Tiramisu Charlotte


I have the GBBO to thank for my obsession with Charlotte Russe cakes, it was one of the showstopper challenges in series six and I just can’t get enough of them now. I’d actually never thought of making a Charlotte Russe before that moment, but after a bit of frantic googling I came across lots of different recipes and decided to give it a go. I haven’t attempted the sponge fingers as yet, partly because I’ve been more interested in making the fillings… but also because my local Tesco stock the Savoiardi brand and they really are great. Promise I’ll make my own next time!

Anyway… after trying a few different combinations such as raspberry and lemon, dark and white chocolate and then chestnut and pear I fancied doing something different and decided to make a tiramisu version.  It was gobbled up pretty quick at our recent Macmillan coffee morning which is always a good sign, I’ll definitely make this one again.

Tiramisu Charlotte Gateau

Makes: Roughly 9″ round cake
Time:  hours + lots of chilling time

This recipe will require the following elements:

  • Génoise Sponge
  • 1 packet of sponge lady fingers (Savoiardi brand if you can find them)
  • Coffee syrup
  • Mascarpone filling
  • Cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate to decorate


Vanilla Sponge 

  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • 160g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, fan 150°C. Grease and line 2 x 8 inch cake tins with non-stick paper.

Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg little by little beating well between each additional bit.  Fold in the sifted flour until incorporated and then divide mix between the two tins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Let the tins cool on a rack for a few minutes before turning out and peeling away the baking paper. Once cooled trim the top of each cake using a large knife so that they are completely flat (as you can see from the pic I didn’t do that good a job of this!).

Coffee syrup

  • 1 cup of espresso or strong coffee without sugar;
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Marsala wine

Stir in the sugar to the hot coffee until dissolved. Once cool mix in the Marsala and place in bowl.

Mascarpone cream

  • 240ml of chilled whipping cream
  • 100g sugar
  • 4 egg yolks from fresh eggs
  • 450g mascarpone cheese
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Marsala wine
  • 2 leaves of gelatine

Soak gelatine in cold water until it softens. Beat the cold whipped cream until you get stiff peaks and then put aside. In another bowl beat together the sugar, egg yolks, mascarpone and Marsala with a mixer until the cream becomes light and fluffy.

Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine and heat in the microwave for a short burst 5-10 secs max until it softens. Mix the gelatine into the mascarpone quickly with a balloon whisk and then fold into the whipped cream gentle.  Cover with Clingfilm and place in fridge until assembly time.

To assemble:

  • Cut an 8″ round in each sponge to make 2 rounds.
  • Take the first round of sponge and moisten with the coffee syrup on both sides using a pastry brush.
  • Place on a cake board and put an extendable cake ring around it to act as the sides (alternatively you could use a larger loose bottomed baking tin instead).
  • Cut 2cm off the bottom of each sponge finger
  • Lightly dunk each of the sponge fingers (non-sugared side) in the coffee syrup and line the tin with them (sugar side facing out). There should be just enough space for the fingers to fit between the sponge and the wall of the tin and they should be tightly packed. You may need to cut the sponge down a little to get the right size if using a set sized tin.
  • Spread 1/3 of the mascarpone cream over the sponge using a palette knife to get a nice evenly layer.
  • Sprinkle cocoa powder over the mascarpone cream.
  • Moisten the second sponge layer on both sides with the coffee syrup and place on top of the mascarpone cream.
  • Spread another 1/3 of the mascarpone cream over the sponge using a palette knife to get a nice even layer over the sponge.
  • Place the remaining mascarpone cream in a pastry bag with a large round nozzle and decorate the cake with little peaks/kisses.
  • Dust with cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate.
  • Cover in Clingfilm and place in fridge for minimum 2 hours before serving.



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