Charlotte Russe

charlotte russeA Charlotte is a versatile desert, you can make one out of stale bread, biscuits, sponge cake, cookies, even bread crumbs. Just layer it in a mold with a fruit purée, custard cream, whipped cream, citrus curd ,etc.., they will all be called a Charlotte. “Charlotte Russe” was invented by a French chef in England during Georgian Era, sometime in the 1800′s in honor of the British king’s daughter Charlotte and a Russian tzar Alexander I. It consisted of layers of ladyfingers and Bavarian crème. There is also a “Charlotte Royale” made out of cut up layers of jam filled jelly rolls and crème. People of Russian/Soviet descent make a type of Charlotte called “Charlotka”. It’s basically a sponge cake with fruit baked in s a layer, similar to the upside down cake. This year we celebrated Father’s day a day earlier. My mom invited us all to her house for a late lunch(that slowly turned into dinner). I never planned to make this particular desert for Father’s Day, in fact I didn’t plan to make any dessert at all. It was just on a whim that I bought a huge package of “Savoiadrdi” cookies/Ladyfingers, while shopping for my new obsessive sushi making. I had about an hour and a half to kill, before getting ready to leave to my parents house, and thought I’ll make a quick ” Charlotka”. When I started – I didn’t think I would write a blog post about it, but once I forgot to add fruit to the sponge cake dough – I got inspired to make a layer cake, and then thought a” Charlotte Russe” was much prettier than a layer cake. So here comes my version, with lemon scented sponge-cake soaked in apricot jam & cognac syrup (I just can’t stay away from this stuff when cooking lately), Greek Yogurt, whipped cream and lots of strawberries.

Cake Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • package of “Savoiardi” cookies/Ladyfingers

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt, or 1 cup regular yogurt, strained
  • 1 cup raspberries mashed and strained to remove seeds, or 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 8 oz apricot preserves
  • 2 packages  of  “Dr. Oetker Whip it, stabilizer”
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon wedge (optional)
  • Unflavoured unsweetened Jello.
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries sliced
  • 1/2 cup water

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strawberry or red currant jelly (seedless)
  • 1 tablespoon cognac or Orange liquor


  • Stand or hand mixer
  • 8 or 9″ Cake pan
  • 9″ spring form pan
  • small sauce pan



  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour your cake pan.
  2. Whip eggs, salt and sugar in a bowl with a hand mixer on medium, until very light in color and volume doubles
  3. Mix flour with baking powder and lemon zest
  4. Slowly add flour to the egg mixture
  5. Add batter to the cake pan, place in a middle rack in the oven and bake for about 30 -40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Run a thin knife around the cake invert it on a cooling rack or plate and let cool.
  7. Level the top of the cake by cutting of the bump horizontally.
  8. Split the cake into two layers.



  1.   Boil strained raspberries and 2 tablespoons sugar in a sauce pan. Add Package of Jello and whisk, quickly add mixture to greek yogurt, and cool.
  2. Whip heavy cream with the stabilizer and powdered sugar and a couple of drops of lemon juice , until peaks form.
  3. Mix cognac with preserves and 1/2 cup water, boil and strain to remove apricot pulp.


  1. Spongecake layers should fit into a spring form pan in such a  way, so that you could fit a layer of ladyfingers vertically. If it’s to tight – cut the spongecake layers to fit.
  2. Pour the apricot preserve  evenly over the two cake layers.
  3. Add a layer of cake into the spring form pan. Surround it with ladyfingers.
  4. 20130615_115646Add half of the whipped cream mixture. Cover with a  layer of strawberries.  Add the Greek yogurt. Cover with a second cake layer. Cover with the rest of whipped cream, and decorate with the rest of the strawberries. Refrigerate for 2 hours.charlotte2
  5. Just before serving, glaze the strawberries with heated, strained and cooled jelly and alcohol mixture.  Remove the cake from the mold unto a platter and  Bon Appetit !


2 responses to “Charlotte Russe

  1. This cake is soo beautiful and seems easy and lots of fun to make, I can just see how my daughters will love helping me out. Larisa, you are the best. btw, I walways wanted to learn to make “sharlotka”, but never go to it. Thank for your recipy with a piece of history! You are amazing!

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