I've been dying to make a charlotte cake for some time now, especially after being fueled by pictures like this and this. And this one too. So when my birthday recently arrived, I decided to make my own cake (is it weird to make your own birthday cake?).
Of course I had to make my own ladyfingers from scratch. My first batch looked horrible though (I won't be posting pictures of them or including a link to that recipe) - the batter was way too thin and the ladyfingers came out very flat and rectangle-shaped. (Luckily, my kids loved them - they ate most of those and they didn't go to waste!) So I made a second batch using a different recipe, which came out much better.
I love anything and everything coffee-flavored, so I decided to fill my charlotte with alternating layers of coffee chiffon cake and espresso mousse. (I used the same recipe that I used for coffee chiffon cake and coffee chiffon mini cupcakes).
After lining the perimeter of a cake ring with my homemade ladyfingers, I sliced my coffee chiffon cake in half horizontally, and used half of the cake as the bottom layer to my charlotte. Then I topped it with a layer of espresso mousse (which was just heavy whipping cream, whipped with confectioner's sugar, espresso powder, and gelatin which had been bloomed). Next came the other half of the sliced cake, and then another layer of the mousse.
After dusting the top with cocoa powder, I decorated the cake with fresh raspberries. Then I let it chill in the fridge for a few hours before unmolding it and adding the finishing touch - a nice red ribbon tied around the outside.
For some reason, I didn't like the look of the wide satin ribbon - it seemd to overpower the look of the cake. So I changed it to thinner gauzy ribbon instead.
The resulting cake was light and airy. It had just the perfect amount of coffee flavor. And I actually ended up with three birthday cakes that day! My best friend Sue made me a decadent and moist chocolate cake (thank you, Sue!), and my Mom bought me a mocha cake from an Asian bakery (thanks Mom!). I guess it's no secret that I love cake!!!