Sunday, 20 September 2015

GBBO Week 7 - Raspberry and Mango Charlotte Russe

It was a Victorian-themed Great British Bake Off recipe this week! The first challenge was one I’d not dream of trying yet – game pies. The technical challenge was a tennis cake, which was basically a fruit cake topped with homemade marzipan and sugar paste, and decorated to look like a tennis court. 

This challenge did intrigue me, but I wanted to challenge my baking (rather than decorating skills) more, and thus instead  I decided to have a go at the showstopper challenge – Charlotte Russe.

I hadn’t heard of one of these either before this week’s bake off episode. Simply it is a kind of flavoured set custard, topped with jelly and surrounded by sponge fingers (this is a very simplistic definition, but it gives an overview of the cake…). I actually liked the idea of everyone’s bakes – Tamal’s ended up looking amazing (he even made additional macarons!), as did Ian’s. The recipe I went for looked great also, and looked like it’d be slightly lighter than the traditional (using half the cream in the bavarois) – Nadiya’s raspberry and mango charlotte russe. I adapted the recipe slightly (the original is here)

This recipe takes a long time to make (at least 4 hours), and you need to be prepared to be doing a lot of whisking. I don’t have a stand mixer, and found that an electric whisk does as good a job. However, it ended up looking pretty good and tastes delicious – very refreshing and creamy.

Makes one huge 20cm cake/dessert


For the Italian meringue:

  • 240g caster sugar
  • 20g liquid glucose
  • 4 egg whites
For the sponge fingers:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 120g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 120g plain flour, sifted
For the syrup:

  • 100g caster sugar
For the genoise sponge:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g plain flour, sifted
  • 30g butter, melted
For the raspberry bavarois:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 400g raspberries, blended (sieving is optional)
  • ½ lime
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 3 sheets leaf gelatine
  • 200ml double cream
For the mango bavarois:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 500g frozen mango, defrosted, blended to a pulp (200ml needed for bavarois)
  • ½ lime
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 3 sheets leaf gelatine
  • 200ml double cream
For the mango jelly:

  • Remainder of blitzed mango
  • 2 gelatine leaves


1. Make the Italian meringue. In a saucepan place the sugar and liquid glucose, and pour in 55ml water. Heat gently to 120c (use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature, and keep an eye on the pan as it can burn).

2. Whilst the sugar is heating, whisk the egg whites in a completely clean, grease-free bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one, otherwise use an electric whisk) until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed (a peak forms that topples at the tip).

3. Once the sugar is 120c, take off the heat, and pour into the bowl containing the egg whites, constantly whisking. Keep whisking until the bowl is cool, about 15 minutes – the meringue will become very glossy and stiff. Cover in cling film and set aside.

4. Make the sponge fingers. Grease and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 190c/180c fan/ gas mark 5.

5. Whisk together the egg yolks and 60g of the sugar until the ribbon stage, where when you lift the whisk, a trail can be seen on the surface of the mixture.

6. In a separate clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining 60g sugar and salt, until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture using a metal spoon. Gently fold in the sieved flour (it is vital that the flour is sieved!). Once no more flour can be seen, transfer the mixture to a piping bag (with a large nozzle attached).

7. Make the sugar syrup by heating the sugar with 100ml water for 5 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

8. Pipe the mixture into 11cm lines, making sure to space them 2.5cm apart. Sprinkle the cooled syrup over the sponge fingers and bake for 10 minutes (until lightly browned). You will have enough mixture for 3 or 4 batches, depending on the size of the nozzle used. There should also be plently spare in case any break in assembly.

Before baking
After baking

9. Make the génoise sponge. Preheat the oven to 200c/190c fan/gas mark 6. Grease and line a swiss roll tin.

10. Like the sponge fingers, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the ribbon stage is reached. Gently fold in the sieved flour, then pour into the prepared swiss roll tin.

11. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly brown, and spingy when pressed gently. Leave to cool. Cut into one or two 20cm circles (depending on the size of your swiss roll tin, one may only be possible – if this does happen don’t worry as you’ll have excess sponge fingers for the second sponge layer).

12. Make the raspberry bavarois. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes. In a saucepan heat the milk, raspberry puree and lime juice. At the same time, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until doubled in volume (this is becoming a pattern isn’t it…). Once the raspberry mixture has come to boil, pour into the egg yolk mixture, constantly whisking.

13. Return to the saucepan and heat gently for a few minutes, until slightly thickend. The mixture will already be fairly thick, so if unsure,heat gently for 2 minutes only. Do not boil, as the mixture may scramble.  Take the pan off the heat.

14. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine, and whisk into the raspberry mixture (until the gelatine has dissolved). Set aside to cool.

15. Whilst cooling, whisk the double cream briefly until the ribbon stage is reached  (this only takes around 30 seconds with an electric whisk). Add 120g of the Italian meringue made earlier, and use a metal spoon or spatula to combine. Stir the raspberry mixture into the cream/meringue, and chill until use.

16. Make the mango bavarois. This is exactly the same as the raspberry bavarois method above, except using 200ml of the blended mango (instead of raspberry).

17. Line a 20cm cake tin (with the bottom removed) with cling film. Place a disc of génoise sponge in the base, and press down so that it is flat.

18. Trim all of the sponge fingers on one end so that they are flat and approximately the same height. Place around the diameter of the tin, overlapping them slightly. I found it helpful to use the remainder of the sugar syrup as a glue on the rim of the genoise sponge/on the cling film.

19. Pour in the raspberry bavarois. Chill until set (this took about 2 hours).

20. Once set, add the other disc of sponge OR the spare sponge fingers to make a second layer of sponge. Pour in the mango bavarois and chill until set (we chilled overnight, but I imagine this also would take around 2 hours).

21. Once the mango bavarois has set, make the mango jelly. Simply soak the 2 leaves of gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes. Heat the remaining mango puree in the microwave (or in a pan), until boiling. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine, and stir into the mango puree until dissolved. Pour onto the cake - here we used a heart shaped mould (awwww). Chill to set the jelly for approximately one hour.

22. Once set, very carefully remove the charlotte russe from the tin and remove the cling film.

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