Make Ahead

Swedish Princess Cake

January 28, 2022
14 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • makes 1 domed (9-inch) cake
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 1930s 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. I'm not going to lie to you: This cake is a project. It requires some advanced planning and a few separate components, some of which need to chill; however, several of the steps can be done way ahead of time, and you can substitute your favorite pudding, cake, and jam recipes in for the ones called for in the recipe. Feel free to customize this dessert to your whims: Make the marzipan blue instead of green, top it with a sunflower instead of a rose, or go make them mini! Okay, let's do this. —Catherine Lamb

What You'll Need
  • Vanilla Custard & Cake:
  • Custard:
  • 2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon (120 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (40 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2 cups (500 grams) whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons (50 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • Cake:
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup (110 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) constarch
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (50 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Assembly:
  • Fondant Rose:
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
  • Gel red food coloring (not liquid)
  • Whipped Cream:
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Assembly & Decorations:
  • 3 tablespoons jam (I used raspberry, but use whatever you like)
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • 1 pound store-bought or homemade marzipan
  • Gel green food coloring (not liquid)
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  1. Make the Custard: In a medium pot over medium heat, heat the milk and vanilla pods and seeds just until it starts to simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Remove the vanilla pods from the milk. Slowly pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly to combine. Return to the pot and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes, until very thick. Add the butter and stir until melted. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  3. Make the Cake: Heat 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.
  4. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 to 7 minutes, until very thick, pale, and fluffy. Mix in the almond extract.
  5. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt over the bowl (or sift into a separate bowl first) and fold in with a spatula. Fold in the melted butter and stir just to combine.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Make the Fondant Rose: In a medium heatproof bowl, microwave the marshmallows until melted. Stir in the powdered sugar until combined. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead with your hands for a few minutes, adding more powdered sugar if it sticks or a few drops of water if it's too dry, until smooth and pliable. Knead in the red food coloring drop by drop until you have your desired shade of pink.
  8. Divide the fondant into 5 to 6 pieces and form into balls. Dust 2 small pieces of parchment or waxed paper with powdered sugar. One by one, place the balls between the sheets and flatten with your fingers to a thin circle, about 2 centimeters/1 inch in diameter. Roll the first petal up to form a center bud. Wrap the remaining petals around the bud to make a rose. Let dry at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  9. Make the Whipped Cream: In the large bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  10. Stack the Cake: When the cake is completely cool, use a serrated knife to carefully slice into 3 even layers. Divide the jam evenly between 2 layers, spreading a thin layer over the top.
  11. Fold half of the whipped cream into the chilled custard. Evenly divide the custard mixture between the first 2 layers, spreading carefully over the jam.
  12. Stack the 2 first layers, then top with the remaining cake layer. Set aside 1 cup of the remaining whipped cream. Using a rubber spatula, shape the remaining whipped cream into a dome shape on top of the cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
  13. While the cake is chilling, on a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, knead the marzipan until pliable. Add 2 dots of green 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.
  14. Place the marzipan between 2 sheets of waxed paper and roll to a 16-inch diameter circle, large enough to generously cover the cake.
  15. 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.
  16. Decorate: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip with the reserved 1 cup of whipped cream. Pipe a row of stars around the edge of the cake to hide any imperfections.
  17. In a double boiler or the microwave, melt the chocolate. Make a skinny-tipped cone with parchment paper and fill with the chocolate, then snip off the tip. 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.

  • betty888
  • Isabella Reinhardt
    Isabella Reinhardt
  • emily
  • AnneR

5 Reviews

betty888 September 4, 2023
Let me start by saying that our Swedish friend said that this was the best princess cake she has ever eaten (even I was blown away by that!). I made it as a treat for my mom’s birthday. Could the instructions for the custard be more clearly written? Yes, I think so - but I managed to work it out. I think it’s important to have a sense for the cake construction/end result before you start - and if it’s not clear here, look at other recipes and videos. I had a rough time with the marzipan - it was a hot day and it kept getting stuck to my roller. I would suggest dusting with powdered sugar if you’re having the same issue. It’s a pretty labor-intensive cake but you get to use a lot of fun baking skills. It just takes a long time. But it was a lot of fun!
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?