Charlotte Russe Cake

Ever had a dessert you always wanted to try? That’s the Charlotte Russe Cake for me. I’m obsessed with vintage everything, from furniture to foods. One day while I was watching an old film from the 40’s, I noticed the prettiest little cake I had ever seen. I googled for days trying to describe the cake and couldn’t figure out what it was. I finally searched nostalgia desserts and among the list of many, there was the Charlotte Russe! So here I am today, finally able to say “I’ve tasted it!”. It’s so yummy! Exactly how I pictured it. For those that are curious, it has a custard/ boozy cookie taste. It’s not fruity, although you can add dried fruit to switch up the taste a bit.

I’m not going to lie- this cake requires time, so if you’re trying to find a quick recipe. This is not it. It’s worth the time though- so if you’re snowed in or having a lazy weekend, you’ll want to pull out that mixer. Best part is- it’s a no bake cake!

Tools you’ll need….

• 8 inch spring form pan

• stand mixer or handheld mixer

• Bain Marie pot/ or make your own Bain marie (pot and steel mixing bowl)


  • 35- 40 ladyfingers
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 envelopes Knox gelatin
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup/ sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Fresh raspberries for topping.
  • Cool whip
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

How to make it…

Since there are several steps, I’ll walk you through it as quickly and efficiently as possible!

The first thing you have to make is the syrup to dip the lady fingers.

Syrup ingredients and directions

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract

Line bottom of your springform cake pan with cling wrap/ set aside

• In a medium pot add water & sugar. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

• Remove from heat and let cool for about 8 minutes.

• Add rum extract

• Set syrup aside until fully cooled. Do NOT skip this step! It’s important to let the syrup cool so the ladyfingers do not fall apart.

Steep the ladyfingers in syrup, lining the sides of the springform with them. Make sure they’re placed tightly together. No gaps!

Add the remaining (steeped) ladyfingers at the bottom of the springform. Line the bottom tightly as well. You’re creating your “crust” so make sure you fill those gaps, these don’t have to be placed perfectly- you can break off pieces to make it all fit.

Cake filling ingredients and directions

This is a two part step/ here’s the breakdown:

You’re going to make the whipped cream first. Place mixer bowl in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to chill. Don’t ask why- this just works!

• 2 1/4 cups heavy cream

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pour heavy whipping cream and vanilla into the cold bowl and whisk for about two minutes on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form. Do not over-beat!

• Set aside

Next up is the Bavarian Cream!

(You’ll need a Bain Marie for this step)

• 4 tbsp cold water

• 2 1/2 packets of gelatin

• 5 large eggs

• 1 cup whole milk 

• 1 cup sugar

• Add water to gelatin in a small bowl and set aside. It will look weird and clumpy- don’t worry, you didn’t mess it up!

• In a medium pot, mix the eggs with the sugar.

• Add milk

• Place pot on Bain-Marie stirring constantly until first signs of boiling appear. Consistency should reflect a thin mayonnaise. Custard should cling to spoon!

• Remove from Bain Marie and add the gelatin. Mix well with wooden spoon until gelatin is dissolved. Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature

• Fold in the whipped cream mix and blend them

Put it all together

• Pour half the filling over the ladyfingers at the bottom of the springform pan.

• Cover the filling with another layer of ladyfingers steeped in syrup.

Optional step: add red food coloring to the remaining half of the filling to create a two toned cake.

• Pour the rest of the filling over the ladyfingers and smooth surface with spatula.

• Place refrigerator overnight.

• The next day- carefully remove the edges of the springform and place the cake on a platter

Cool whip frosting

• Add 2 tbsp of powdered sugar to a tub of cool whip. Mix well and pour into piping bag.

• decorate cake with frosting and fresh fruit

That’s it! Lots of steps but you created something beautiful AND delicious.

Watch tutorial video for how- to steps


XOXO, terri

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