A princess cake (Prinsesstårta in Swedish) is a traditional Swedish layer cake consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, pastry cream, and a thick-domed layer of whipped cream. This is topped by marzipan, giving the cake a smooth rounded top. The marzipan overlay is usually green, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and often decorated with a pink marzipan rose.
Jenny Åkerström is credited as the originator of the recipe for Prinsesstårta. Åkerström was a Swedish home economics guru at the beginning of the 20th century and was even an instructor to the three Swedish princesses, Margaretha, Märtha, and Astrid, daughters of Prince Carl (brother of King Gustaf V). She published a four volume series of cookbooks called Prinsessornas Kokbok: Husmanskost och Helgdagsmat (Princesses Cookbook: Home Cooking and Holiday Food). The first edition came out in 1929 with the princess’ portraits gracing the cover. With it’s great success came eighteen reprints with revisions up through 1952.
Prinsesstårta was originally called grön tårta (green cake), but was given the name prinsesstårta or “princess cake” because the princesses were said to have been especially fond of the cake. The princesses were H.R.H. Princess Margaretha (1899–1977; later Princess of Denmark), H.R.H. Princess Märtha (1901–1954; later Crown Princess of Norway), and H.R.H. Princess Astrid (1905–1935; later Queen of the Belgians). The cake is widely featured in Tom McNeal’s book Far Far Away.
Prinsesstårta also happens to be my beloved wife’s favorite cake. 🙂 To make this properly, you MUST use green food coloring paste or gel, NOT liquid food coloring. This brand is my go-to.
I recognize this recipe is very involved, and should probably not be undertaken unless you are supremely confident in your own baking skills. That said, if you’re reading this, you probably already are supremely confident in your own baking skills, so there you have it! 😉
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 4 eggs
- 2dl sugar
- 1dl wheat flour
- 1dl potato flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- For the jam:
- 200g/7oz raspberries
- 175g/6oz jam sugar
- For the fondant rose:
- – 25g/1oz pink ready-to-roll icing
- – icing sugar, for dusting
- To decorate:
- 750ml/1⅓ pints double cream
- 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate (36% cocoa solids), melted
- For the marzipan:
- 400g/14oz ground almonds
- 150g/5½oz caster sugar
- 250g/9oz icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp almond extract
- green food coloring paste (do not use liquid food coloring)
- Vanilla cream:
- 2dl milk
- vanilla pod
- 2 egg yolks
- 1½ tablespoons potato flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 leaves gelatin
- 2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- 3dl cream, whipped
- Grease and flour a round shape, approximately 26 cm in diameter.
- Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy.
- Mix both the flour and baking powder. Fold the mixture into the batter and mix well. Pour into shape.
- Bake on bottom rack in the oven for about 40 minutes.
- Turn the cake and let it cool. Cut the cake into three layers. The top should be slightly less than 1 cm thick.
- Vanilla cream:
- Cut a slit in the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds.
- Add both the seeds and pod in a stainless steel saucepan, pour in the milk and bring to the boil.
- Whisk egg yolks, potato flour and sugar fluffy. Stir the mixture into the milk. Simmer on low heat, whisking. The cream should not boil. When it thickens, it is ready. Fish out the vanilla pod.
- Put the gelatin leaves in cold water. Remove the gelatin leaves and stir them into the hot custard.
- Add the whipped cream and flavor with vanilla sugar
- For the jam, tip the raspberries into a deep saucepan with the sugar and two tablespoons of water. Cook gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to the boil and boil vigorously for about four minutes, or until the temperature reaches 104C/219F on a sugar thermometer. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and leave to cool completely.
- For the fondant rose, roll 10 little pieces of fondant into small balls about the size of a cherry stone.
- Dust two small pieces of greaseproof paper with icing sugar and one by one, place the balls of fondant between the sheets of greaseproof and flatten each ball out with your fingers, to a thin circle, approximately 2cm/1in in diameter. These form the petals.
- Roll the first petal up like a sausage to form a bud and wrap the remaining petals around the bud to make a rose. Bend and curl the edges of the petals, to make them look more realistic. Leave to dry for at least an hour.
- For the marzipan, mix the ground almonds and sugars in a mixer fitted with a dough hook, before adding the eggs and almond extract.
- Knead in the bowl until it forms a stiff dough. Turn out onto a surface dusted with icing sugar. Using a cocktail stick, add a tiny amount of green food colouring and knead to an even pastel green colour.
- Roll out the marzipan on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, to a 40cm/16in diameter circle, large enough to cover the cake.
- To assemble the cake, using a serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into three even layers. Place one of the sponges onto a serving plate. Spread ½ of jam over the base of the first sponge.
- Apply another layer, add remaining jam and shape the vanilla cream to a hill (save some of cream) over it.
- Add top cake layer and spread the remaining cream on top and around the sides of the cake.
- Roll up the marzipan on a rolling pin and gently place it over the cake. Cut off excess marzipan with a spur or a knife.
- Whip the remaining 150ml/5½fl oz of cream to medium peaks and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle. Pipe around the base of the cake.
- Spoon the melted chocolate into a small paper piping bag. Snip off the end and pipe a swirl over the top of the cake. Top with the fondant rose and dust with powdered sugar.
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