Sunday, 9 July 2017



It is my lovely Swedish boyfriend’s birthday today. A few months ago he casually mentioned that he really liked the traditional Swedish cake “Prinsesstårta” and how he hadn’t had one in years. You may know the cake from a Great British Bake Off technical challenge.

Not being one to shy away from a baking challenge, I decided I would have a good go at it as a birthday surprise.

I was nervous about this for a whole week  leading up to making it. And, just for an added level of technical difficulty, I decided to not practice any of this beforehand and just make it all on the day of his birthday dinner. I have never made crème pat before, I have never coloured marzipan before and I have never covered a cake in anything but buttercream or ganache before. I don’t recommend making this cake with all those firsts in one go, but luckily it worked out fine!

Instagram pic!

Tips to help get you through it:
  • Just use jam from a jar - for the small amount needed, making it from scratch feels pointless
  • Make sure to whip the cream until stiff peaks so that it holds the dome shape
  • Again, chill for a good hour in the fridge with the cream on to again help that dome stay formed
  • Youtube is a great resource for making those damn roses!
  • I’m terrible at cutting a cake into horizontal layers so I went non-traditional and used three cake tins and baked the layers separately
  • Don’t bother buying fondant for just the rose, use some of the marzipan instead
  • You could easily make the crème pat the day before, and probably the marzipan too

Amounts wise, I probably ended up with a little too much crème pat and a little too much marzipan – could probably have made a smaller second cake with the extras!

Phone photo of the inside

The cake itself was a revelation to me - perfect amount of sweetness, with a light sponge, and ridiculously ornate. Winner!

Ingredients for the Crème Patisserie
  • 500ml milk
  • 5 free-range egg yolks
  • 80g vanilla sugar (or plain caster sugar)
  • 40g cornflour
  • 40g butter

Ingredients for the Sponges
  • 3 large eggs
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 55g cornflour
  • 55g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 35g butter, melted

Ingredients for the Marzipan
  • 400g ground almonds
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • green food colouring paste or gel
  • pink food colouring paste or gel

To finish
  • A few tbsp. strawberry jam
  • 600ml double cream
  • 35g dark chocolate, melted

Method: Crème Pat

Begin with the crème pat, because it needs to chill. This is basically like making custard, only it’s a LOT thicker.

Heat the milk slowly in a saucepan until just beginning to simmer. While that’s happening, in a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla sugar and cornflour until pale.

Pour the simmering milk slowly into the egg yolk mixture and mix well.

Pour the whole lot back into the pan and cook on a low heat, stirring, until thickened (approx. 3-4 minutes).

Just back on the heat

After a few minutes, you can see it get much thicker

Remove from the heat and beat in the cubes of butter.

Pour into a bowl, cover with clingfilm (touching the surface to prevent a skin forming) and place in the fridge to chill.

Method: Sponge

Next to be made is the sponge. Grease and line three cake tins and preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar with a handheld whisk until light and creamy (approx. 5 mins).

Gently sift over the cornflour, flour and baking powder and mix until incorporated. Fold in the melted butter.

Divide evenly between the cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until slightly golden on top and starting to come away from the sides.

Remove from the oven, let cool in the tin for 10-15 mins and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cake Assembly

When completely cooled you can begin to assemble the cake.

Begin with the bottom layer – spread a thin layer of crème pat on the bottom and then pipe a border around the outside edge of that layer. Spoon the jam in the centre and spread it out. The border prevents the jam leaking out.

Now, whip up 450ml of the cream until you get stiff peaks. Fold half of this into the remaining crème pat to make a custard cream mixture.

Spread a third of the custard cream over the jam and place the second layer of the cake on top.

Spread the remaining custard cream over that and top with the third layer.

Use the rest of the cream to cover the sides and make a dome on top of the cake. Chill in the fridge for an hour (crucial!).

Marzipan and Finishing Touches

To make the marzipan, mix together the ground almonds, icing  sugar and caster sugar in a large bowl. 

Add the eggs and mix well until mainly combined. Remove about 2 tbsp of mixture into a separate bowl.

To the original mixture, add a few generous dots of green food colouring. To the smaller bowl, add a drop or two of the red food colouring.

Kneed each marzipan batch individually until the colour is evenly distributed throughout. Add more icing sugar if it’s becoming too sticky.

You'll think the colour will never come together, but persevere!

Now, with the pink marzipan you can make a start on the rose. Roll out the pink marzipan between two sheets of greaseproof paper until about 3mm thick.

Cut out 5 circles with a small cookie cutter.

Cover them with greaseproof again and flatten the edges with the back of a spoon.

Take the first circle and roll it up. Splay the end slightly to make it resemble petals.

Add each circle in turn, wrapping it around the one before and splaying out the ends slightly.

I repeated this a few more times to make tiny little roses for around the outside (optional).

Place in the fridge to firm up.

To make the green outer casing, roll out the green marzipan between two sheets of greaseproof paper until approx. 5mm thick.

Remove the cake from the fridge once it has chilled.

Lift the marzipan carefully and drape it over the cake, being careful to not let it squish the whipped cream dome too much.

Form the marzipan around the cake as evenly as possible and trim off the excess (some little dimples and folds can be hidden by cream, so don’t worry!).

Whip the rest of the cream and place in a piping bag with a star nozzle, and pipe a layer or two of cream stars around the base of the cake.

Place the melted chocolate in a piping bag and swirl over the top of the cake.

Pipe a little of the chocolate on the base of the biggest rose and use that to anchor it to the top of the cake. Dot some of the smaller roses around the cream border.

Store in the fridge until it comes time to eat that bad boy!

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