Have you watched The Great British Bake Off and basked in the glory of Mary Berry? If you haven't discovered this show yet, I suggest you check it out. Unlike American food competitions, this one seems more realistic. Bakers enter the competition each week knowing the theme of the challenge. They have a signature bake that shows how amazing they are with the theme (biscuits, pies, cakes, etc.). They talk about how their bakes went at home, and it's clear they've all been practicing, yet things still go wrong in the kitchen. After the signature bake is the technical. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (the second judge) take turns choosing technically challenging baked goods. The contestants are given a recipe with some missing instructions, and they try to figure it all out. The final round is the show-stopper where extravagant baked goods are built.
The technical is my favorite part. It challenges the bakers to make something they might not be familiar with. Most of the time, I've never heard of the things they bake.
While watching a past season a couple of weeks ago, I learned about the Charlotte royale. This cake is a jelly roll cake that's sliced after being rolled and filled with a mousse. I knew what a jelly roll was, but I'd never seen a Charlotte royale. At the time, I didn't think much of it. I watched the bakers intently as they made this molded dessert.
Last week, I stumbled upon a matcha strawberry Charlotte royale** recipe. I made it my weekend plans.
On the outside, the Charlotte royale looked like it should--kind of. It's a solid cake made of jelly rolls; however, the jelly roll itself was a bit dry. Perhaps I over-whipped my egg whites, or we can just blame the altitude. Overall, the dryness of the cake wasn't horrible. I also sliced the jelly roll a bit too thick. The jelly roll slices should be delicate; mine were large and clunky.
When I was shopping for unflavored gelatin, I happened upon a vegan version. It was inexpensive, so I thought I'd give it a try. When I got home and thought out my purchase, I regretted it. Because I can't use heavy whipping cream in my mousse, I bought coconut cream. I feared that with the substitution of the vegan gelatin and the coconut cream, my mousse wouldn't set.
The recipe reads "refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight to set." I only waited the "at least" before I sliced into it. As you can see from the picture on the right, it's a hot mess. I sliced a piece for myself, Sam, and our friend Jayson. Sam and Jayson thought it was tasty--so did I--but I laughed at the hot mess on my plate. After the rest of the cake sat overnight, the dairy-free mousse was more mousse like. It wasn't quite there, but if I'd had more patience, the Charlotte would have held.
**Overall, this recipe didn't disappoint. The one note I have for my readers is that the recipe writer never indicates when the matcha-vodka mixture gets added to the batter. I added it to the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla at the end of step 3. This seemed the most logical place.