Charlotte Malakoff

I recently managed to get an old recipe book off my mum which had been misplaced for many years. I’ve been asking her to find it because it had all the recipes I remembered from my childhood. It was one of those little books that you fill in yourself which had lots of recipes my grandmothers and family friends had collected.

My Mum baked a lot and we always had fresh cake in the house but at the weekends she would make something special for dessert. These are the ones that have really stuck in my memory, I loved all the boozy desserts but my favourite was Charlotte Malakoff
Photograph of Charlotte Malakoff   baked by Jane.
Photograph of Charlotte Malakoff   baked by Jane.

I took a class with Richard Bertinet a few years ago and we were tasting his frangipane which was seasoned with lots of rum – it took me right back to the taste of this dessert. I’ve finally been able to remake it and it still tastes exactly as I remember. My mum is definitely my inspiration for baking, without those early memories of sitting on the counter top stirring, licking spoons or playing with bits of pastry I doubt I would be where I am today. 

Photograph of Charlotte Malakoff   baked by Jane.


6-8 people


Rum Syrup

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g water
  • 1tbsp rum


  • 22 savoiardi sponger fingers
  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g ground almonds
  • 240g double cream
  • 4 ½ tbsp rum

To Decorate

  • 150g of whipping cream
  • 1tsp vanilla paste


  1. To make the syrup place the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer until the sugar has dissolved and remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and stir in the tablespoon of rum. 
  2. Line the sides and base of a deep 6” cake tin with baking paper, I rip a small tab in the paper and fold it over itself to hold the paper collar in place. 
  3. Take 16 of your sponge fingers and brush the back of them generously with the rum syrup. Crush the remaining 6 fingers into small pieces and set aside. 
  4. To make the filling cream the butter and sugar together until very pale in colour, this will take about 3-5 minutes, add in the ground almonds and 1 ½ tablespoons of the rum, beat again for another couple of minutes until really light and soft in texture. Next whip the double cream until it holds its shape, fold it into the butter and almond mixture half at a time until fully combined. Take half the Charlotte filling (285g) put it into a piping bag, start lining your tin with the sponge fingers, sugar side facing out, pipe a dollop of filling behind each one as you go along to hold them in place. Once you have fully lined the sides fill in the middle of the Charlotte and level it out as best you can. Take your crushed sponge fingers and sprinkle them in an even layer over the Charlotte filling, soak with the remaining 3 tbsp of rum then pipe or spoon over the other half of the Charlotte filling, level the surface with a spoon or spatula, cover with cling film and chill for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight. 
  5. To turn out your Charlotte one set, trim the sponge fingers level with your filling if you need to, gently place your serving plate on top of the Charlotte and flip them both over, carefully lift off the tin and peel away the paper lining. 
  6. To decorate whip your whipping cream and vanilla to soft peaks, pipe it on top of your Charlotte with whatever nozzle you like on your piping bag. 

Published by Jane Lewis


In 2015 I made it through to the last 50 in the last audition of The Great British Bake Off. Sadly I wasn't chosen for the programme but I need to carry on my journey as I can't imagine my life without baking.

I'd love to start writing my own recipes. So what better place to do it than starting a blog.