In the same vein as the Cornish Pasty and the Sachertorte this Princess cake appears to be a well know and well-loved dessert. According to food historians and google alike the Prinsesstårta (which I will be calling the princess cake because I can’t figure out how to get that little circle above the a) is a Swedish tradition. The cake originated sometime in the 1930-40 as a favourite of one or all of the three Swedish princesses, Margaretha, Märtha, and Astrid, daughters of Prince Carl. All that is to say that I will no doubt disappoint and possibly offend an entire nation with my retelling of this bake. Oh boy!
One of the nice things about this recipe is that it has a bunch of different components that can be made in advance and I started by making the marzipan. Marzipan and I are old friends. We met in the Bulk Barn over the Battenberg and took our relationship to the next level with Frasier cake when I made my first batch from scratch. This recipe advanced my marzipan experience even further when I took it from dull beige to Kermit green!
And a tidbit for my fellow history nerds out there. Noone can really determine why the Princess Cake is traditionally (although not exclusively) green. It did start its life called the green cake but there has never been any pistachio or mint or other traditionally green flavours associated with it. Maybe those princesses just liked green. You do you, princesses.
Next up I started on the custard. I was a little too confident going into this one. All those custards I had under my belt, all those pints of ice cream I’d made. I thought I had this one in the bag. Sadly I did not. I got my sugar, cornflour and 6 egg yolks together, then enjoyed a huge pile of scrambled egg whites for lunch.
I started heating the milk and got impatient. I made a silly mistake and poured the milk into the eggs before it came to a simmer. Gasp! It’s like I’d never even custard-ed before. It was too late, I didn’t have six more eggs and I definitely couldn’t handle 6 more egg whites so I went with it. I tried to thicken it on the stove top but it was taking FOREVER! Have I mentioned I can get a little impatient? I kept cooking the custard until I thought it was thick enough/as long as I could stand it and then I mixed in the butter. It was not thick. Hopefully, the fridge’s magical transformative powers would work wonders.
While my custard chilled I made the cake. I learned that a lot of European cakes have a lower fat content and use the egg foaming method and the Princess cake employed such a method. And you know what that means. More eggs!
I whipped the eggs and sifted the flour over the foamy mixture, poured in the butter and delicately combined the whole lot. As much as I try this part always baffles me. I can swear everything is incorporated and then I go to dump it in the tin, surprise more flour. This often leads to some frantic in pan mixing. Whatever gets the job done.
After 25 minutes the cake was cooked and we had a stare down while I wondered why I had never invested in a cake leveller?
I hacked it up and quickly stashed the most brutalized layer on the bottom of the pile. It’s at this point that I sadly discovered that the fridge did not save my custard. I tried to pipe a ring of custard but mostly just watched as my cream poured from the nozzle onto the cake.
My custard lake then got diluted with some of my Mom’s ridiculously good jam. I put the next layer on top and tried to forget about it.
I was able to stabilize things a bit when I mixed the whipped cream with the custard. the second layer turned out much less oozy. Then it was time to make the dome. I thought this would be one of the more difficult steps but apparently, my childhood years spent at pottery camp paid off. The dome was a success.
Don’t mind the river of custard on the bottom.
I rolled out the green marzipan and got ready to drape. I was sure the heavy cloak would squash my whipped cream but it stayed intact. The whole thing looked a bit like a picture of a densely forested planet from space.
There were some cracks and divets but those were just adding interest to the finish. I trimmed the excess marzipan and in doing so felt mad respect for all those cake decorators that drape fondant over giant cakes. It’s hard! In place of a fondant rose I kept things planetary with a cloud of whipped cream. And with a few swirls of chocolate, my Princess cake was complete.
It might not be fit for royalty but I’m hoping it would beat the versions you can get at IKEA. And let me tell you, these princesses had great taste! According to my husband and his office mates, this is their favourite bake so far (although we have kept some of the more scrummy ones at home). To be fair though my husband’s first reaction was “God, that jam!” so the real star, as usual, is my Mom’s jam. The jam is epic, and combined with custard, even my sub-par custard, and light sponge this cake is a really good bake!