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One of my most favorite things about the holidays is preparing my dessert table! I mean WHO doesn’t love rich, delicious cakes, cookies and pies? With NO guilt, because well, it’s the holidays and calories don’t count!

I remember helping my mom with that very special table for years. I was always in awe of the heavenly scents of baked treats waffling from the kitchen and how perfectly beautiful they all were. Of course we all had our favorites that she made sure were present and accounted for year after year, but every now and again she would choose at least one new dessert to display. I guess I was about seven when mom’s very first Charlotte appeared on the table. To me it seemed to be very similar to chocolate pudding but “gussied up” a bit. Chocolate pudding was one of my all time favorite desserts and I KNEW this was going to be MY year with that Charlotte!


As we all finished our dinner, I all but ran at warp speed to the dessert table. I KNEW I wanted that chocolate pudding! I dug in! I served myself quite the bowl, but I knew it was going to be the favorite and I wanted to make sure I had some for later. I was smart.

I raised my spoon and ever so delicately, SHOVED it into the chocolate puddle of goo and into my mouth as quick as humanly possible! I closed my eyes and waited for the oh so decadent deliciousness to hit my taste-buds.


But then…something happened. I looked into my bowl to make certain this was in fact the Chocolate Charlotte that sat ever so regal on the dessert table taunting me for almost 24 hours. Yes, this was it, but…but…something was wrong. Very wrong. This was not delicious! This was TERRIBLE! This tasted like…like…VODKA!

How would I know what vodka tasted like at seven you ask? Well, mama drank vodka. Vodka over ice can easily mimic a nice cold glass of ice water. On multiple occasions I mistook it for just that, then quickly realized my error. DISGUSTING!


To make a very long story short, mama had no Kirsch brandy that the recipe called for, so she thought, liquor is liquor, let’s soak the cake in vodka! Of all of my mama’s masterful baking skills, fantastic recipe creations and terrifically brilliant ideas, this was NOT one.

The Charlotte never appeared on mama’s dessert table again. I’m quite surprised it finally appeared on mine. Except this time, no vodka. Instead, I used Caffe Borghetti. YUM! I learned from the best 😉


Caffe Borghetti Charlotte

  • 30-40 lady fingers or pound cake cut into rectangle strips
  • ¼ cup Caffe Borgetti Espresso Liquor + 1/4 cup
  • 10 oz. dark baking chocolate
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

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Lightly butter an 8 cup springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Mix the liquor with 1/4 cup cold water in a shallow dish. Soak one ladyfinger or pound cake slice in the mixture coating both sides. Remove from liquid and place against the side of your pan. Continue this process until all have been coated and placed.

Separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and set the yolks to the side.

Using a double boiler, heat the chocolate and milk and blend until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add butter incrementally and mix until you have a silky texture. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add in the remaining 1/4 cup of liquor. Whip the mixture for several minutes with the wooden spoon until silky. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and then beat in the powdered sugar. In another bowl beat the chilled cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream and fold in the egg whites.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan making sure the cake or ladyfingers are flush against the sides of the pan.  Cover the top with additional slices of liquor soaked cake. Cover and refrigerate.

To serve, flip the Charlotte upside down. Remove the springform ring, then the bottom of the pan. Finally, peel away the parchment paper. Top with fresh whipped cream, berries, cherries or additional chocolate.

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A very special thank you to Caffe Borghetti for providing their delicious spirit for this recipe. Although the product was complimentary, all thoughts, opinions, words, over indulging and drooling are strictly my own. 

Chef M Logo