Chocolate Charlotte

Taking a little break from holiday baking, I made this dessert for my sister’s birthday. For some reason, I had it in my head that I wanted to make a charlotte. I’d never made one before, and it just seemed like the thing to make for her day.

I flipped through cookbooks and searched online and narrowed it down to two recipes. This recipe that is pictured above in all its delicious glory. And this other one. The one that nearly turned me off making any kind of desserts ever again.

That “other” recipe is actually the one I started out making. I read through it several times and thought it sounded great. About two-thirds of the way through trying to prepare it, I set down my hand mixer and told Quinn I wasn’t going any further. It’s not that it was necessarily complicated. I think it’s just not a good recipe.

So, I threw out what I had made so far, except the ladyfingers which were already lining my springform pan and soaking up Kahlua. Quinn was kind enough to make a run to the grocery store to get a few things, and at 11pm I switched recipes.

This simple Chocolate Charlotte is sure to impress. It's beautiful and delicious!

In stark contrast from that “other” recipe, this one was simple and quick. It all made sense, which was a definite plus. Most importantly, it was so very good that I could hardly believe it. We all had very happy plates and had some leftovers to enjoy later. In fact, I still have a slice or two in the freezer that I must go tend to right now.

Chocolate Charlotte

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Chocolate Charlotte


  • 24 ladyfingers
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 2.6 ounce box whipped topping mix*
  • 1 & 1/2 cup cold milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened


Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Brush cut sides with Kahlua. Arrange in bottom and around sides of a 10-inch springform pan, placing the cut sides up. Cover with plastic wrap.

Prepare whipped topping according to package directions using 1 cup milk and vanilla extract.

Combine sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Add cream cheese, and beat until well-blended using an electric mixer on medium speed. Add 1/2 cup milk and beat well.

Gently fold in whipped topping. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or until firm.


*Dream Whip is a common brand of whipped topping mix. You can also substitute about 2 cups of frozen whipped topping, such as Cool Whip.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

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  1. Patricia Scarpin December 17, 2007 Reply

    I have never made a charlotte before, Jen – yours looks amazing!

  2. Gretchen Noelle December 17, 2007 Reply

    Very beautiful! I have never even thought to make this before. I don’t even know if we have ladyfingers here! I may have to look into this!

  3. charlotte s December 17, 2007 Reply

    i saw “chocolate charlotte” on tastespotting and just had to click! my name is charlotte and ive been dreaming for someone to make this for my birthday for years! i may just have to make one for myself 😉
    looks beautiful!

  4. amanda December 17, 2007 Reply

    I have been searching for a good, tasty chocolate charlotte for ever! I wanted one for my birthday tomorrow. Now i’m gonna go get in my kitchen and and whip up my birthday cake.

  5. jennifer December 17, 2007 Reply

    Thanks, Patricia!

    Gretchen, ladyfingers are usually in the freezer section of a grocery store.

    Charlotte, it would make a wonderful birthday present to yourself!

    Amanda, I searched quite a while to find this recipe, but it was certainly worth the time and effort. I hope you like it! Happy birthday!

  6. Nan December 17, 2007 Reply

    This was my best birthday cake ever!

    I was served a Chocolate Charlotte about 8 years ago at a party and was just determined that I would learn how to make one. Needless to say, that never happened. I was blown away when this charlotte appeared at my birthday celebration this year. That just shows you that Sisters know you better than anyone on the earth!!

    This dessert is just so elegant and classy not to mention the taste is absolutely divine. The left-overs were wonderful, too.

    Thank you for making my birthday a special celebration as you always do!

    I love you, Sis!

  7. JEP December 17, 2007 Reply

    What a lovely birthday cake! I like the peanut butter tart recipe, too!

  8. jennifer December 17, 2007 Reply

    You’re welcome, Nan!

    JEP, thanks! That peanut butter tart is one of my favorites.

  9. megan December 18, 2007 Reply

    I never heard of a chocolate Charlotte before but rest asurred, this is bookmarked! It looks amazing!

  10. jennifer December 19, 2007 Reply

    Thanks, Megan! I highly recommend it.

  11. Nina November 15, 2008 Reply

    Does somebody know the origin of this recipe? I’m doing a research on it and I can’t find a thing! I know it’s French, but I need to know more. Can you help me?

  12. jennifer November 16, 2008 Reply

    Nina, I really don’t know much about the origins of the charlotte. I would be interested to know what you find out. Good luck!

  13. Marla February 18, 2014 Reply

    This looks like the perfect dessert for a dinner I’m making next week. I plan to make it the day before. Jennifer, I’m wondering if I should serve it directly from the freezer, or if you recommend letting it sit on the counter for maybe 15 or 20 minutes before slicing/serving?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry February 18, 2014 Reply

      Marla, either way should work. With a sharp knife, it should slice easily straight out of the freezer. Allowing it to sit for a bit will soften it up, which makes it easier to slice but a little more likely that the slices won’t come out as neatly.

      • Marla February 19, 2014 Reply

        Thank you, Jennifer!

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