But I figured why couldn’t I use the store-bought ones sitting in my cabinet. No fuss. I wouldn’t never make ladyfigners from scratch.
I used this sponge cake for the cake base, the simplest sponge cake I’ve ever made. I basically halved the ingredients to make one piece of sheet cake about 1-cm height, and cut out small circles as the cake bases. You could use the 9-inch cake base and make one large charlotte.
Ingredients (two 5-inch cakes):
Sponge Cake Base
2 large eggs, room temperature, separated
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
2 teaspoons cold water
1 cup strained strawberry puree
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
10 to 15 fresh strawberries
To prepare the cake base, preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Scrape the meringue in another bowl. Set aside.
In the same mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar on high speed until thick and light in colour, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Mix for another minute.
Sift flour and the remaining sugar over top of egg yolk mixture, followed by folding in half of the meringue.
Fold the rest of the meringue into the batter until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the cake edge and place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare the strawberry mousse, combine the gelatin powder and water in a small bowl to soften.
Combine the strawberry puree and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and stir in the softened gelatin mixture. Let cool to room temperature.
Beat heavy cream on medium-high speed in a bowl of a standing mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the strawberry puree until well mixed.
To assemble, place two 5-inch springform pan rings on a large baking sheet.
Use a 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut two cake base circles. Place a cake base inside the bottom of each springform pan. Line the edges of the pan with upright ladyfingers.
Spoon half of the strawberry mousse into the centre of each charlotte. Keep the charlottes in the refrigerator to chill the mousse, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, gently loosen the springform pan rings. Tie a decorative bow around the outside of each cakes, and top with fresh strawberries.