Charlotte Fruit Torte

This Easter we had a simple meal of ham biscuits, pimento cheese, salad and this Charlotte torte for dessert.

My cousin Emily and I worked in a grocery store bakery during college, and we learned how to make these! While I think they look so festive and impressive, they are very simple and this one did not even involve any baking! I just bought one angel food cake from the bakery and we used it for the layers.

While I did use a springform pan for this torte, you could easily use a regular cake pan (just may have trouble removing it) or a glass bowl or trifle dish would also work! I happened to find these soft lady fingers in the bakery section of the grocery store but you could also use whatever you layer you use for banana pudding… graham crackers, Nilla wafers, Pepperidge Farm cookies, etc.

For the filling, I used to always use vanilla pudding + one container Cool Whip and it’s great! But because I really don’t care for the taste of Cool Whip anymore, I hardly ever have it on hand and have evolved to using some combination of sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, sour cream or homemade whipped cream… Just adding something to the plain vanilla pudding to make it more rich and decadent.

Fruit Charlotte Torte

2 packs Lady Fingers

2 large (5.1oz) instant Vanilla pudding

milk

1 tub Cool Whip (optional- see notes below)

1 angel food cake (or 1-2 cake layers)

fruit to decorate- I love raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes, and blueberries

Instructions

Make the pudding according to the box instructions.

*Note: To make it more decadent and “thicker” than plain pudding, I usually add some combination of sweetness and fluff: either one tub of Cool Whip or one can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) or whipped cream (or container Cool Whip) and sometimes a block of cream cheese or a cup of sour cream, mixing well.

Line the bottom of springform pan with cake layer. I keep cake layers 1/2 – 1 inch thick.

Line the sides of springform pan with lady fingers.

Add one layer of pudding mixture.

Follow with cake layer. Repeat until you reach the top, ending with pudding layer.

Then the fun part! Decorate with fruit! If I am taking this somewhere, I usually add the fruit with only a few hours to go. Especially cut fruit (like strawberries) can sometimes leak their juices a little. This one above was refrigerated overnight and nothing leaked at all.

Favorite Hershey Chocolate Cake

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This past Christmas we were visiting my family at Smith Mountain Lake and my grandmother brought this very delicious chocolate cake.  The minute I tried it, it took me back to my childhood.  It’s like one of those simple, non-showy, tried and true desserts that we ate as kids – nothing fancy.

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There is just nothing like bringing out a whole cake for dessert!  It makes any occasion special.

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Candles from Everyday Occasions make every cake look so special!

But cakes can be quite time-consuming if you have to bake multiple layers and make your own icing (not hard, but definitely messy), not to mention the finesse it takes to ice a layer cake!  Well this one is meant to be a sheet cake (read:easy) as opposed to stacked layers.  I usually make it in a round pan.  And the icing really makes it.  It is just the slightest bit “grainy” from the sugar.  Kind of like your grandmother’s fudge.  It is so easy to ice because you just pour it over the not-yet-cooled cake so the cake and the icing come together to make the perfect bite. It is also a great dessert to deliver to new moms (and potlucks) because it can be baked in any shape/size foil disposable pans, so it travels well and she won’t have to return any dishes 🙂

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It truly has become my new favorite chocolate dessert.  For some reason, starting with Adam’s birthday after the holidays, we got into the rhythm of having 2-3 couples over for dinner each Saturday.  Every Saturday I made practically the same menu!  Adam’s favorite: Beef Tenderloin, Salad, and some version of potato (baked, mashed, scalloped).  And each time I was asked for the cake recipe.  Enjoy!

HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CAKE

1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) can hershey chocolate syrup

ICING

1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup evaporated milk or regular milk
1⁄2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

For cake: Cream butter and sugar; then add eggs one at a time and beat well, after each.
Sift dry ingredients and add to above mixture.
Add syrup and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes in 13×9 inch pan.
Do not over bake. After cake is baked, immediately prepare icing because you will ice cake while hot.

For icing: Boil butter, milk and sugar together for two to three minutes.
Add chocolate chips, beat until smooth.
Pour on cake.

Enjoy!!