Sensational Strawberry Charlotte

a lovely Strawberry Charlotte encircled by lady fingers and decorated with red strawberries and edible flowers.

Celebrate summer with this stunning Strawberry Charlotte Cake. Charlotte Aux Fraises is a no bake dessert consisting of a light and flavourful strawberry mousse encircled by a layer of softened ladyfingers. Simply style it with ripe red strawberries and edible flowers for an easy yet impressive grand finale.

Strawberries are the (unofficial) quintessential harbinger of summer and I am thrilled to bring you yet another FAB strawberry recipe! BTW if you type ‘strawberry’ into the search bar (upper right corner) you’ll find a treasure trove of recipes featuring this summer berry.

Quench your thirst with a Strawberry Mojito or refreshing Strawberry Limeade, bake them in a delicious crumble, cobbler, or muffin, or enjoy them as part of a summery salad.

a lovely Strawberry Charlotte encircled by lady fingers and decorated with red strawberries and edible flowers.

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Strawberry Charlotte

One look at this Strawberry Charlotte and you’ll fall in love. Not only is this exquisite dessert a pleasure to look at but it’s also simple to make. No, really! It’s as easy as assembling store-bought ladyfingers and mixing up a light and airy strawberry mousse.

The whimsical design means no fumbling with fondant, piping bags or other professional decorating methods yet it still looks incredibly impressive. Simply pile on gorgeous fresh strawberries and accent them with sprigs of fresh herbs and edible flowers. That’s it… no baking required!

a lovely Strawberry Charlotte encircled by lady fingers and decorated with red strawberries and edible flowers.

We have a few summer birthdays in our family and no bake recipes like Strawberry Charlotte Cake recipe, Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake and Chocolate Ice Box Cake are fabulous options for hot summer gatherings.

What is a Charlotte?

A Charlotte is an early 19th century classic French dessert similar to a bread pudding or icebox cake. It is made in mold lined with either sweet bread, sponge cake, Swiss roll, or biscuits, then filled with a custard, fruit purée, or mousse filling. The filling soaks up flavour and moisture, almost merging the two components into one.

An overhead view of a Strawberry Charlotte Cake decorated with red strawberries and edible flowers.

There are many styles of Charlottes, from warm pudding like desserts to the more common cool, light, and airy mousse filled Strawberry Charlotte, or Charlotte Aux Fraises. Other fillings include Bavarian cream (Charlotte Russe or Charlotte Parisienne), layers of brown bread and applesauce (sharlotka), and layers of fruit and butter.

Finally, there are mousse-filled variations containing other fruit purées including raspberry, mango, blueberry, pear, apricot, and even one fruit free version featuring chocolate in place of fruit.

Ingredients required to make a Strawberry Charlotte Cake.

Ingredients for Strawberry Charlotte

All ingredients for this recipe can be found at most grocery stores, though you may need to go to a specialty store for the ladyfingers. Try to source organic edible flowers from your garden or reputable market and always inspect them for bugs!

  • Water
  • Lime Juice
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Unflavoured Gelatine Granules
  • Strawberries
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Ladyfingers
  • Edible Flowers and Herbs for decorating
A series of process images showing how to make a mousse.

Unflavoured gelatin powder can be found near the Jello and pudding in the baking aisle. Each pouch contains about 2 1/2 teaspoons (7g) unflavoured gelatine. If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon, use one pouch of gelatine. In general, one pouch will gel 2 cups of liquid and up to 1 1/2 cups of solids.

You will need around 2 lbs of strawberries for this recipe. Wash them right before using and pick through them to separate the best looking ones for decorating.

This recipe was tested using full fat cream cheese and heavy whipping cream. Do not substitute with lighter versions.

Process images showing how to make and add strawberry puree to the base of a mousse.

Ladyfingers, or sponge fingers/Savoiardi, are low-density, dry, egg-based, sweet sponge cake biscuits roughly shaped like large fingers.

Finally, feel free to use edible flowers and fresh herbs from your garden or local market. Try camomile, pansies, violas, dandelions, cornflowers, tiny roses, lilacs, nasturtiums, marigolds, hibiscus, lavender, borage, zucchini flowers, calendula, snap dragons, or elderflowers.

How to Make a Strawberry Charlotte

While the instructions for this Charlotte recipe seem long, they are divided into smaller steps for ease of preparation. You will need a 10 inch springform pan for this recipe.

A series of process images showing how to build a Strawberry Charlotte cake.

Make the Syrup

The lime simple syrup helps soften the ladyfingers. Use a pastry brush to brush it all over before the strawberry mousse is added.

To make the syrup, combine 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, and 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute,
stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove syrup from the heat and cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes.

While the syrup cools, line the sides of a 10-inch springform pan with the ladyfingers, making sure the bottoms of the cookies are facing inward.  Line the bottom of the pan with the cookies, trimming to fit in the small spaces. Brush ladyfingers with lime syrup.

a lovely Strawberry Charlotte encircled by lady fingers and decorated with red strawberries and edible flowers.

Make the Strawberry Mousse

Let’s begin by blooming the gelatine. Pour 6 tablespoons cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatine crystals over the surface. Let stand 5 minutes.

While you wait, place 2 ½ cups strawberries, sugar, and lime juice in a blender and blend until it becomes a smooth purée. Heat the bloomed gelatine in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir until completely dissolved, then slowly pour into the strawberry mixture and whisk for 5 seconds.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add the strawberry jello mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat together until well combined.

Two plates containing slices of Strawberry Charlotte cake and cutlery on a table decorated with strawberries and edible flowers.

Next, use a stand mixer or hand mixer with chilled bowls and whisks to beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Pour half of the whipped cream into the strawberry cream cheese mixture and use a spatula to fold it in gently. Add remaining whipping cream and continue to fold until the colour of mousse becomes consistent.

Assemble the Strawberry Charlotte by pouring half of the mousse over the prepared ladyfingers and smoothing it out evenly. Layer the remaining strawberry pieces over the mousse the cover it with the remaining mousse. Smooth the surface, then place a piece of plastic wrap over the mousse and refrigerate for 4 hours.

A slice of Strawberry Charlotte Cake suspended in the air on a cake server.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and carefully peel away the plastic wrap. Release the spring form pan and remove the sides.

Place Strawberry Charlotte on a serving plate. Tie ladyfingers with string or ribbon and decorate the cake top with strawberries, edible flowers, and greenery. Remove string/ribbon to serve. Enjoy!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

A fork containing a bite of Strawberry mousse filling from a slice of Strawberry Charlotte Cake.

Useful Tips for this Recipe:

  • Bloom the gelatin granules in water before you begin. This helps open them up and prevents lumps or granular texture in the mousse.
  • For maximum aeration, carefully fold the whipped cream into the strawberry jello cream cheese mixture.
  • For best results refrigerate for at least 4 hours before slicing.  Keep any remaining slices refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • Have fun decorating your cake.  You can get small edible flowers from your garden or from your local flower shop. Try camomile, pansies, violas, dandelions, cornflowers, tiny roses, lilacs, nasturtiums, marigolds, hibiscus, lavender, borage, zucchini flowers, calendula, snap dragons, or elderflowers.
  • I highly recommend tying a ribbon or string around the outside of the ladyfingers when you are decorating it so the ladyfingers don’t separate from the cake.
A Pinterest image featuring a lovely Strawberry Charlotte encircled by lady fingers and decorated with red strawberries and edible flowers.

Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and I am the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen. It is my pleasure to share easy to follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.

If you make this Sensational Strawberry Charlotte Cake recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section or in a recipe rating. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please share your photos and tag me on Instagram. I hope you like this recipe!

Yield: 8 servings

Sensational Strawberry Charlotte

An overhead view of a Strawberry Charlotte Cake decorated with red strawberries and edible flowers.

Celebrate summer with this stunning Strawberry Charlotte Cake. Charlotte Aux Fraises is a no bake dessert consisting of a light and flavourful strawberry mousse encircled by a layer of softened ladyfingers. Simply style it with ripe red strawberries and edible flowers for an easy yet impressive grand finale.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 2 minutes

Ingredients

FOR THE SYRUP

  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated Sugar

FOR THE STRAWBERRY MOUSSE

  • 6 Tablespoons cold Water
  • 2 packets powdered Unflavored Gelatine
  • 3 cups sliced Strawberries; divided
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese; room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

DECORATIONS, ETC

  • 24 -26 Ladyfingers
  • 1 lb ripe Strawberries
  • String or ribbon; optional
  • Edible Flowers; optional
  • Fresh Mint, Thyme, or Rosemary; optional

Instructions

MAKE THE SYRUP

  1. Combine the water, fresh lime juice, and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.

PREPARE THE PAN

  1. While the syrup is cooling, line the sides of a 10-inch springform pan with the ladyfingers, making sure the bottoms of the cookies are facing inward.  Line the bottom of the pan with the cookies trimming to fit in the small spaces.
  2. Brush ladyfingers with lime syrup.

MAKE THE STRAWBERRY MOUSSE

  1. To bloom the gelatin, pour 6 tablespoons cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatine crystals over the surface. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. While you wait, place 2 ½ cups strawberries, sugar, and lime juice in a blender and blend until it becomes a smooth purée.
  3. Heat the bloomed gelatine in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir until completely dissolved, then slowly pour into the strawberry mixture and whisk for 5 seconds.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add the strawberry jello mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat together until well combined.
  5. Next, use a stand mixer or hand mixer with chilled bowls and whisks to beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  6. Pour half of the whipped cream into the strawberry jello cream cheese mixture and use a spatula to fold it in gently. Add remaining whipping cream and continue to fold until the colour of mousse becomes consistent.
  7. Place half of the mousse over the prepared ladyfingers and smooth it out evenly.
  8. Layer the remaining strawberry pieces over the mousse then spoon the remaining mousse over the strawberries and smooth out the surface.
  9. Press a piece of plastic wrap over the mouse and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  10. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and carefully peel away the plastic wrap. Release the spring form pan and remove the sides.
  11. Place Strawberry Charlotte on a serving plate. Tie ladyfingers with string or ribbon and decorate the cake top with strawberries, edible flowers, and greenery.
  12. Remove string/ribbon to serve. Enjoy!

Notes

*If you would like to fill the top of the ladyfingers, feel free to double the mousse layer, along with extra sliced strawberries. You will have less room for decorations.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 144mgSodium: 112mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 3gSugar: 24gProtein: 7g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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22 comments

  1. Jordan

    Perfect timing! I just got a ton of berries from an Amish neighbor last weekend and then I saw this recipe. Absolutely beautiful summer dessert. Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Excellent to hear! Fresh ripe summer strawberries are such a treat. You have great neighbours!

  2. Ramona

    This looks like the perfect dessert to have after a meal. Light and delicious!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It is quite nice. That strawberry mousse is perfection. Thanks for stopping by Ramona.

  3. Moop Brown

    This cake looks so decadent and tasty. I love the addition of the flowers and the impressive visual presentation.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Ah, our eyes eat first but I’m happy to report that my stomach also agrees. Thanks for stopping by Moop!

  4. Molly Kumar

    This is such a gorgeous cake and would love to make it for our special occasion. Loving the use of lady fingers along with fresh strawberries and edible flowers. Such a delicious combination.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Such a lovely combination. I’m glad you liked it Molly thanks for trying my recipe!

  5. Veronika

    Such a pretty cake! I’d never actually made a Charlotte cake before but it was so easy! Such a simple but so beautiful dessert!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes, it is surprisingly simple even though it looks technical! Glad you enjoyed it Veronika.

  6. Tammy

    Absolutely stunning presentation! I have to make this for my summer party. I have so many strawberries on hand too. Pinning for later!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Excellent to hear Tammy. You can never add too many strawberries!

  7. Leslie

    I am so in love with this Sensational Strawberry Charlotte! It is the perfect summer dessert!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I’m so glad you love it Leslie, thank you for letting me know!

  8. Jacqueline Debono

    This is this the most incredible strawberry dessert! Mine didn’t look quite as beautiful as yours but it tasted divine. I used strawberries from my garden!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Using strawberries you grew yourself would be incredibly satisfying. Well done!

  9. Kathryn

    This strawberry cake is gorgeous and I love how easy it is for summer! The outer cookie part is my favorite and is so show stopping! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you so much for your kind words Kathryn. The biscuits are my fave too!

  10. Ashley

    I absolutely love this dessert! Not only is it super impressive, it’s also a make-ahead recipe so I can get it in the fridge in advance on focus on the rest of the meal. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes! and it’s so much fun to make and ‘decorate’!

  11. Swathi

    Thanks for sharing this classic recipe, my family loved it, and I followed exactly as you have written.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I am so glad you loved it Swathi, happy summer!

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