As I mentioned in my last post, we were at my parents’ house in Rhode Island enjoying the New England summer.  During our time there we also celebrated my husband’s “real”  birthday.  I call it his real birthday because on his birth certificate his birthday is listed a week later.  According to his mother, his birth wasn’t registered until a week later (he was born at home in Pakistan).  By the time it was registered they couldn’t use the actual birthday.  Long story.

He gets annoyed at me calling official birthday his “fake” one.  I don’t really see why he’s complaining, this year he got four birthday celebrations and I finally made him rack of lamb on his “fake” birthday after five years of him nagging me to make him some (post coming soon). We had a small party for him with some of my parents’ friends and made a nice spread of some of his favorite foods, excluding the rack of lamb, which was to come a week later.

I ordered him a Passion fruit and Coconut cake from our favorite bakery in Rhode Island, Pastiche.  Ordering a cake from Pastiche and then making your own dessert on the side is a self-inflicted set up for failure.  If any of you know about Pastiche, their cakes, tarts, and all their desserts are gorgeous and the taste cannot be beat.

Regardless of the odds racked up against my dessert, I proceeded to make something pink, tied with a ribbon and bow for my husband’s birthday.  I think he’s confident enough in his masculinity to have such a frilly cake on his birthday. Last year, I made him a cheesecake inspired by Pastiche’s vanilla bean cheesecake and it was slightly on the girly side too.

When the desserts were served, people obviously adored the Pastiche cake, but they also loved my homemade dessert as well.  I was pleased to hear people saying it looked so professional.  I totally faked it and this dessert looks way more difficult to make than it actually is.  Ladyfingers filled with whipped mascarpone and topped with berries looks like you went all out, but it really was not all that hard.  Do try it, it’s a lovely summer dessert that feels light when it really is not.  A complete fake out!

Raspberry and Whipped Mascarpone Cream Charlotte

inspired and adapted heavily from Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours (Rasberry and Cream Charlotte) This one uses a custard, which I did not make.

serves 8-10


28-30 ladyfinger cookies, available in Italian shops or bakeries (or make your own)

2-3 pints fresh raspberries

juice and zest of 2 limes

16 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened

1 pint heavy cream or whipping cream

up to 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

2 teapoons pure vanilla extract

confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


First prepare the mascarpone cream.  In a blender, purée the raspberries with the lime juice and 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar.  Once puréed, strain the seeds out through a wire wesh strainer and set aside.

In a large bowl using a whisk or electric mixer whip the cream with 1/4 cup  superfine sugar and vanilla extract until it forms whipped cream, it should be fluffy and light. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the charlotte.

Next, with a rubber spatula, fold in the softened mascarpone cheese.  Make sure you are gentle as to not deflate the whipped cream.  Once combined, fold in the raspberry purée gently and toss in the lime zest.  Taste the mascarpone cream and add additional sugar, if necessary.

The somewhat tricky part is next.  Take a 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Line the ladyfingers up around the perimeter of your pan, to see how many you need to line the outside of the pan, I needed 24.  Next, using a sharp serated knife, cut each ladyfinger to 3 inches in length.  Reserve the end pieces as support for the ladyfingers.

Once all the ladyfiners are cut, line them up so the rounded edge is on top and the sugared side is facing out.  Take the little pieces that you cut off from the lady fingers and prop them against the bottom of the ladyfingers all the way around the inside of the pan, as to provide support.  With the remaining whole ladyfingers, lay them on the bottom of the pan so the bottom area is fully covered.*

Next, fill the cream in the pan and smooth over the top.  Arrange the remaining pint or 2 of raspberries depending on how “full” you want the fruit portion to be, in any pattern you wish.  But make sure the bottoms of the raspberries are pointed upwards for a more polished look.  You may garnish with any other berries you like.   Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Remove the springform portion of the pan carefully and tie the ladyfingers with a ribbon for aesthetic reasons as well as for support.   When serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar for garnish.

*Feel free to email me with any questions regarding the set-up of the lady fingers.