James Martin’s Charlotte Royale

charlotte royal image
James Martin image
James Martin. Image: Peter Cassidy

Charlotte Royale is one of two classic desserts that are made in a similar way: Charlotte Russe uses the same mousse filling, but is lined with sponge fingers, rather than Swiss roll. Either would make a great dessert to eat sat by the riverbank I thought… well, until a coachload of screaming kids turned up, which ruined the illusion. It aged Ryan the soundman by several years, trying to compete with the ever-growing crescendo of noise! Perhaps you will find a more peaceful setting to enjoy this summer favourite.


Strawberry and raspberry Charlotte Royale

Foodies James Martin’s Charlotte Royale James Martin’s Charlotte Royale Print This
Serves: 8
Nutrition facts: calories fat
Rating: 2.8/5
( 94 voted )


  • 1 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 x 20-cm ready-made Swiss roll cakes, each cut into 5-mm slices
  • 200g raspberries
  • 6 gelatine leaves
  • 500ml good-quality fresh custard
  • 300ml good-quality strawberry or raspberry sauce
  • 6 egg whites
  • 600ml double cream
  • 200g mixed summer fruit (strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants)
  • A few sprigs fresh mint


Put the gelatine for the mousse into a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush the oil all over the inside of a 3 litre glass bowl, then line with cling film, smoothing it out and pressing right to the edges. Arrange the slices of Swiss roll inside the bowl, so they cover the sides completely. Set aside.

Back to the mousse. In a medium saucepan, gently warm the custard over a low heat. Lift the gelatine out of the bowl and squeeze out any excess water, then add to the pan of warmed custard. Add the strawberry or raspberry sauce and continue to gently heat, stirring until the gelatine has completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl to stiff peaks. Whip the double cream in a separate bowl.

When the custard mixture is cool, fold in the cream with a large metal spoon, then fold in the egg whites, mixing carefully until you have a smooth mousse.

Fill the bottom of the sponge-lined bowl with the raspberries, then spoon over the mousse and level the top. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

When ready to serve, upturn the bowl onto a large platter or cake stand. Lift off the bowl and remove the clingfilm, then decorate with the strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and mint sprigs.

From James Martin’s Islands to Highlands (Quadrille, £25). Photography: Peter Cassidy

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