Prinsesstårta: Swedish Princess Cake

Princess cake Prinsesstarta recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 4 hrs 5 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs
  • Cook: 2 hrs 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 cake (20 servings)

Prinsesstårta is a "princess cake" that is popular in Sweden. It is stunning and perfect for birthdays, celebrations, or any special occasion when you really want to show off your baking skills. It uses a white cake mix and includes a homemade pastry cream filling with raspberry jam.

Although this cake takes time to prepare, all of the elements can be made up to three days ahead of assembling. The resulting cake is magnificent. It is as smooth and beautiful as any fondant-covered cake, but with a green marzipan exterior. It is as delicious as it is attractive.

Ingredients

  • For the Pastry Cream Filling
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter (cold, unsalted, cut into small pieces)
  • For the Cake
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) box white cake mix (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • egg whites
  • For the Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • For the Whipped Cream
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • For the Marzipan
  • 1 pound marzipan (store-bought or homemade)
  • 3 drops food coloring (green)
  • For Assembly
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • Confectioner's sugar (for transferring the marzipan)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this princess cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pastry cream
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the half-and-half to a simmer over medium-high heat.

    Pot with half and half
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until smooth.

    Whisk egg, cornstarch, sugar
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Add half of the scalded milk to the bowl containing the eggs, constantly whisking to incorporate.

    Add half of milk to eggs
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan containing the remaining milk, whisking over moderate heat.

    Whisk mixture
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Continue whisking for about 2 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and begins to simmer.

    Continue whisking mixture
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Allow the pastry cream to simmer, whisking for an additional 2 minutes.

    Allow pastry cream to thicken
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and cold, unsalted butter.

    Whisk in butter and vanilla
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Transfer to another bowl and allow it to cool completely.

    Transfer to another bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  10. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours or up to 3 days before using. 

    Cover mixture
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F for shiny metal or glass pans, or 375 F for dark or nonstick pans. Grease bottom and sides of two 9-inch cake pans.

    Grease cake pans
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Mix the cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.

    Hand mixer on batter
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Pour 1/3 of the batter into one 9-inch cake pan and 2/3 of the batter into the second 9-inch cake pan.

    Pour batter into cake pan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden.

    Bake cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack.

    Remove cake from oven to let cool
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. When the cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to slice the larger cake into two equal halves. 

    Slice cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Simple Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for simple syrup
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a saucepan, make a simple syrup by heating the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.

    Simple syrup in pot
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

    Reduce heat
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Whipped Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for whipped cream
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

    Whipped cream
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prepare the Marzipan

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for marzipan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Knead green food coloring into store-bought or homemade marzipan.

    Knead green coloring in
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Then shape it into a disk of about 8 inches long.

    Shape marzipan into a disc
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Place the disk between two 18-inch lengths of waxed paper. Working from the middle of the marzipan, use a rolling pin to roll out the disk into a 16-inch circle of even thickness.

    Place between waxed paper
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Assemble the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for assembly
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Lightly brush the simple syrup onto each of the three cake layers, taking care not to over-soak them.

    Brush simple syrup onto cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry jam onto each of the two halves of the larger cake.

    Spread raspberry jam onto cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Divide the pastry cream into thirds, folding 1/3 gently into the whipped cream.

    Divide pastry cream into thirds
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Spread the remaining 2/3 of the pastry cream on top of the raspberry jam of the two cake halves.

    Spread pastry cream on top of cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Stack the two pastry-covered halves, then top with the remaining cake.

    Stack pastry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Frost the sides of the cake with the whipped cream in a 1-inch layer.

    Frost cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Spoon the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake. Use a spatula to smooth the cream into a dome.

    Spoon whipped cream on cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Remove the top level of waxed paper from the marzipan. Dust your rolling pin with confectioner’s sugar, then drape the marzipan circle over the pin and transfer it to the cake (you can lightly roll the marzipan around the pin as you would ​a pie crust).

    Roll out marzipan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  10. With your hands, gently press the marzipan down over the cake, working from the top down.

    Mold marzipan over cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  11. Smooth it down the sides, then cut off any excess at the bottom with a knife or cooking shears.

    Cut off excess at bottom
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  12. Tuck the marzipan under the edge of the cake. 

    Tuck marzipan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  13. Sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar or decorate with marzipan cut-outs. 

    Sprinkle cake with confectioner's sugar
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  14. Serve and enjoy!

    Serve princess cake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • When making the pastry cream, it is best done the day before assembling the cake, though it can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • The cake can also be prepared in advance. Refrigerate it for one day or freeze it up to a week. Either way, leave it uncut until you are ready to assemble the cake.
  • The steps for making the simple syrup, the whipped cream, the marzipan, and assembling the cake should be done on the day you intend to serve the cake, though the finished cake can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.
  • If the marzipan on the cake tears during placement, you can cut the remaining trimmings into decorative shapes and simply press these over the tears. This is a nice way to decorate the cake even if it’s perfect already.
  • Alternatively, you can use uncolored or differently colored marzipan to create leaves, roses, or other shapes. Also, in order to hide less-than-perfect bottom edges, some bakers wrap a pretty ribbon around the bottom of the cake. Just be sure to remove it before serving.
  • You can store the assembled princess cake in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.