Swedish Princess Cake (Prinsesstårta) Recipe

Princess Cake
Jenny Jones/Getty Images
  • 4 hrs 5 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs,
  • Cook: 2 hrs 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 cake (20 servings)
Ratings (13)

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.

What You'll Need

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 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 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)

How to Make It

Make the Pastry Cream

This step is best done the day before assembling the cake, though it can be refrigerated for up to three days.

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the half and half to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until smooth.
  3. Add half of the scalded milk to the bowl containing the eggs, constantly whisking to incorporate.
  1. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan containing the remaining milk, whisking over moderate heat.
  2. Continue whisking for about 2 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and begins to simmer.
  3. Allow the pastry cream to simmer, whisking for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and cold, unsalted butter.
  5. Transfer to another bowl and allow it to cool completely.
  6. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours or up to 3 days before using.

Make the Cake Mix

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.

  1. Prepare the white cake mix according to instructions, but pour 1/3 of the batter into one 9-inch cake pan and 2/3 of the batter into a second 9-inch cake pan.
  2. Bake and cool on the rack.
  3. When the cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to slice the larger cake into two equal halves. 

Assemble the Cake

The remaining steps 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. This is when you will make the simple syrup, whipped cream, and marzipan (unless you buy it), then assemble the cake.

  1. 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. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. Lightly brush the syrup onto each of the three cake layers, taking care not to oversoak them.
  3. For the whipped cream, whip together the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  1. For the marzipan, knead green food coloring into store-bought or homemade marzipan, then shape it into a disk of about 8 inches long. 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.
  2. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry jam onto each of the two halves of the larger cake.
  3. Divide the pastry cream into thirds, folding 1/3 gently into the whipped cream. Spread the remaining 2/3 of the pastry cream on top of the raspberry jam of the two cake halves. Stack the two pastry-covered halves, then top with the remaining cake.
  4. Frost the sides of the cake with the whipped cream in a 1-inch layer. Spoon the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake. Use a spatula to smooth the cream into a dome.
  5. 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).
  6. With your hands, gently press the marzipan down over the cake, working from the top down. Smooth it down the sides, then cut off any excess at the bottom with a knife or cooking shears. Tuck the marzipan under the edge of the cake. 
  7. Sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar or decorate with marzipan cut-outs. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Tips for Working With Marzipan

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.