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While Charlotte cake is usually a no-bake dessert, technically this vegan version is not as we need to make our ladyfingers from scratch.

Just a little heads up - there is a bit of effort involved in making this cake, but it's so worth it if you're looking for something fancy to impress your guests. It's pretty easy if you prepare in advance, so I recommend spacing it out over 2-3 days if possible, as the ladyfingers and strawberry curd can be made ahead of time.

This recipe is sponsored by Nature’s Charm. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who sponsor my work!

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strawberry charlotte russe with fresh strawberries and ladyfingers on a marble board.Pin

🍓 What Is Charlotte Aux Fraises?

Charlotte cake is a classic French pastry dessert that compromises ladyfingers (biscuits à la cuillère) and is filled with Bavarian cream, mousse, or mascarpone.

Bavarian cream (crème bavaroise) is an egg custard set with gelatin and folded with whipped cream. Being heavy on dairy and eggs, this is of course not vegan-friendly!

Luckily, I found an easy way to make filling for Charlotte aux fraises vegan, by combining homemade strawberry curd with coconut cream and vegan cream cheese. The curd is essentially a strawberry custard, and it adds so much flavor and color to the cream filling while being stable enough to set the mixture without gelatin or agar-agar.

🧾 Ingredients Needed

Here is everything you need to make a vegan strawberry charlotte cake. As mentioned, the sponge fingers and curd can be made ahead of time:

ingredients for vegan charlotte cake measured out in bowls on a gray surface.Pin

Ingredient Notes

  • Strawberry Curd - My homemade fresh strawberry curd adds a gorgeous baby pink hue and delicious flavor to the strawberry filling. When whipped with coconut cream and cream cheese, it tastes just like strawberry ice cream!
  • Vegan Ladyfinger Cookies - I have yet to find store-bought ladyfingers that are vegan, so homemade eggless sponge fingers are the way to go.
  • Coconut Whipping Cream - This is like a non-dairy version of heavy whipping cream and is key to lightening the filling, giving it an airy mousse consistency.
  • Vegan Cream Cheese - As well as giving the filling a touch of mascarpone flavor, this helps to set the filling. I use violife, but you could also use homemade cream cheese.
  • Fresh Strawberries - Fresh seasonal berries are best for Charlotte cake. I don't recommend frozen strawberries as they tend to turn to mush, leaving behind too much water content.
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🥣 Step-By-Step Images

Here's a visual of how to make strawberry Charlotte cake from scratch. Remember, the detailed printable recipe card is at the end of this page, but here are the step-by-images that you can use as a guide:

strawberries and sugar macerating in a clear bowl.Pin

Step 1: Add the strawberry pieces and sugar to a small bowl and stir. Let them macerate for 15-30 minutes, then sieve to separate the juices.

whipped coconut cream and vegan cream cheese in a large mixing bowl.Pin

Step 2: Whisk the vegan cream cheese and coconut cream for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

smooth and creamy strawberry mousse closeup.Pin

Step 3: Whisk in the strawberry curd in 2 parts, followed by the powdered sugar. The mixture should be light and airy.

a cake pan lined with parchment paper with cookie crumbs in the base and two ladyfinger cookies lined around the edge.Pin

Step 4: Blitz a portion of the cookies with butter in your food processor and add to the base of a pan lined with parchment paper.

a lined cake pan with ladyfingers lined around the edges before being filled with strawberry mousse.Pin

Step 5: Arrange ladyfingers around the edges, and use the back of a spoon to press the bottom crust to secure them against the sides of the pan.

a layer of chopped strawberries on top of a cookie crust in a lined cake pan.Pin

Step 6: Add half of the macerated strawberries on top of the crust.

a layer of vegan strawberry mousse on top of the strawberry pieces in a cake pan.Pin

Step 7: Add half of the strawberry cream mixture and smooth out with an offset spatula.

a second layer of ladyfinger cookies added on top of strawberry mousse in a cake pan.Pin

Step 8: Top with more ladyfingers in an even layer. You can break some of them up if needed to fit to size.

a second layer of strawberry pieces added on top of ladyfingers in a cake pan.Pin

Step 9: Spoon over the remaining strawberry mixture.

a strawberry charlotte cake in a lined cake pan before going into the fridge to set.Pin

Step 10: Top with the rest of the strawberry cream filling and smooth out with a spatula. Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours until set.

a strawberry charlotte cake with parchment around the edges after setting in the fridge.Pin

Step 11: Once set, place the cake on a serving plate and carefully remove the springform pan and parchment paper.

strawberry charlotte russe cake topped with fresh strawberries on a marble board.Pin

Step 12: Add more fresh strawberries to the top of the cake before serving.

💬 FAQs

Does Charlotte aux fraises need to be refrigerated?

Yes! This strawberry Charlotte is set using whipped vegan cream and non-dairy cream cheese. Think of it like a no-bake cheesecake, the longer it sits out of the fridge the more it will soften.

I do not recommend leaving it out at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours, depending on what type of climate you live in.

Can Charlotte cake be frozen?

I do not recommend it! This is a cake that's best served fresh or within a couple of days of making it. It contains fresh strawberries, which tend to turn mushy and watery when frozen and defrosted.

a slice of strawberry charlotte cake on a small dessert plate with a spoonful taken from it showing the creamy texture.Pin

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Charlotte Aux Fraises (no eggs, no gelatin)

5 from 4 votes
PREP TIME: 35 minutes
Chilling Time: 6 hours
Servings: 10
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Description

This is my vegan spin on strawberry Charlotte cake (Charlotte Aux Fraises), made entirely without eggs or dairy. It's the ultimate showstopper dessert for your next special occasion with layers of ladyfingers, strawberry mousse filling, and fresh strawberries.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • For best results, please read through the above blog post which displays images for each step of the recipe.
  • Prepare: Make the strawberry curd - up to 2 days ahead. (see note 2)
    Make the vegan ladyfingers - up to 1 day ahead. (see note 1)
    Line the base and sides of an 8" or 7" springform cake tin (with a removable base) with parchment paper.
  • Macerate the strawberries: Wash and dry the strawberries and cut off the stems. Cut the strawberries into small cubes. Add the strawberries and sugar to a small bowl and stir. Let them sit and macerate for 15-30 minutes. This will help release the juices from the berries and intensify their flavor.
    Once syrupy, separate the juice with a sieve (you can reserve this for other recipes).
  • Whip the filling: To a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, add the coconut whipping cream and vegan cream cheese. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes until light and airy.
  • Flavor: Add the strawberry curd to the coconut mixture in 2 parts, whisking between each increment until smooth. Lastly, add in the powdered sugar and whisk briefly until combined. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the base.
  • Base: Add 9 ladyfinger cookies to a food processor with the tablespoon of vegan butter and blitz to form the consistency of bread crumbs. Loosely press the mixture into the base of the cake tin, leaving space around the edges for the full ladyfingers.
  • Assemble: Carefully arrange 16 ladyfinger cookies around the outer edges of the cake pan. You can press the cookie base with the back of a spoon to secure them.
  • Add half of the macerated strawberries in an even layer on top of the base.
  • Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to add half of the strawberry filling mixture to the cake tin. Carefully smooth it out with an offset spatula or spoon.
  • Add a layer of ladyfingers (approx 8) on top of the filling. You can break them up as needed so that they cover the surface.
  • Repeat layers: Add the other half of the macerated strawberries on top of the ladyfingers. Add the remaining strawberry filling, and smooth out the top with a spatula or spoon.
  • Chill: Place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 6 hours (overnight works well).
  • Once set, carefully remove the springform pan and parchment from the sides of the cake. Place the cake on a serving plate, and decorate the top with more fresh strawberries.
  • Storage: This cake must be stored in the fridge. I do not recommend letting it sit at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours, depending on the climate. Cover the cake with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
    This cake does not freeze well due to the fresh berries.

Notes

  1. Vegan Strawberry Curd: This can be prepped up to 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
  2. Vegan ladyfingers: Make sure the cookies are completely cool before assembling the cake. If baking a day ahead, store the cookies in an airtight container. 
  3. Strawberries: Weigh after removing tops. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 554kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 307mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 191IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 5mg
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