up close front view of a dessert on a plate

Valentine Charlotte-Celebrating a Classic Dessert

Valentine charlotte dessert on a plate

This year for Valentines Day, I wanted to do something different to celebrate the season but keeping with the special days tradition of chocolate and pink. I have often wondered, what has happened to the classic Charlotte Royale dessert in America? With that, the Charlotte Valentine was inspired in my mind that celebrates this classic dessert!

Charlotte-Two Ways

Charlottes are desserts that are placed into a mold typically lined with sponge cake or ladyfingers and then filled with a creamy center. There are two classic versions:

Charlotte Royale: Rolled sponge cake pinwheel slices filled with jam surrounding a Bavarian Cream center.

Charlotte Russ: Ladyfingers surrounding a Bavarian cream center.

The difference as you can tell between the two, is the what surrounds the Bavarian Cream. Ladyfingers verses sponge cake. Both make beautiful presentations.

Charlotte History

You are probably wondering why is it called Charlotte? I asked the same question myself when I was first introduced to this dessert. The dessert was created in the 18th century named after England’s, King George III wife.

I thought this was a good write up from Joe Pastry.

Originally, it was a dessert that had an apple filling surrounded by toast slices. Over the years it has adapted to what we now call this classic dessert. It’s of note, to be called a classic Charlotte Royale or Charlotte Russ, it has be filled with a Bavarian Cream filling.

Charlotte Valentine

up close front view of a dessert on a plate

My Valentine version of this fun dessert uses a delicious chocolate sponge cake that is filled with strawberry, pink buttercream that is rolled and cut into pinwheels for a hat tip to Valentines Day. Next, it is filled and layered with a super light and creamy strawberry and chocolate mousse to round out a delicious dessert for the season.

Love the colors of this dessert with the two shades of pink along side that deep, dark chocolate cake and mousse. Not to mention, it is super light and airy where you won’t feel overindulged after one slice! You may even want to go back for seconds (hey that is okay!!). Just sayin…

inside sliced charlotte dessert

Valentine Charlotte Components

Chocolate Sponge cake

First, the chocolate sponge cake is made using a jellyroll pan. I use Dutch processed cocoa powder to get that deep, dark color. Cake flour is used to give it a perfect crumb. Also, the recipe whips up super easy and quick. Egg whites are whipped and folded in to lighten the sponge cake to give it that perfect airy texture and elasticity for rolling.

Once it’s made, I spread it into a pan and bake it off at a 425 degrees about 8-10 minutes. Spreading the batter evenly in the pan ensures that it cooks evenly as well.

Once out of the oven, I flip it out onto a kitchen towel and roll it up in the towel to cool.

Strawberry Buttercream

While the cake is cooling, I make the buttercream with just a few ingredients like butter, powdered sugar, milk, and strawberry flavoring. I add just a touch of pink gel color to give it some color.

Once the cake is cooled, I unroll the cake and spread the buttercream all over the cake. Getting that nice even layer. Then, it gets rolled up into a jellyroll and I wrap it with saran wrap and in the fridge it goes to chill.

icing a sponge cake

Chilling make it much easier to slice into pinwheels.

Strawberry Mousse

Super simple mousse I make with just some frozen or fresh strawberries mixed with sugar and cooked on the stove. I like to add a few drops of lemon juice to brighten the flavors up. Once it is cooked, I blend it to make it into a smooth puree. Straining is optional, since it is strawberries, I don’t mind the seeds. If using raspberries, I would definitely strain out the seeds.

A small amount of clear gelatin (bloomed in water then slightly heated) is added to thicken the mousse and is finished off with some folded whipped heavy cream.

Immediately, it is poured into the mold. This will be the primary filling for the Valentine Charlotte.

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse is the last component of this delicious dessert. This recipe is super easy and I use this recipe when I would make 300 individual desserts for our church’s Father Daughter Dance. There are only a few ingredients (chocolate chips, cream, and vanilla) and it makes the perfect light and airy mousse.

Assembling the Valentine Charlotte

First: I line a medium glass bowl with saran wrap, allowing extra to hang over the sides.

preparing a bowl with saran wrap

Second: I slice the cake roll into pinwheels, about 3/4″ thick.

Third: I place the pinwheels into the bowl, starting on the bottom and then the sides. Making sure they are place tightly together with as few gaps as possible.

Fourth: Strawberry mousse gets made and poured into the bowl then placed in the freezer till solid.

strawberry mousse in a bowl

Fifth: The chocolate mousse gets poured over the top of the firm strawberry mousse.

pouring chocolate mousse on a chocolate cake in creating Valentine Charlotte dessert

Optional: A chocolate cake layer is placed on top of the chocolate mousse layer to form the bottom. (This doesn’t have to be done).

layering chocolate cake in a dessert bowl for Valentine Charlotte

Last: It gets wrapped tightly and frozen. Once dessert is frozen, I remove from freezer and flip it out onto a serving platter and remove the saran wrap. I place in the refrigerator the morning I want to serve it so it can thaw.

inside Valentine charlotte dessert

Not only is this a beautiful dessert and perfect for Valentines’ Day, it is a super light and creamy dessert all around. The sponge cake is light and airy, the buttercream gives a little sweetness, and the mousses are flavorful and light.

sliced valentine charlotte dessert

I love serving this Valentine Charlotte with chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream!

You can interchange flavors and colors to make your own creation.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

More fun and festive desserts here:

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