Easy Summer Charlotte

easysummerchar1 As summer sadly comes to a close, I am no more tempted now to use my oven much than I was at the beginning of the summer.  It might not be as warm, but I'd rather spend my time soaking up the last bit of sun.  Now, as you've noticed, most days I am big supporter of making everything from scratch.  Today is not one of those todays.  Instead let's make the cutest, little cheater torte there ever was: my Easy Summer Charlotte.  

Sure you can make most of the components from scratch, and I applaud who ever deicides to do so.  For the rest of us, we are about to get "Semi-Homemade."  Just call me Sandra Lee ;)  This summer cake is not very representational of the traditional dessert on the inside, but the presentation is were it's at.  The ribbon makes it immediately festive and it is a great way to finish up the last of the summer berries.  Looking for something easy yet beautiful for a Labor Day party?  This is it.

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Ingredients:

– Store-bought ladyfinger cookies – 6 inch cake round (at least 2 inches high) – 2 cups heavy cream – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – 1/4 cup granulated sugar – 1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry preserves – 2 to 3 cups mixed summer berries – confectioner's sugar for dusting

Assembly:

1. Beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla together with an electric mixer until medium soft peaks form.  Set aside. 2. Place the cake round on your serving dish or cake board. 3. Using an offset spatula, spread the berry preserves on the cake.  Spread a thin layer onto the sides of the cake as well. 4. Adhere the ladyfingers around the cake.  Use a serrated knife to trim the last cookie to fit (if necessary). 5. Tie a length of ribbon around the cake to secure the ladyfingers in place. 6. Fill the cake with about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of whipped cream. 7. Top with mixed berries. 8. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

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NOTES:

– Feel free to browse my collection of basic cake recipes here, or use your own.  Still don't feel like baking?  Use a store-bought pound cake! –  This might be a "cheater charlotte," but I do feel it necessary to use fresh whipped cream.  Just my humble opinion ;)

Photos by Chantel Elder