Make Ahead

Swedish Princess Cake

December 12, 2017
4 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

I first saw this cake during a technical challenge on the Great British Bake-Off, and was immediately smitten. It's full of all my favorite dessert things: light, spongy cake, rich pastry cream, jam, and, oh yeah, GREEN MARZIPAN! I didn't know that that was one of my favorite dessert things until I stumbled upon this cake, but now it's up there.

From what I've read, Swedish Princess Cake ( or Princesstårta) is a traditional Swedish celebration cake, typically eating on national holidays. It has been around since the 1930's but is still a favorite for birthdays and other events that require a beautiful, hulking dome of a cake decked out in green and topped with a pink rose.

My recipe is a fusion of Mary Berry's and a few other Swedish versions I found online, plus a few of my own twists. If you like almonds, festivities, and desserts that are just shy of over-the-top, give this recipe a whirl. —Catherine Lamb

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes One domed 9-inch cake
  • Vanilla Custard
  • 2 cups whole milk (500g)
  • 2 vanilla beans, split with seeds scraped out
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup
    2 tablespoon sugar (120g)

  • 1/4 cup
    1 tablespoon cornstarch (40g)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed (50g)
  • Sponge Cake, Fillings, & Decorations
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150g) + 2 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted (50g)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (110g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (6g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (3g)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (50g)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (600ml)
  • 3 tablespoons jam (I used raspberry, but use whatever you like)
  • 1 pound marzipan, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Red food coloring (gel, not liquid)
  • 1 Green food coloring (gel, not liquid)
  • 1 Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (50g)
In This Recipe
  1. For the Custard: In a pot over medium heat, heat the milk with the vanilla beans and seeds just until it starts to simmer. Turn off the heat and let it sit. Mix egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Remove vanilla pods from milk and slowly pour milk into bowl, stirring constantly. Return to the pot and whisk 4 to 5 minutes, until very thick. Add butter and stir until melted. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight.
  2. For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 175 °C. Butter or spray a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment circle, then butter or spray that as well. In the bowl of a KitchenAid or electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until very thick, pale, and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add almond extract. Sift flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder over bowl (or sift into a separate bowl first) and fold in with a spatula. Fold in the melted butter and stir just to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.
  3. Make the Fondant Rose: Make the fondant by microwaving the marshmallows until melted (15-20 seconds). Stir in the powdered sugar and knead for a few minutes on a clean surface, adding more powdered sugar if it sticks, adding a few drops of water if it's too dry, until smooth and pliable. Knead in red food coloring drop by drop until you have your desired shade of pink. Dust two small pieces of parchment or waxed paper with powdered sugar and one by one, place the balls of fondant between the sheets of greaseproof paper and flatten each ball out with your fingers, to a thin circle, approximately 2 cm/1 in in diameter, to form the petals. Roll the first petal up to form a center bud and wrap the remaining petals around the bud to make a rose. Leave to dry at room temperature for at least an hour.
  4. When the cake is completely cool, use a serrated knife to carefully slice it into three even layers. Divide the jam evenly between the first two layers, spreading a thin layer over the top. Next, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to the whipped cream and beat until it holds stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the pastry cream, reserving the other half. Evenly divide the pastry-whipped cream mixture between the first two layers, spreading it carefully over the thin jam layer.
  5. Stack the two first layers, then top with the remaining cake slice. Set aside one cup of the reserved whipped cream, then use a rubber spatula to shape the remaining whipped cream into a dome shape on top of the cake, then set the whole thing into the fridge for an hour to set.
  6. While the cake is chilling, make the green marzipan exterior. On a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, knead the marzipan until it's pliable. Add two dots of green gel food coloring and knead until the color is uniform. If you like, add another dot or two of food coloring until it reaches a light lime color. Place the marzipan between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into a 16-inch diameter circle, large enough to generously cover the cake.
  7. Take the cake out of the fridge and gently drape the marzipan over the whipped cream dome. Shape and smooth the marzipan around the cake to get a clean appearance. Trim the edges and tuck them neatly under the cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip with the reserved cup of whipped cream, and pipe a row of stars around the edge of the cake to hide any imperfections.
  8. Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in 10-second increments). Make a skinny-tipped cone with parchment paper and fill it with the melted chocolate, then snip off the tip to create a makeshift pastry bag. Carefully pipe the chocolate over the top of the cake in a swirl or curlicue. Top with the pink rose in the center.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Isabella Reinhardt
    Isabella Reinhardt
  • emily
  • AnneR
  • lpaulk

4 Reviews

emily January 1, 2020
This recipe seriously needs editing. After you make the custard it is never mentioned again, so I had to do some research to figure out how the layering is actually supposed to work. It's quite different from what is written here. There is never any mention of or guidance for making the whipped cream - thankfully I've done it before, but the whole shape of the cake relies upon the whipped cream being stiff enough. The sponge is really thin, so I wasn't able to cut mine into three layers, only two. And I agree with other reviewers that the instructions for the custard are vague - when you return the mixture to the pot it doesn't say what heat to use (it previously tells you to turn off the stove) or what temperature the custard needs to reach. No mention of how thick the marzipan circle should be once you roll it out. (Also, why can't we just add the food coloring in the food processor when making the marzipan?) Overall this was disappointing - I managed to salvage my cake by supplementing with other recipes and research mid-bake but I would recommend finding a different recipe, and checking out youtube videos ahead of time to see how the layering process should happen. Food52, do better!
Isabella R. December 14, 2018
The instructions for cooking the custard were very vague--no guidance for what temperature it's supposed to be after the mixture is returned to heat, or whether it's supposed to come to a boil.
AnneR January 4, 2018
I just made this two weeks ago for my daughter’s 3rd birthday! The rose turned out great despite having never made or worked with fondant before and I even made it rose flavored with some rose water. I opted to make the marzipan, but wouldn’t do that again. It didn’t turn out that great. I also wished my whipped cream had been either stiffer or colder because it was a bit of a mess to cut into, but the leftovers cut beautifully. I wish I’d had these instructions before my attempt! Oh well. It was happily devoured by all.
lpaulk December 31, 2017
Question - There is 3 T of sugar listed as the last ingredient under the cake/fillings/decorations list but I don't see where it is used in the directions?