Charlotte Russe (download printable PDF)

Charlotte Ruse was a popular dessert throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It combined their favorite flavors of sweet cream and sponge cake with their love of architecturally molded food.


18 ladyfingers or 1 sponge cake
1 egg
2 cups whipping cream
1 capful vanilla
1 Tbs. granulated white sugar
1/2 envelope gelatin
2 Tbs. water
angel food cake


measuring cup
measuring spoons
mixing bowl
electric mixer
3 small bowls
mold or oven-safe bowl
basting brush

Separate the egg. In a small bowl dissolve the gelatin in 2 Tbs. warm water. In a mixing bowl, with the electric mixer, whip the cream, vanilla, sugar and dissolved gelatin together until stiff. The dish can be prepared up to this point in advance. Preheat the oven to warm. Brush the edges of the ladyfingers or sponge cake with the egg white. Line the bottom of the mold or bowl with the ladyfingers in a star or rosette pattern. Then stand the remaining ladyfingers or pieces of sponge cake upright all along the edge of the mold or bowl. Make sure all the edges of the ladyfingers or sponge cake meet, so that the egg white firmly “glues” them together, and the entire mold or bowl is lined with ladyfingers or sponge cake. Place the mold in the oven for 5 minutes to dry the egg. Fill the center of the ladyfinger-lined mold with the cream mixture. Cut a slice of angel food cake shaped to tightly fit the bottom of the mold. Place the angel food cake bottom on the mold and place the mold in the refrigerator. The dish can be made in advance of the dinner. To avoid having the cream burst through the ladyfingers, carefully turn the dish out onto a serving plate. Serve chilled.