Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strawberry Charlotte

A Charlotte is apparently a dessert made by taking cake or soft cookies and lining a mold or dish, then filling it with layers of custard or ice-cream...Repeating these layers until the container is filled.  I have a book called Cakes 1001 Classic Recipes from Around the World, that has a photo of a beautiful cake with layers of pound cake, vanilla ice-cream and fresh strawberries on the front cover.  Ever since I received this book as a gift a number of years ago, I've been wanting to make this cake...I just never had the time or occasion until now.  My mother-in-law's birthday was July 15th and the family celebrated together...And I got to make the cake!  Yippee.

The recipe for this Strawberry Charlotte called for the basic pound cake recipe.  The pound cake has 2tsp each of vanilla and almond extracts...I thought this was a little heavy on the almond, but the adults liked it as it turned out.  I made fresh homemade vanilla ice-cream, since I needed softened ice-cream and I had the heavy cream on hand.  I let the ice-cream "ripen" in the canister in the freezer for at least 30 mins but should have let it harden up a while longer.  When I cut into the cake at the party, much of the ice-cream had soaked into the pound cake slices. It tasted fantastic but it wasn't much to look at and didn't hold up when I sliced it.

It calls for white wine and kirsch to be drizzled over the pound cake slices, but since young girls were going to be eating this cake, I opted to make a simple strawberry syrup from the Confetti Cakes Cookbook.  Basically, I made the simple syrup recipe as described in the book and then pureed two good strawberries with a little water and added that at the end.  I tried a little on top of a slice of cake and it tasted fine to me.   Once there's layers of ice-cream and fresh strawberries piled on top you couldn't taste the syrup but I'm sure it helped make the cake moist.

The recipe told me to slice the strawberries in half but I sliced them into thinner slices, and I'm glad I did.  They were hard as rocks after being in the freezer for a few hours.

I think I would make a few changes to this recipe if I were to do it again.  I might puree the strawberries so you don't have to bite into what feels like stones.  I would let the ice-cream firm up a bit more before adding it to the layered cake.  And I'm on the fence about the 2 tsp of almond extract.  It seemed a bit strong...But people commented that they liked it, so maybe I'll leave it that way.  Not sure.

Anyway, here's the final product.  I tried to make it look like the cover photo.

Happy Birthday Eileen!

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