Mango Charlotte Cake

Recently, I saw some Ataulfo mangoes on sale so I bought a couple, thinking I might want to use them to make some kind of dessert.  I didn’t have anything particular in mind, but I was thinking of maybe something light and summery, like a simple layered sponge cake with mangoes and whipped cream? Or a mango Swiss roll? At the same time, I also wanted to try something new….you know, something a bit more challenging!  I finally settled on a Mango Charlotte cake.

I’ve actually made a Charlotte cake before – just once.  It was a Pear Charlotte that I made in a pastry course that I took.  But that was about 10 years ago, so I figured it was time to revisit this classic French cake, using mangoes to give it a tropical twist.  The great thing was that I already had most of the ingredients. All I needed was to buy a few more mangoes, which I ended up finding for even cheaper at another supermarket! I guess it’s mango season!

A Charlotte cake does look impressive.  However, it’s actually not a difficult cake to make.  It just involves a lot steps.  You start off with ladyfingers around a cake ring, insert a thin sponge cake layer into the base, then fill it with a mousse or bavarois, and then top that with a glaze and your choice of decorations.  And that’s it!  Easy, right?!😜 Ok, you may not all agree with me.  But seriously,  if you really want something easier, you can actually even use store-bought ladyfingers (which can substitute for the sponge cake too), and you have a cake that doesn’t even involve any baking!

This cake is totally for a mango lover (like me)! With a mango bavarois filling, a mango glaze, topped with fresh mango…it’s mango heaven!  It’s not just a gorgeous cake, but it’s absolutely delish!  What I love about it is that it’s so light, fruity and refreshing.  It really is perfect for summer!

MANGO CHARLOTTE CAKE (makes 1-8″cake)


Simple Syrup:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon rum (optional)

Sponge Cake & Ladyfingers:

4 eggs, room temperature
50g sugar
70g sugar
120g cake flour
icing sugar for dusting

Mango Bavarois:

320ml mango puree (blended from about 3 Ataulfo mangoes)*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
120g sugar
6 (10g) gelatin sheets
400ml whipping cream

*Blend mangoes to a smooth puree, or leave some small pieces of mango unblended, if you want bits of fruit in the bavarois.  Save any leftover puree to use for the Mango Glaze.

Mango Glaze (from The Little Epicurean):

57g mango puree
57g water
28g sugar
1.5 (2.5g) gelatin sheets

1-2 mangoes, cubed or sliced as desired for decoration (optional)


Simple Syrup:

1) Add water and sugar to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add in rum, if using, then set aside to cool.

Sponge Cake & Ladyfingers:

1) Place 2 oven racks equidistant from the top and bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 395°F.

2) Ready 2 baking sheets.  Create a template for the sponge cake base by placing an 8″ cake ring or springform pan on a piece of parchment paper, and use a dark marker to trace around it.  Then on another piece of parchment paper that is the length of your baking sheet, use a ruler and marker to measure 2 rows (lengthwise) of 3″-wide bands (leave at least an inch between the 2 rows).  Place both templates on the baking sheets, then line baking sheets with a second piece of parchment paper on top (make sure both the templates are dark enough to be seen through the second sheet of parchment paper).**

Alternatively, you can create templates on parchment paper and then flip them over and use the other side for baking.

** After piping the batter, I prefer to carefully remove the templates from underneath before baking, although this is not necessary.  However, if you have extra batter, you will need to remove the templates and repeat the procedure on another baking sheet.  Save any remaining baked sponge/ladyfingers for another use by placing them in a container, between layers of wax paper, and freezing for up to 1 month.  

3) Separate egg yolks and egg whites into two large bowls. Beat egg yolks on high speed for a few seconds, then gradually add in 50g sugar, while beating on medium speed. Continue beating until it reaches the ribbon stage (Test by lifting up the whisk or beater attachment – the mixture will fall back into the bowl in ribbons, before slowly blending back into the rest of the mixture). It should be thick, pale yellow and double in volume. Set aside.

4) Whisk egg whites for half a minute until foamy, then gradually add in the 70g of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.

5) Using a spatula, take about 1/3 of the egg white and fold it into the egg yolk mixture until incorporated. Then add the entire egg yolk mixture into the bowl of remaining egg whites and fold gently.

6) Sift in the cake flour and fold until just combined. Do not overmix.

7) Put batter into a pastry bag fitted with a small/medium round piping tip (I used Wilton tip #12). Pipe the sponge cake in a spiral pattern by starting in the centre of the outlined circle and working outwards. For the ladyfingers, pipe 3″ strips of batter side by side (try to make sure the tops are as even as possible). Lightly dust sponge and ladyfingers with icing sugar.

8) Bake in oven for about 10 minutes. Do not overbake. It should be light golden in colour.

9) Cool for a bit on a wire rack, and then carefully peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely.

10) Place a strip of acetate around the inside of the 8″ cake ring or springform pan. If you don’t have acetate, you can cut a strip out of parchment or wax paper.

11) Trim about 1/4″ along one length of each row of ladyfingers (this will be the base). Place inside the cake ring. Use as many ladyfingers as needed. You will need to cut some of it into smaller pieces to make it fit. Make sure it fits snugly around so there are no gaps showing where it’s been cut.

12) Cut around the sponge circle so it fits snugly into the base of the cake ring.

13) Brush the cake base and ladyfingers liberally with the simple syrup. Set aside.

Mango Bavarois:

1) Bloom the gelatin by soaking the sheets in a bowl of cold water.

2) In a medium saucepan, heat up mango puree, lemon juice and sugar, without boiling. Remove from heat.

3) Squeeze the water from the softened gelatin and add it into the puree. Stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

4) In a large bowl, using a whisk attachment, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Then gently fold in the cooled mango puree mixture.

5) Pour the mixture into the cake ring (make sure to not fill higher than about 1 inch from the top of the ladyfingers). Use a spatula to even out the surface.

6) Refrigerate cake until the bavarois is set (at least 4 hours; I left it overnight).

Mango Glaze:

1) Bloom gelatin by soaking it in cold water.

2) Combine water, mango puree and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.

3) Remove from heat and add the softened gelatin (make sure to squeeze out the water). Stir until gelatin is dissolved.

4) Let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until slightly warm to the touch.

5) Take out the cake from the refrigerator, pour the glaze over the bavarois (Note: if you are planning to decorate your cake with fresh mango, save a little of this glaze for brushing on the fruit).

6) Place the cake back in the fridge until the glaze is set (at least 30 minutes).

7) Carefully remove cake ring and acetate strip. Decorate as desired. If using fresh mango, arrange it on the cake, and then using a brush, lightly brush on some of the remaining mango glaze to give the fruit a nice shine.


10 responses to “Mango Charlotte Cake

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