Swedish Prinsesstarta


The second bake that I made for the July Daring Bakers challenge. The cake looked so tempting and appealing that I wanted to find out more about it; more image-wise than about the cake recipe itself, as the host for this challenge provided us with an excellent history behind this Swedish cake, the recipe, guidance and the important "how to" tips. But my internet Prinsesstarta indulgence almost put me off making it because the images I came across were so beautiful that for a moment I didn't feel that I was up for the game. Fortunately, the sense of inspiration took over and all of a sudden my "marzipan fear" faded away. I did not take any pictures while making the cake, mainly because I was fully focused on it, but partly because Korena, the challenger, has every single detail of it either filmed, recorded, or written.

So here is the recipe, but for more details please visit the link provided above:
 The cake has 8 layers: first goes the sponge, then a layer of jam, then custard, sponge again , then custard again, whipped cream, then the third layer of the sponge cake and marzipan on the top.
I made the sponge cake first - let it cool completely, wrapped it and stored it in an air tight container  over night and made custard and assembled it the following day.
Sponge cake:
23 cm/9" round springform pan
fine breadcrumbs for the pan
4 large eggs, room temperature
225 gr granulated sugar
70 gr plain flour
65 gr potato (I used cornstarch)
1 teaspoon (5 gr) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/gas mark 4 with a rack in the lower third of the oven, butter and line the bottom of the pan and dust with fine breadcrumbs.
Mix the eggs with sugar and beat until it becomes light and fluffy and it triples in volume.
Sift the flour, starch and salt mixture over the whipped eggs, fold in slowly to blend. The batter should be thick and smooth. Pour it into the prepared pan, spread evenly and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until it becomes golden-brown. Let the baked cake cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack, invert and remove the baking paper.

Vanilla custard:
240 ml double cream
4 egg yolks from large eggs
2 tablespoons/15 gr cornstarch
2 tablespoons/30 gr granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and egg yolks and then gradually whisk half /120 ml of double cream, until smooth.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining half of the double cream and vanilla over medium heat and bring to the boiling point. If you are using vanilla pod, remove the pod and leave the seeds behind. Slowly pour the hot cream into the bowl with the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Cook the mixture over medium  to low heat and whisk constantly. It needs to reach a boiling temperature for the cornstarch to properly thicken the custard, if it starts to look lumpy take of the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth, then return to heat. Sieve the mixture through fine mesh, pour into a clean bowl,cover with cling-film and refrigerate. It  can also be prepared a day ahead. 

Marzipan covering and rose:
 285 gr white marzipan
green ( or a colour of your choice) food colouring
icing sugar for rolling
 Set aside a small amount of marzipan (size of a walnut) to make a rose. Knead the remaining marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar to become soft and smooth .Add a small amount of green colouring. I made a mistake of choosing powder, as it took loads of kneading to combine to what seemed to be fine.  I was however unpleasantly surprised to find few dark green veins showing through when I started rolling it out.  Next time, gel colouring!  So knead until even in colour, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate.
To make the rose, roll the marzipan ( you can add a bit of red food colouring) into a log, then roll it out into a ribbon, about 3 cm long, 3 mm thick. Press one long edge of the ribbon with your fingertip to thin it out, then roll, leaving the thin edge loose to form the petals. First roll tightly, then loosen up as you go. Flare out the petals with your fingertip. Remove extra marzipan from the bottom. and set aside to dry slightly.

In addition to the cake sponge, custard and marzipan you will need 480 ml of whipped double cream, about 80 gr of sieved raspberry or  any other jam of your choice, I opted for apricot.
 Now, very carefully slice the sponge cake into three even layers. Set aside the middle layer, this will go on the top of the cake.
Begin assembling by spreading the jam evenly. The next layer is chilled custard, (half of it) spread it over the jam leaving enough room around the edges so that it will not leak over the cake. Top the custard with another layer of sponge, then spread remaining custard. This is followed by half of the amount of whipped cream, which is piled on the top of the custard. spread it into a thick layer with a flexible spatula, then hold the spatula at an angle to shape the cream into a dome, piling it up in the middle of the cake as much as possible. Place the final layer of sponge cake ( the middle part of the cake) on the top and gently tuck the edges of the cake layer into the whipped cream to create a smooth dome on the top.
Gently spread the rest of the whipped cream over the entire cake, refrigerator to firm before  continuing.
 Roll the marzipan between two sheets of baking paper dusted with icing sugar. Use the rolling pin to drape the rolled-out marzipan over the cake and smooth it over very gently with your hands. Trim the excess marzipan with a paring knife, decorate with the earlier prepared rose, and possibly with some marzipan leaves. You can also use melted chocolate, icing or piping gel ( which I used) to pipe a design on top if you wish.

I know that it might seem like a lot of work, but "we're worth it".

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