Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta! Korena described it as layers of light sponge cake, raspberry jam, and vanilla custard/pastry cream, topped with a mound of fluffy whipped cream, covered in green marzipan, and garnished with a marzipan rose.
Korena advised that:
A little research revealed that the original recipe was created in the 1930s by a Swedish home economics teacher named Jenny Åkerström, who taught the three Swedish princesses of the time. She published a series of four cookbooks called “The Princess Cookbooks” and in one of the editions, there was a recipe for “Grön Tårta” (green cake). One story is that this later became known as “princess cake” (prinsesstårta) because the three princesses are said to have loved it so much. Another story is that Ms. Åkerström actually created three very elaborate “princess cake” recipes – a different one for each princess – and that the current version is a simplified combination of all three. That explains the princess connection, but the reason for the cake being green still seems to be a mystery. Today, prinsesstårta is popular in Finland as well as Sweden – so much so that the third week in September is officially Prinsesstårta Week!
Korena’s cake was a beautiful, perfectly rounded dome, covered in smooth green marzipan. It probably won’t surprise anyone to hear that mine was somewhat different.
The sponge cake was actually one of the better sponges I have made, which isn’t saying much as I’ve never made one that didn’t end up basically flat. The instructions said not to worry if it cracked, so I didn’t when it did.
The next step was to layer cake, then jam, then custard, then cake, jam, custard, then mound firmly whipped cream into a dome shape and drape the inner layer of cake (the sponge was cut into three layers) over that dome. The entire creation then gets covered with cream. Apparently it was meant to be symmetrical. Yeah…I think I probably made it harder for myself by constructing it on a cake stand which was indented, so I was already fighting gravity. But there’s a fairly good chance it would have been dodgy in any event, so I won’t blame the stand (isn’t it pretty, by the way? It was my Gaga Alma’s).
The “smooth, regular dome shape” was then carefully covered with marzipan which had been carefully tinted green. I hate marzipan and am lazy so used some ready-rolled red fondant I had left over from the fire engine cake. I put some decorative shoes on top because the cake was partly to celebrate the speedy (and annoyingly skinny, as he seems to be getting leaner at the same rate I am getting fatter) husband’s equal PB in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon that morning. OK, so he didn’t run in pretty ballet flats, but he did run in shoes. A tenuous link, but I’m going with it.
This is what it looked like on the inside. It got some mixed reviews, although they were generally positive. We had a number of 3 and 5 year olds cast their votes and there was some discrepancy between those who wanted “cake with no skin” and “skin with no cake”. I found the huge mass of cream a bit offputting but then I am not a fan of cream. What would I know? I will definitely use that sponge cake recipe again though. Here is the recipe:
Fine dry breadcrumbs for the pan (such as crushed panko)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) granulated white sugar
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup (120 ml) (65 gm) (2¼ oz) potato starch (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Thoroughly butter a 9” (23 cm) round springform pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Dust the buttered pan with enough breadcrumbs to coat the bottom and sides, just like flouring a cake pan. Set aside.
2. Place the eggs and granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment until the eggs are tripled in volume and very light coloured and fluffy, about 5 minutes. The mixture should fall from the beaters in thick ribbons. Don’t overbeat the eggs – once they form thick ribbons and stop growing in volume, stop beating.
3. Sift the all-purpose (plain) flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then sift the flour mixture over the whipped eggs. With a balloon whisk, fold the flour into the eggs until blended, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Use large, gentle yet confident strokes, bringing batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Once mixed, the batter should be quite thick and smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread it out evenly, and bake in the lower third of the preheated moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes then run a knife around the edge and remove the sides of the springform pan. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. If the cake is lopsided, press gently to make it level, then allow it to cool completely before continuing. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored, well-wrapped in plastic, at a cool room temperature.
Thanks Korena for dragging me out of my comfort zone!