I recently met a nice group of Swedes that were particularly knowledgeable about dessert, my favorite subject. As we talked I learned about some of their favorites from home, including the traditional Swedish Princess Cake (or as they say in Sweden, Prinsesstårta). This cake includes several layers of genoise, whipped cream, custard, rum soaking solution and raspberry jam and is topped with a thick layer of green marzipan. The marizipan is usually decorated with powdered sugar, fresh flowers or lines of chocolate ganache, creating an impressively decorated, dome shaped cake. Traditionally served at Swedish celebrations, the Princess Cake is unlike anything I have seen before.
I am usually not a fan of marzipan, but after seeing a picture of this bright green dessert I had to try it for myself. Good recipes for Princess Cake are hard to find in English, and very few bakeries in America make it since the recipe requires much time and care. I found out IKEA sells a boxed version of the cake, but somehow it didn’t seem right for my first Princess Cake to be from a furniture store.
I finally found a great recipe for Princess Cake on iVillage, which included detailed instructions for how to prepare each layer and assemble the cake. It recommends making the components of the cake over the course of a few days, but I failed to listen to that good advice. I started making this cake when the sun was shining brightly outside, and I finished well after midnight. Part of the problem was my own mistake; I undercooked the first genoise cake I made and had to start over. The rest of my time was spent cooking custard, mixing marzipan and waiting for things to cool enough to be used. The recipe says the marzipan needs to chill overnight, but I used it after two hours in the refrigerator and had no trouble.
The cake turned out to be a big success. Although I have never had an actual Princess Cake from Sweden, the result looked very similar to the picture in the recipe and it tasted just like my Swedish friends described. I believe the Princess Cake could be a big hit in America, if only local bakeries were more familiar with the recipe. The bright green color is beautiful, and it is a perfect mixture of moist cake, rich custard and light whipped cream. This cake also gave me a new appreciation for marzipan since it was so easy to work with and provided a nice topping to the cake without being overly sweet like some frostings.
For those of you brave enough to make your own Princess Cake, a few things I learned along the way include:
- For a lighter green cake, only use a few drops of food coloring. I used 1/8 teaspoon and the color was brighter than I intended.
- The cake is supposed to have more whipped cream on top in order to create a dome shape, but I decided to use 2 cups instead of the 3 called for since I prefer less. I recommend using as much or as little as you like, the cake will taste great either way.
- After my first attempt at the genoise failed, I realized I didn’t have enough eggs on hand to make another. I used a recipe for a Golden Butter Cream Cake from The Cake Bible and it worked very well. I wouldn’t hesitate to substitute almost any type of yellow cake for the genoise in the future.
- Add the powdered sugar just before serving. It will be completely absorbed by the marzipan within a few hours. To help keep the powdered sugar visible longer, store the decorated cake in a cool, dry place.
Good luck with your Swedish Princess Cakes! If all else fails, there’s always IKEA.
Thank you Magnus!
Frodinge Prisessatårta at IKEA >