Thursday, March 27, 2014


Every once and a while my friend Melody and I get together to try an interesting (and sometimes daunting!) new recipe. Last Friday was one of those days. 

Neither of us had ever made a princess cake before, and we were very excited. (We planned the day we would make the cake over a month in advance- true story!) I first heard of this type of cake a little over a year ago, and since then I have had my heart set on making one. When the day finally came, I was ready but very nervous- after all, the cake is a visual masterpiece: delicate layers of cake, fruit, custard, and cream all covered in a blanket of smooth marzipan. As we proceeded to make the cake, though, I realized that princess cakes aren't nearly as complicated as they seem. With a little time and patience, you can make one, too. 
Our finished Prinsesstårta!
The recipe we used is from an Irish food blogger named Donal Skehan. I had never heard of him, but I trust Melody is all culinary matters, so I knew the recipe she selected would be good. And sure enough, it was! I'm looking forward to trying more of Donal's recipes soon. 

Now, on to the cake! Here is a copy of the version we used:

(modified from
Serves 12

For the sponge cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 170g caster sugar (*note: if you have a food processor or blender you can make your own caster sugar from granulated sugar- instructions can be found here: 
  • 120g plain flour
  • butter for greasing the tin
For the crème patissière (pastry cream):
  • vanilla extract, to taste
  • 450ml milk
  • 120g caster sugar (*see note above)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 50g corn starch
For the filling and assembly:
  • fresh raspberries or good jam
  • 750ml heavy whipping cream cream, whipped to soft peaks (add corn starch to thicken if necessary)
  • 500g marzipan plus food coloring 
  • powdered sugar
Note: You will need a kitchen scale for this recipe. Europeans don't use measuring cups like we do here in America, so investing in a basic electronic kitchen scale will open up a world of recipe possibilities. 

For the sponge cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease and line a 20cm round spring-form cake pan with parchment paper. If you don't have a spring-form cake pan, use a similar sized round cake pan or pie pan. 
  3. Beat together the eggs and caster sugar until fluffy and pale. This will take a few minutes. 
  4. Add the flour and gently fold into the egg mixture until there are no lumps in the bowl. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the cake pan.
  6. Bake on the middle wrack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to open the oven before the 15 minutes are up, or the cake may not rise properly.
  7. Let the cake cool slightly in the tin and then turn it out on to a cooling rack. 
  8. When completely cool, cut the cake into two even layers. 
For the crème patissière:
  1. Separate the eggs. (The egg whites can be kept in a bowl covered with cling wrap and refrigerated for later use.)
  2. Combine the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks in a large bowl and beat until thick and pale.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the vanilla and milk to a boil, then turn off the heat.
  4. Add the hot milk mixture into the sugar/egg mixture, whisking quickly and continuously until it is smooth and incorporated. 
  5. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat beating continuously until it has thickened.
  6. Transfer the crème pâtissière to a bowl, create a flat surface with the back of a spatula and cover directly with cling wrap and allow to cool completely. (You can place it in the refrigerator if you like.)
To make the whipped cream:
  1. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add sugar to taste (keep in mind that the rest of the cake components are sweet, so the whipped cream should be very lightly sweetened at most) and continue whipping the cream until stiff. You want it to be sturdy enough to provide structure to the cake, but not over-whipped enough to make butter. Set the whipped cream aside. If necessary, add a small amount of corn starch to stabilize. 
To assemble the cake:
  1. Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand or plate, and use one-third of the crème pâtissière to cover the base of the bottom layer.
  2. Place a layer of raspberries on top of the crème pâtissière. If you are using jam, reverse the order: spread the jam on top of the cake, then layer with crème pâtissière.
  3. Spread a layer of whipped cream over the raspberries. 
  4. Put on the next layer of cake.
  5. Put the last layer of cake in place and spread the remaining crème pâtissière on top.
  6. Spread the rest of the whipped cream over the top and sides of the cake, creating a smooth dome shape.
For the marzipan covering:
  1. Color the marzipan with food coloring- in a bowl, add a few drops of green food coloring to 3/4 of the marzipan and knead it until you have an even color. Divide the remaining 1/4 marzipan into two parts, and color one part pink and the other a darker green. 
  2. Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar and roll out the marzipan into a thin sheet.
  3. Cover the cake with the marzipan, trimming the excess around the edges. 
  4. Form a marzipan rose and leaves for the top. (Plenty of instructions can be found for this can be found online.)
  5. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and place a little marzipan rose on top.
  6. Enjoy!
It tastes just as good as it looks!
I should note that there are several different ways for assembling the cake. For example, many versions are use three layers of cake and two of pastry cream. Here is a great website that provides instructions for this 3-layer version: It has great pictures, instructions for making a simple marzipan rose and leaves, and more- overall a wonderful resource. Melody and I made some extra ingredients and also made some mini-princess cakes. To do this we baked the sponge cake in greased cupcake tins (with no liners), then assembled the cakes in the same way. They turned out just as adorable as the full size cake!
The mini Prinsesstårta
Although making a princess cake takes quite a bit of time, the results are definitely worth it. The cake is delicious, beautiful, and sure to "wow" any audience. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below!

Happy baking!

1 comment:

  1. This was such a lovely cake, and I had so much fun baking with you again!