Meet Little Strawberry Charlotte. She brings romance with her wherever she goes. Whether it’s a tea party, a birthday celebration or a romantic dinner, you’ll gaze at her beauty and sigh. This lovely Charlotte has luscious strawberry mascarpone cream filling layered with lady fingers and topped with fresh strawberries. I used store bought lady fingers to make life easier but you can certainly bake your own if you wish. I typically make this in spring or summer when the weather is warm and strawberries are plentiful. But since my local stores start carrying an abundance of strawberries around Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a perfect time to make this pretty little Charlotte.
This cheerful little loaf cake feels like a spring or summer picnic with lemonade and sunshine. It’s similar to a pink lemonade cake that my elderly neighbor used to make when I was growing up. She made it for all the neighborhood kids and we always gobbled it up. When I was about eight years old she taught my friend and me how to make it. She used a yellow cake mix in a large baking pan and poked holes all over the cake, then drenched it in a pink, sugary lemon icing. I transformed that happy pink lemonade memory into a delightful loaf cake made from scratch.
To watch the TikTok video, click here.
Imagine you’re in a beautiful room, reclining on a plush velvet chaise lounge. There’s a dainty table nearby. On the table is a cake pedestal with a little pyramid of small, perfectly plump, pink pastries. They’re filled with sweet, luscious strawberry cream. And they’re all yours. This Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles recipe can make that dream come true. Maybe not the velvet chaise lounge, but really any comfortable chair will do while you indulge in these delicious little gems. Profiteroles have a way of making you feel regal and majestic. I think princesses and princes snack on them. Most of us don’t have a personal pastry chef or the budget to order from a French bakery every day, but we can certainly follow a recipe and make one of the easiest pastry doughs there is. Choux pastry or pate à choux is used to make profiteroles, cream puffs, eclairs, churros and other pastries. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.
This recipe features fresh strawberries, but frozen strawberries will work too. You can also substitute raspberries or peaches. To find the recipe for Peaches & Cream Profiteroles, click here. The strawberry purée can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator. To make it easy on myself, I like to make the strawberry purée on day one, the pastry cream on day two, then make the profiteroles and strawberry icing and assemble on day three. It’s also helpful to practice the French culinary style of prep, mise en place, which means to have all of your ingredients and equipment in place before you begin. Everything will go much smoother and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Have you noticed the strawberry shortcake crumble topping trend? I noticed many people sharing various versions of the crumble recipe all over Tiktok. I’ve seen the topping on cake, cupcakes and countless other desserts. Most people seem to make it using strawberry gelatin mix and vanilla pudding mix. The version I’m sharing here uses freeze dried strawberries instead. I’m not opposed to using gelatin mix, I just seriously love the tart, natural flavor of freeze dried strawberries.
This topping is irresistible on these tender strawberry muffins. I wanted to pile on as much crumble topping as possible so I used tulip baking cups. They’re made of grease-proof parchment paper squares. You can buy them online or make them yourself with squares of parchment. You can use the link provided at the end of the recipe to find the ones I used. Keep in mind, if you use standard muffin liners, you’ll use less batter and topping for each muffin, so you’ll end up with a few more muffins.
I used fresh strawberries for the puree in the muffins, but feel free to use frozen, defrosted strawberries if you cant get fresh ones.
May is when I get to pull out all of my summery recipes. These pretty little Strawberries & Cream Tarts remind me of a summer day. The kind of day when you’re outside enjoying the sunshine and you’re craving a cool, refreshing dessert. This strawberry cream filling alone is so delicious that I could just eat the entire bowl with a spoon. But since I’m extra, I had to create an aesthetic dessert with it.
I used my favorite tart shells for this recipe, but this would also be delicious with those little pre-made graham cracker pie crusts if you want to take a shortcut. The reason I love this tart crust recipe so much though, is that it actually tastes delicious. Once, a few years ago, I purchased a beautiful, small fruit tart from a famous bakery. The fruit was vibrant and glistening and the pastry cream filling was sweet and silky. Now we need the sound of a mic drop, because the tart crust was hard and flavorless, like cardboard! Ever since then, I knew I would settle for nothing less than a delicious tart crust.