Raspberry & Lime Charlotte Russe: GBBO Week #7

My week 7 review and bake is a bit late as I’ve been in Hong Kong for the past 2 weeks (more on my trip coming soon!) This week The Great British Bake Off changed up the theme again with a Victorian episode. They do love their history so I think this was a nice choice. The first challenge for the contestants was to make a raised game pie using hot water crust pastry. In the Victorian era, game pies were status symbols for the middle class. Mary expected to see an ornate pie with intricate decorations, and Paul wanted thin pastry all around.

Jump straight to the Charlotte Russe recipe!

Mat had a traditional pie tin from his friend’s mum which dated back to 1850, his pie was filled with venison and pigeon. The judges loved the look of the pie and thought the meat was tender. Baker Paul used wild boar in his pie, but the judges thought it wasn’t decorated well. To be honest I thought they were overly harsh on Baker Paul about the decoration element. Tamal did a middle eastern spice mix with rabbit, lamb and venison. The judges absolutely loved it and he even got a handshake from Paul! Nadiya went for an untraditional Chinese 5 spice mix with pheasant and duck. Paul loved the decoration on top, but both he and Mary thought the spices over powered the game.

Flora really emphasised her middle class background as she told us how she made a pheasant pie in school and won a competition with it. She went for lucky pheasant again along with pigeon and rabbit, but she had problems cooking the pie as she over filled it. Although it had caught a little, the judges liked both the pastry and filling. Ian revealed his roadkill eating passion, and his pie was filled with venison, partridge and guinea fowl. He also made a meat jelly to accompany it. Mary did not think his pie was decorated enough on the outside, but she loved the appearance of the layers of meat inside. He did well for flavours too.

This week’s technical challenge was a Tennis Cake. This is a rich fruit cake decorated with a royal icing tennis court. Mary noted that it was very important that the cake was baked as soon as possible to it had time to cool down. Paul noted that there were a lot of elements of the decoration that could easily go wrong!

They had to make all of the different types of icing – marzipan, royal icing and sugarpaste from scratch. Mat struggled with his sugarpaste and ended up with radioactive looking goop, he also baked his tennis court and net so they turned brown. Meanwhile, Nadiya couldn’t remember what a tennis court looked like, but she was the only one to have an upright tennis net! Nadiya won the challenge with Paul 2nd, Tamal 3rd, Flora 4th and Ian 5th. Mat came last.

This week’s showstopper challenge was a Charlotte Russe, which is a mousse called bavarois and a jelly layer surrounded by ladyfingers. A structural nightmare to say the least! Mary said the most difficult element was getting the bavarois and jelly to set in time. I do mention this a lot, but I really think they should give them extra time for things to set as it really isn’t under anyone’s full control. Everyone was making the ladyfingers from scratch of course, and everyone except Tamal were using the ladyfinger sponge mix for the base of the dessert. Tamal used jelly as his base which really impressed the judges. He also decorated the ladyfingers with a chocolate swirl pattern.

Ian and Paul certainly had the most elaborate and impressive decorations. Ian made a 3D crown which was just fantastic! Mary thought it looked spectacular and Paul said it was purely magical. And Paul carved fruit into swans, but unfortunately his jelly was not set. Nadiya mixed italian meringue into her bavarois which was a recipe she learnt in school. The judges absolutely loved it as it was so light and creamy.

Mat made a simply flavoured strawberry Charlotte Russe, but he had problems with the ladyfingers breaking and the jelly wasn’t set. Flora flavoured her Russe with pomegranate, champagne, raspberry and white chocolate. Paul really didn’t like the addition of pomegranate at all, but they liked the other flavours and the defined layers of the Russe.

Mat left us this week after coming last in the technical and delivering a disappointing Charlotte Russe. I was so sad to see him go! He’s really funny and a brilliant baker of course. I think we’ll definitely see more of him in the future. Tamal won star baker, and I was really pleased for him as I think he’s deserved it in the past and I was glad he finally got it! Next week it’s all about patisserie.

Jump straight to the recipe!

I decided to make the Charlotte Russe this week as the tennis cake looked incredibly fiddly and as we are a vegetarian household a game pie was not suitable. The Charlotte Russe is very similar to the Charlotte Royale which featured on the Bake Off in 2013. So I was a bit disappointed not be using any new techniques, but on the other hand I was really excited to make bavarois again as it’s so delicious!

I prepared the tin by using a long piece of baking paper and folding it in half, then using it as a collar inside the cake tin. I secured it with a paper clip.

Lining the tin was the most fiddly part. I used shop bought lady fingers as they would be more sturdy. I started by covering the bottom and slowly building the side as I filled the bottom. This made sure the ladyfingers along the side were wedged in as I went – otherwise they just fell over. I dipped each ladyfinger for a couple of second in a mixture of sugar syrup (I used Fruiss Pure Cane Sugar Syrup) and Chambord – which is a black raspberry liquor. I really wedged it all in and filled in all of the gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingers, I was determined not to have any leakages!

To make the lime bavarois I put whole milk, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla pod seeds and the lime zest into a pan. I heated it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolved.

In a separate bowl I mixed up the egg yolks. I poured the milk into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it for about 5 minutes until it thickened up. I poured it through a sieve to remove the zest, then added pre-soaked leaves of gelatin and lime juice. I stirred it until all the gelatin was dissolved, then popped it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool.

Once the custard was cool I whipped up double cream with my Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer and mixed it into the custard.

I poured it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. I left it in there overnight, but it set within about 2 hours.

The next day I made some jelly using half a pack of Hartleys raspberry jelly. I added Chambord to the mixture. I poured it on top, but I did have some problems with leakage. I decided not to fill it too much as it was leaking.

For the decoration I whipped up some cream, and I piped it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottom (this handily hid the leakage evidence!)

I added raspberries and lime zest on top and the Charlotte Russe was done! I was really pleased with the final apperance and look of it. I thought it looked really pretty! I haven’t cut into it yet, but I tasted some of the bavarois while I was making it and it was so creamy and delicious. I can’t wait to have a slice!

I took it into work and entered it into the ‘other bakes’ category of our Bake Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and came first in the category! I was so pleased and I got some great compliments.

What did you think of this episode of The Great British Bake Off? Will you make any of the bakes? Let me know in the comments!

Recipe adapted from Chowhound.

Raspberry & Lime Charlotte Russe


For the sponge layer

  • 2 packs of Ladyfingers
  • 100 ml Sugar syrup
  • 100 ml Chambord

For the bavarois

  • 750 ml Whole milk
  • 250 g Granulated sugar
  • 3 Limes
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 10 Egg yolks
  • 8 Gelatine leaves pre-soaked
  • 460 ml Double cream

For the jelly

  • Half a pack of Raspberry jelly
  • 2 tsp Chambord

For decoration

  • 8-10 Fresh raspberries
  • 300 ml Double cream


  1. Prepare the tin by folding a long piece of baking paper in half, then placing it inside the cake tin as a collar. Secure it with a paper clip
  2. Line the tin with the lady fingers. As you do so, dip one side of each ladyfinger for a couple of seconds in the sugar syrup and Chambord mixed together. Start by covering the bottom of the tin, then slowly build the sides. Fill in any gaps with cut up bits of ladyfingers
  3. Make the lime bavarois by putting the whole milk, granulated sugar, salt, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the lime zest into a pan. Heat it up to a simmer and until all of the sugar dissolves
  4. In a bowl mix up the egg yolks. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly. Then pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it for about 5 minutes until it thickens up. Pour through a sieve to remove the zest, then add the gelatine and the lime juice. Stir it until all the gelatine is dissolved, then pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool
  5. Once the custard is cool, whip up the double cream and mix it into the custard

  6. Pour it into the ladyfinger case and put it in the fridge to set. It should set in approximately 2 hours
  7. Make the jelly following the packet instructions, and add the Chambord to the mixture. Pour it on top of the set custard

  8. For the decoration whip up the double cream. Pipe it using a star nozzle around the inside edge of the Russe, and around the outside at the bottom

  9. Add raspberries and lime zest to decorate

If you like this, check out more of my Dessert recipes!

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. That's stunning Kat! It looks perfect and so beautifully decorated. I love the sound of the lime bavarois…. a lovely fresh flavour alongside the sweet lady fingers. I hope you have next years GBBO application drafted!!

  2. Hi your Raspberry and Lime Charlotte Russe looks amazing (that judgement comes from me google imaging words “Charlotte Russe” and yours stands out the best)!

    Two questions though –

    (1) What size cake tin?
    (2) Can’t remember what it was now 😕


    1. Hi Philip, thank you so much! I believe it was an 8″ tin. Let me know if you make it

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