I made a Tiramisu Charlotte Cake at a request of a friend. It’s meant for her sister-in-law who loves Baileys Irish Cream and because of this order (which was made way in advance), I had my brother purchase a bottle of the liquor when he came back 2 months ago from overseas. Oh, the things you will do to bake a cake.
So, this is not the first time I make a Charlotte Cake. I made a Strawberry Mousse Charlotte Cake when my sister and her family were back and also once for da man for V-day. However, each time, I used the store-bought ladyfingers because well, it’s definitely more convenient to do that. This time round, I thought I should just go the extra mile to bake them as I find it will make a prettier cake. I had also seen how this was made during my advance baking course at CSCA so I thought I should just go through the notes and bake it again, this time without Chef E around!
It takes quite an effort and to me, the piping has to be good. Since they are rather molten, it can be quite a mess if you fumble. I also did a test-run for this cake as I’m not sure if the amount of liquor is sufficient and in the end, have to double the portion of the Irish cream, following this recipe.
My friend wanted to bring the cake in to Malaysia and that means I have to think of keeping this cake in a cold box. I had fun scouting for a 8 by 4 inch box for this 6-by-3-inch cake. As a general guide, you need a cake board 2 inch wider than the one you are baking. So if I am baking a 6-inch cake, I would need an 8-inch cake board and box.
The next thing is to look for ways to keep the cake cold. I was reminded by how my box of Royce chocolates were kept in an aluminium-foil-type of packaging complete with ice packs and thought I should follow suit. Daiso to the rescue. Da man told me that they sell stuff like that and we trooped down one fine day to look for them.
And in the end, this is the how the cake was wrapped, packed and delivered.
(Adapted from Miette and CSCA’s class notes)
Enough to make a 6-by-3 inch charlotte cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a pencil, draw two 3 1/2-by-10 inch rectangular templates on the paper, one above the other. Turn the paper over and press against the bottom of the pan so you can see the pencil lines you made.
2. Fit a piping bag with a medium round tip (1/2 inch). Sift the flour into a bowl and set aside.
3. Using a handheld mixer, whisk the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar on medium-high speed until thick and ribbony. Set aside.
4. Using a standmixer, combine the egg whites and the remaining caster sugar in the bowl and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into the yolks in three additions, just until no streaks remain.
5. Sift one-third of the flour over the egg mixture and fold in gently. Fold in the remaining flour in two more additions, until just combined. Fill the piping bag with the batter. Pipe each finger using the lines to guide you and leave a little space between each finger so that they will join together when they bake. If there are pointed peaks after you have piped each ladyfinger, simply wet your fingers and press the peaks down lightly with your damp fingers (see above right). Dust the tops of the pipped batter with confectioners sugar. Let the unbaked cookies stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
* You would need to refill the piping bag. To avoid making a mess, secure the bottom of the piping bagwith a clip while refilling. Release the clip at the bottom once you have refilled and secure the top part so that the batter will not overflow as you pipe.
6. Preheat the oven to 180C.
7. Dust the ladyfingers again with confectioners sugar and bake until just beginning to turn golden. My oven took about 15 to 20 minutes so do use the colours as a guide. Transfer to wire racks to cool. As soon as they are just barely cool, use immediately or wrap in plastic wrap. Be careful not to let the bands break apart. Store in airtight containers for up to 2 days.
* To assemble using ladyfingers even for the next day, freeze them when they are cool. (Ladyfingers stale quickly unless soaked with a dessert syrup). Place them in a plastic container with waxed paper between the layers and freeze them for no more than 10 days.
For the remaining batter, I bake it in a 6 inch springform cake tin for about 30 minutes. Once this is baked, let it cool and you are good to assemble.
You would need to cut the cake into thin slices as the different layers.
These will be needed as you assemble. For the actual measurement, refer to my previous post on Tiramisu cake.
Let it chill for at least 4 hours before removing the cake from the tin. I chill it overnight.
mise en place
Assemble! I top it with valrhona cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.