What Exactly Is A Charlotte Royale Cake?

According to The Spruce Eats, "Charlotte" refers to a dessert filled with Bavarian cream — though some recipes call for other types of filling — and covered with cookies or pieces of cake. Often, fruits like raspberries, strawberries, or cherries are added for flavor and a decorative flair. The classic iteration of the cake, called the Charlotte Russe, involves a circle of ladyfinger cookies with cream in the middle and was likely invented by French chef Marie Antoine Carême in the early 19th century.

Many variations exist; some swap fruit for chocolate, and, as Politico explains, individually-sized Charlotte Russes wrapped in a cardboard tube and eaten like a cake pop were once mainstays of New York City bakeries.

However, one of the best-known variations of the Charlotte cake is the Charlotte Royale. As Baking Like a Chef explains, The Charlotte Royale replaces ladyfingers with a carefully constructed dome made of swiss rolls, which create a swirling pattern over the surface of the cake.

How is a Charlotte Royale made?

According to Baking Like a Chef, the dessert has a reputation for being difficult — and even serves as a technical challenge on baking shows like the Great British Baking Show — but it's easily achievable with a little practice.

Mary Berry's Charlotte Royale recipe involves swiss rolls filled with homemade jam. These are made from large, flat sponge cakes baked on a baking sheet and rolled with jam to resemble a classic bûche de Noël or Yule log. Next, slice the log to create disks. These will serve as the outer layer of the cake.

Once the Swiss rolls are complete, line a large glass bowl with plastic wrap and arrange the swiss rolls so that they cover the entire inside of the bowl with their edges pushed together. Fill the bowl with raspberry-flavored Bavarian cream, then layer more sponge cake on top. Chill until the cream filling is set, then carefully flip the cake onto a plate and enjoy. Of course, you don't have to stick to Mary Berry's strawberry and raspberry cake. You can experiment with chocolate, peach, or other fruits and fillings.