I have been on a long, self-imposed break from the blogging world, but I felt it was necessary to pop-up for a moment to post a recipe for Princess Cake. I made it over 5 years ago from a recipe on iVillage.com (originally from the book Birthday Cakes: Recipes and Memories from Celebrated Bakers), but since then the site has taken it offline. Several times a year I get asked if I still have a copy of it. I have moved three times since then, and finally dug through my papers and found a version I printed from iVillage.com back in 2005.
Due to popular request, here it is, transcribed from my printed version. I typed it word for word, so forgive any typos. If you want the true original version, you’ll have to get the book! You can also see my attempt at making this recipe in 2005 on the original Princess Cake post .
Recipe from Birthday Cakes: Recipes and Memories from Celebrated Bakers Via iVillage.com
This lovely cake calls for care in preparation. Plan your baking and assembling steps in advance and the result is a gorgeous, delicious cake.
Marzipan: 1 day to 1 month ahead
Soaking Solution: 1 day to 1 month ahead
Vanilla Genoise Layer Cake: 1 day ahead (refrigerate) or up to 1 week ahead (freeze)
Prep Time: 150 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours (plus resting time)
- Vanilla Genoise Layer Cake (recipe follows)
- Soaking Solution (recipe follows)
- 1/3 Cup Raspberry Jam
- Flavored Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
- 1 Cup Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
- Marzipan, at room temperature (recipe follows), see note
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Fresh pink or white rose for decorating
Vanilla Genoise Layer Cake:
5 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour one 9×2 inch cake pan or two 9×1.5 inch cake pans; knock out the excess flour. Line the bottom of the pan(s) with a round of parchment paper. Fill a medium saucepan half full of water and bring to a boil.
2. Using a hand whisk, beat the eggs until blended in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Whisk in the sugar. Place the bowl over the saucepan of boiling water (the water should be at least 2 inches below the bottom of the bowl). To prevent the eggs from cooking, use your hand to stir the mixture constantly until it feels quite warm. The eggs should remain liquid and not become opaque or cooked. (Failing to mix constantly will result in very sweet scrambled eggs!) Immediately remove the bowl from the heat, fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and start whipping the eggs on high speed without stopping for 3 to 4 mintues.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter and pour it into a small bowl. Add the vanilla. Place the flour in a sifter and set aside.
4. The egg mixture is ready when the eggs have just cooled and at least tripled in volume. When you lift the whisk out of the bowl, the batter should fall off the whisk in ribbons.
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift a little less than one-fourth (a scant 1/4 cup) of the flour over the surface of the batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour. Repeat until all the flour is incorporated.
6. Pour a generous cup of batter over the melted butter mixture in the small bowl. Thoroughly fold the batter into the butter. Slowly pour the butter mixture over the remaining batter in the bowl in a circular motion. (If you add the butter mixture too quickly, it will sink, reducing the volume and toughening the cake.) Gently fold together until none of the darker butter mixture is visible.
7. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared 9×2 inch pan; it should be about two-thirds full. If using two 9×1.5 inch pans, pour one-third of the batter into one pan and the remaining two-thirds into the other pan. Set the cake pan(s) on a baking sheet and immediately place on the center rack in the oven. If using a 9x2inch pan, bake for about 30 minutes and wait to open the oven until the cake has baked at least 25 minutes, or it may fall. If using two pans, bake for about 20 minutes and wait to open the oven until the cakes have baked at least 15 minutes. The cake is done when it just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan (the cake will not spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick will not come out clean when it is ready).
8. Remove the cakes from the oven and immediately run a metal icing spatula or knife around the inside of the pan(s) to loosen the cake. Let cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely. The cakes may be stored, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for 1 day, or frozen up to 1 week.
- For optimum moistness, this cake is best baked in a 9×2 inch cake pan, then cut into 3 layers.
- Genoise may be cut into layers as soon as it is cool. If the cake has been refrigerated, cut it as soon as you remove it from the refrigerator. If it has been frozen, let it thaw about 30 minutes, then cut. Always cut off the top layer first and place it cut side down.
- If you precut the cake layers well before icing the cake, keep them covered in plastic wrap. Vanilla genoise dries out very quickly when left unwrapped.
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 pound almond paste
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 to 3 tablespoons water
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon green food coloring (traditional for the princess cake)\
1. Put the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the flat beater. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the almond paste about 1 teaspoon at a time. This will take about 5 minutes. The mixture will be crumbly. Scape down the bowl and the beater. Add the corn syrup and mix on low speed until incorporated. The mixture will still be crumbly. Again scrape down the bowl and beater.
2. In a small bowl, combine the water and food coloring. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add about half of the food coloring mixture and beat until incorporated. Continue gradually adding the food coloring until the marzipan just comes together and reaches the consistency of sugar cookie dough. It should be smooth but not crumbly or overly sticky.
3. If more color is desired, knead it by hand after removing the marzipan from the mixer. (Remember it is easier to add a little more color at the end than to make a new batch!) Different food colorings have different intensities and will require different amounts.
4. Place the marzipan on a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a 9-inch round disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap and refrigerate overnight before using. Store in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Myers’s dark rum
1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool. Add the rum. Let cool completely before using or refrigerating. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a heavy saucepan, warm the half-and-half over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the cornstarch with the sugar. Using a whisk, whip in the water until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks. When the half-and-half is simmering, slowly add about half of it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly to incorporate. Whisk this mixture into the simmering half-and-half and continue to whisk vigorously and constantly until the pastry cream thickens, about 2 to 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and transfer to a glass or metal bowl. Let cool completely, stirring frequently to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or up to 3 days.
Flavored Whipped Cream:
3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. When you are ready to assemble the cake, make the whipped cream. In a deep bowl, combine all the ingredients. Using an electric mixer or a balloon whisk, beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Set aside while cutting the cake.
TO ASSEMBLE THE PRINCESS CAKE:
1. Using a long serrated knife, level the top(s) of the cakes. If you used a 9×2 inch pan, cut the cake into three even layers; if you used two 9×1.5 inch pans, cut the thicker layer into two even layers. Place the top layer of the cake, cut side down, on a 9-inch cake cardboard. Brush it lightly with soaking solution, being careful not to oversoak it. Spread the cake with a thin layer of raspberry jam (You should almost be able to see through it.) Spread a 1/4 inch thick layer of the whipped cream over the raspberry jam. Set the middle layer of the cake on the whipped cream. Brush it with soaking solution and then spread it with a 3/8 inch thick layer of pastry cream. Place the remaining cake layer, cut side down, on top of the pastry cream. Brush it with soaking solution.
2. Using a metal icing spatula, coat the side of the cake with a 1/8 inch thick coat of whipped cream. There should be just enough whipped cream to seal in all the crumbs and to prevent the marzipan from resting directly on the cake.
3. Mound the remaining whipped cream on the top of the cake, and using a metal icing spatula, spread into a dome so that the cake almost looks like an upside down bowl. Soften the edge where the top of the genoise ends and the dome begins by beveling it with the flat part of the spatula.
4. Bring the marzipan to room temperature at least 1 hour before assembling the cake. Before attempting to cover a cake with marzipan for the first time, practice covering an inverted 8 inch or 9 inch bowl. Once you are comfortable with this technique, gather up the marzipan, knead it into a ball and reroll to cover the cake.
5. Lightly dust the work surface with confectioners’ sugar. Place the marzipan on the surface and, using an 18-inch wide rolling pin, roll out the marzipan as you would pie dough, into a 16-inch circle, 1/8 inch thick. Frequently dust the marzipan with plenty of confectioners’ sugar and turn the circle to make sure the marzipan is not sticking to the work surface. Using your hand, brush off the excess confectioners’ sugar. Don’t worry if a lot of confectioners’ sugar clings to the marzipan; it will be absorbed.
6. Set the cake near the rolled out marzipan, about 6 inches away from the edge of the work surface, so that you can see and reach around the entire cake. Loosely roll the marzipan onto the rolling pin, starting at the back and rolling toward you.
7. Lift the rolling pin with the marzipan rolled around it. Unroll the marzipan over the cake, starting at the front and unrolling toward the back, while making sure to cover the entire cake and cardboard. When finished, some marzipan should drape onto the work surface all around the cake.
8. At this point, the dome of the cake will be smoothly covered, but there will be folds and creases on the sides. To remove the folds and creases, lift the outside edge of the marzipan with a hand on either side of the fold and, without tearing or stretching, gently pull the marzipan out and down until the fold disappears.
9. Work your way around the cake. Once all the folds are eliminated, rub the palm of your hand around the sides of the cake to further smooth and eliminate air pockets.
10. With a rolling pizza cutter or small, sharp knife, carefully cut off the excess marzipan along the bottom edge of the cake cardboard (the cardboard should not show). Reserve for making leaves.
11. Slide the icing spatula under the cake cardboard and tilt the cake up enough to get the palm of your other hand underneath to lift it without touching the sides. Turn the cake, checking to make sure the cake and cardboard are completely covered with the marzipan. If not, gently push the marzipan down, using the palm of your hand.
12. Set the cake down and sift a fine dusting of confectioners’ sugar over it. Transfer to a serving platter.
13. Cut three elongated ovals about 3 inches long by 1 inch wide out of the remaining marzipan to make three leaf shapes. Lightly score the top of the leaves with a knife to create veins. Gently blend each leave into a leaflike curve. Place the marzipan leaves, spaced evenly apart, on the center of the domed cake top with the stem ends touching. Gently press the stem ends into the dome to secure the leaves to the top of the cake.
14. Cut the rose stem 2 inches below the flower. Lift the sepals so they will set over the marzipan leaves and insert the rose into the center of the dome.
15. The finished princess cake may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, but it is best the day it is made. Remove the cake from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.