During the last week, I have been spending most of my time in the kitchen, mixing ingredients by hand and giving my oven a workout. Halfway through my two weeks off from work and school, it is a welcome break to spend time away from the everyday grind, a chance to relax and get my thoughts back in order. Though I like to imagine that I will be productive with my newly found time, the last week has proven otherwise, as reality TV shows and sleeping in have sucked away more time than I would like to admit.
Maybe it is okay to let myself be lazy every once in awhile.
With more time in the kitchen, I have been playing around with elaborate, multi-step desserts, including cakes. While I love a good layered cake, I could not decide on a flavor, arguing back and forth with myself between fruit and chocolate based cakes and fillings. While fruit is lovely, it had been so long since I cut my fork through a thick chocolate cake that the thought grew tempting.
Nevertheless, after a walk outdoors with the weather still settling into early spring, a chocolate cake suddenly seemed too heavy for this delicate time of year. With buds just forming on the bare tree limbs, a sweet, light fruit cake seemed to fit the bill. After a walk through the local market, with pounds of red, ruby strawberries on sale, the deal was sealed.
Charlotte cakes originated in France in the early nineteenth century. They traditionally involve fruit purees, sponge cake, and custards or whipped cream frosting. This particular Strawberry Charlotte is not quite as the original cake, but the spirit is just the same. Instead of layers of sponge cake, I used my favorite light vanilla cake recipe and used a strawberry mousse to fill it. Lined with ladyfingers, either homemade or store bought, the cake becomes quite the sight.
While I did not have one on hand, a white or red ribbon tied around the middle would add a gorgeous finishing touch.
This Strawberry Charlotte is a spring cake that is perfect for all of life's celebrations. Layers of light vanilla cake are filled with an airy strawberry mousse and fresh strawberries and topped off with a coating of whipped cream icing. The strawberry mousse is made from pureed strawberries, which gives the cake a bright fruit flavor. The cake is lined with ladyfingers and graced with whole, fresh strawberries making this a simple, but impressive cake to decorate.