Swedish Princess Cake (Princesstårta)
Swedish princess cake is synonomous with celebration for Swedes. Birthday? How about a princesstårta? Midsummer? Got to be princesstårta! End of school? Yep, you’ve got it.
This cake was most definitely made in honour of a special occasion: my son’s graduation from secondary school. My 15 year old, first born has now finished his compulsory education (although he has many more years of studying ahead) and he asked for this cake to celebrate.
Now, there’s a reason why Swedish princess cake is for special occasions. They’re bloody fiddly. Mine was far from perfect, but I was pleased with it. Towering, layered cake with cream. Lots and lots and lots of cream. In fact, it’s the cream that creates the easily recognisable dome shape of the cake. Although the cake can be made in one day, I recommend you make the vanilla cream and sponges the day before you want to eat it. That way, the cake is a little easier to handle and the vanilla cream is thick. Then all you need to do on the day is whip up some cream and assemble.
Although there is a fairly standard method in making a princesstårta, it does change a little due to personal preference. Traditionally, it is one cake sliced into three but as I was apprehensive about slicing cake (I am unable to cut in a straight line), I decided on two eight inch cakes.
The plan was to cut one into two and keep the other whole, but in the end, went with cutting them both in half. This meant that the traditional three layers became four. Not a problem. This just meant I could pack in even more cream. In some versions, the last layer is place on top to create the dome shape but I don’t think that’s necessary.
Along with the cream, the cake has jam and a light, airy sponge. It is covered with marzipan. Because princesstårta is so popular in Sweden, you can buy ready-made “lids” just to pop over the top. Makes life so much easier. That is, if you haven’t made your cake too high with an extra layer and need to roll it out further (almost to the point of tearing apart). Oops.
If ready made marzipan covers are not available where you are, Mary Berry has a homemade version for her Swedish princess cake. Mary’s version also includes homemade raspberry jam (I cheated and used a high quality shop-bough brand). Yes, I noticed Mrs Berry’s version is fan-cy. Mine isn’t. I am no cake decorator but I was pleased with my efforts and it did the job. If you have a special occasion coming up, why not wow your friends or family with a princesstårta?
Swedish Princess Cake
- 50g butter
- 4 eggs
- 150g sugar
- 75g cornflour/starch
- 70g spelt flour (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 100ml milk
- 100ml cream
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or sugar)
- 750-1000ml whipping cream
- Jam (enough to cover to layers of cake)
- Marzipan cover (to make your own see notes)
- Decoration (see notes)
- Icing sugar (sprinkling)
- It is recommended that you make the cake and vanilla cream the day before you need the cake.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 8" pans and line the bottoms.
- Melt the butter and set to one side.
- In a mixer (or whisking by hand) add the eggs and sugar. Whisk until the mixture is pale in colour and thickened (this should take about five minutes).
- Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder and add to the wet ingredients along with the melted butter. On the lowest setting, whisk the ingredients together just until everything is combined (do not overwork). Alternatively, fold in the dry ingredients, if you prefer.
- Divide between the two pans and bake for 20 minutes. An inserted skewer will come out clean and the tops will be spongy when ready. Set to one side until cool, then remove from the pans. When cold, cover them and leave them until the next day.
- Add all of the ingredients to a pan and heat on a moderate heat, whisking all the time, until the mixture is the consistency of a fairly thick paste. Allow to cool before storing in the fridge until use the next day.
- Whisk the cream until thick.
- Cut both cakes into two so you are left with four layers. Place one layer bottom down on a plate or cake dish. Take the pastry cream and cover the sponge, being careful to not go right up to the edges and not to use too much (it will squeeze out of the sides when you add the further layers).
- Place the second layer on top and spread over just enough jam to cover the whole cake (again, don't go right up to the edges or use too much). Top with some whipped cream, smoothing it over to make it even. Push the cream over the edge of the cake and using a little more, cover the sides of both layers.
- Take a third layer and place on top. Cover with a thin layer of vanilla cream, followed by a thin layer of jam.
- Top with the last layer. Cover the top and sides with cream, smoothing as you go (you need the sides to be as level as possible, but perfection is not necessary). Then, pile more cream on top (in the middle) to create a dome shape. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.
- When ready, cover the cake with the marzipan lid. Attach your decoration and sprinkle with icing sugar. Slice and enjoy your celebrations
- You can replace the spelt flour with regular plain flour - just use 75g instead of the mentioned 70g.
- I used shop-bought jam. If you'd like to make your own, follow Mary Berry's recipe.
- My flower and leaves decorations were also shop bought. If you want to make your own, check out Mary's link above.