Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Charlotte and the birthday boys

Second entry for student cake month also coincided with the birthday of two of the lab people.  So the creation of today's pastry chef also turned out to be a birthday cake!  Actually it was a birthday charlotte. Charlotte aux fraises!  The suggestion came from a French colleague. With that name are you surprised?

Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, la poupée francaise aux fraises i.e. on top of strawberries
No, this is not Charlotte my mother!
What is a Charlotte?  Apart from being the mother of one of the birthday boys, the largest city in the state of North Carolina, and some random unknown French doll character, a charlotte is a type of dessert that can be served hot or cold. It can also be known as an "ice-box cake". Bread, sponge cake or biscuits/cookies are used to line a mold, which is then filled with a fruit puree or custard. It can also be made using layers of breadcrumbs.
Birthday boy and today's five star chef!

Our first Charlotte aux Fraises

Custard oozing from the top!

Decorative strawberry blossom!

Fraises is the French word for strawberries so this is a strawberry charlotte.  A Google translation comes out "strawberry shortcake."  That may be the case but this is much more elaborate. Today's baker actually baked the lady finger strips added them to the bottom and the sides of an appropriate mold and then filled it in with strawberries and custard.  It was topped off with some sliced and decoratively arranged strawberries.  She also prepared some fresh strawberry sauce that was used to garnish the individual slices and the charlotte itself on its pedestal cake dish.
The official presentation with a strawberry smile!
The presentation was awesome as was the taste. Everyone agreed it was good, fresh-tasting and not very sweet.  The only down sides were it left a lot of people wanting for more and it was tough to cut into small slices necessitated by the large crowd showing up each day. But that's a technicality.  Our student pulled off a five star rating last year and got the same for this - our first five star entry of this year!  Congratulations to her!

As is appropriate, the two birthday boys were serenaded with the usual birthday song. Feel free to listen but think twice before hiring this gang for entertainment!

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