Anyone who knows ANYTHING about Swedish cakes knows that there is one cake in particular that Swedes are passionate about. That’s right, people, I am talking Prinsesstårta or Princess Cake. It’s a kind of “one cake to rule them all” situation, really.
The recipe is believed to originate from the 1930s and was originally called Green Cake (well, duh!). It first appeared in the 1930s “Prinsessornas Kokbok” cookbook, which was published by Jenny Åkerström, a teacher of the three daughters of H.R.H. Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland. However, the girls were so fond of it that it became known as Princess Cake – and it has been known and loved by the Swedish people under that moniker ever since. The original cake is green ( have I mentioned this before?) but it also appears in yellow (Prince Cake or Carl Gustav Cake ) and pink (Opera Cake), in which case it also has a layer of raspberry jam.
Traditionalists, myself included, bake Princess Cake without jam and with green marzipan, or Opera Cake with jam and pink marzipan – but nowadays you may find green cake with jam, or pink without – you get the idea. I have also been known to pre-order this cake from a bakery in white (which I secretly think is the prettiest one) but don’t tell anyone!
I make this cake mainly from a recipe I have found on my fave Swedish baker Leila Lindholm‘s blog, although I have adapted it slightly (as one does). Her cake has jam, for example, and mine doesn’t. But I have added the bits I would do for Opera Cake as well, and leave it up to you. Many (better bakers than me) would make their own marzipan and others might use pre-made jam for their opera cake – again, do what suits you best!
What you need:
1 ½ dl caster sugar
1 ½ dl all purpose flour
Butter and breadcrumbs for the cake tin
5 dl milk
1 vanilla pod
1 ½ dl caster sugar
7 egg yolks
1 ½ dl corn starch
50 g soft butter
1 pre-rolled green (or pink) marzipan Princess Cake disc
8 dl Cream (Vispgrädde)
For Opera Cake:
2 ½ dl fresh (or frozen) raspberries
½ dl caster sugar
What you do:
Start with the cake by pre-heating oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Whisk eggs and sugar white and then fold in the flour. Butter a cake tin (24 cm in diameter) and cover with breadcrumbs. Pour the batter in the tin and bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
Move on to the vanilla cream. Scrape out the innards of the vanilla pod and add (together with the pod itself) to the milk in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then take off the heat and remove the pod. Whisk yolks, sugar and starch fluffy, then add the hot milk while stirring gently. Put the mix back into the saucepan and heat until thick while stirring vigorously. When thick enough, take off the heat and add butter. Stir mixture until butter has melted. Place in fridge to cool.
If you are making Opera Cake – prepare raspberries by mixing fresh berries (or thawed berries) with sugar. Put aside.
When cake and vanilla custard has cooled completely it is time to assemble the tårta.
Whip cream stiff ( and I mean really stiff, stop just before it turns into butter) and put to the side. Cut the cake into three even pieces. On the bottom piece, spread half of the vanilla custard (or for Opera Cake – the raspberry mixture). Add the next piece and spread liberally with the rest of the vanilla custard. Put the last piece on and add the cream. Don’t be afraid to really go for it and shape the cream as a dome. Carefully place the marzipan disc over the cake. Smooth it down the sides and cut off any excess at the bottom.
Dust with icing sugar (through a sieve works best) Place the rose jauntily on the side or smack bang in the middle – it’s a personality thing.
Featured image: Jakob Fridholm/imagebank.sweden.se