Swedish Princess Cake Prinsesstårta

Swedish Princess Cake (Prinsesstårta) is a classic Scandinavian torte with layers of sponge cake, raspberry jam, vanilla custard, and whipped cream. It is traditionally dome-shaped and covered with a layer of sweet marzipan tinted green.

Princess Cake has been on my baking bucket list for ages. And I always seem to revisit the idea of making it in winter. Perhaps it’s because I’m longing for spring and all its pink blooms and greenery. One thing is for sure, it’s a cheery sight on a grey day! I think it would be perfect for upcoming spring holidays such as Mother’s Day and Easter.

A few days ago I decided to knuckle down and check mark the box next to Princess Cake. Instead of one big cake, I decided to make four little cakes. This gave me some good practice, which I needed because it turns out that it may be my new favorite cake – edging out Twelfth Night Cake by just a smidge!

History Behind the Cake

There’s a rich history behind Princess Cake, and you can find some interesting facts from a quick web search, but here’s a brief summary : 

Prinsesstårta has its origins in the 1920’s with Jenny Akerstrom, a Swedish home economics guru who was an instructor to the three daughters of Prince Carl, Duke of Vastergotland: the Princesses Margaretha, Martha and Astrid. The cake was renamed Princess Cake rather than Gron Tarta or Green Cake because the Princesses loved the cake so much. Currently, the cake is baked all over Sweden and is popular for special occasions. 

Building the layers.

This recipe has all of the cake’s original elements. Originally, I had written this recipe to be torted into four layers instead of three. Since them I’ve changed my decorum, and the recipe. Because most home bakers don’t make genoise regularly. It is notoriously difficult to keep the volume of the batter while folding it together. Most bakers can get three layers more easily. Where I depart from the original recipe is with the whipped cream. I stabilized it with gelatin so the dome would be sturdy under the weight of the marzipan. I am nothing if not paranoid of a cake wreck.

Swedish Princess Cake

Green marzipan coating.

The recipe provided makes one 9-inch cake. I decided to get playful and make four minis. The pound of marzipan I bought covered three of the 5-inch cakes, so the fourth one received a coating of pink fondant. I have acquired a taste for fondant, but for fondant haters – you’ll want to use the best marzipan available.

I find the mini cakes easier to cover with the marzipan, and it’s easier to get a more perfectly round shape. However, there’s nothing like presenting the bigger version to dinner guests. It always gets plenty of oohs and aaahs.

Swedish Princess Cake

You can make your own, but since this cake already has many steps I recommend purchasing it. I recently discovered Scott’s Cakes marzipan, and it was the perfect sweetness and texture for these cakes. It rolled out as well as any fondant I’ve used and created a smooth and even exterior.

A rose on top.

After covering the cakes, there was a small amount of marzipan left over, so I tinted it darker green to make some leaves. I ended up only using the little star shaped leaves for the base of the roses because it looked tidier on the finished cakes, somehow.

I received some cute ready-made white candy roses in my stocking for Christmas, so I painted them pink with food color dissolved in clear extract. They were perfect Princess Cake toppers. You can find them here.

Swedish Princess Cake
Swedish Princess Cake

All those flavorful components work together beautifully, and the cake has a nice lightness that makes it easy to go back for seconds! The raspberry jam provides a nice counter to all the creamy elements, and the marzipan coating lends a bright almond note. It is just my style, and I look forward to making it many times over!

Edit: 2/23 – It’s been a few years since I wrote this post and recipe. Recently I’ve received some emails with questions regarding the building of this cake, so I decided to make a video tutorial. I’ve updated some of the instructions and ingredients to be more approachable for the home baker. I hope this helps everyone who endeavors to make this delicious cake! It’s totally worth the effort.

Please note that I used Dr. Oetker marzipan in the video. It tastes wonderful but is slightly coarser, (not as smooth) as the marzipan from Scott’s cakes, which is what the cakes in the images are covered with.

Swedish Princess Cake (Prinsesstårta)

Heather Baird
This recipe is an amalgam of research from Daring Bakers, Semi Swede, Martha Stewart, with my own pastry elements. It makes one large 9-inch cake. This is an intermediate baking project, which means you need to know the basics of making a successful sponge cake that has no chemical leavens.
This recipe has been edited 2/19/23 for easier assembly. I believe it is now approachable for most home bakers. I've also added a video to the blog post for action assembly of this cake. I think it will be a helpful tool for beginners attempting this confection.
4.75 from 12 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Swedish
Servings 10

Equipment

  • 9 inch springform pan

Ingredients
 
 

Sponge cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch or potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Vanilla custard filling

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stabilized whipped cream

  • 1 envelope .25 oz. powdered unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam

Assembly

  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • 1 lb. prepared marzipan
  • Leaf green food color
  • Ready made rose icing decorations I used Wilton
  • Baker’s rose food color
  • Clear extract any flavor

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.
  • Make the sponge: Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on high speed until pale and thickened. Properly whipped batter should be light and thick, and fall in a ribbon back into the bowl leaving trails of batter on the surface. Set a timer for 5 minutes; the mixture should triple in volume. In a separate bowl, whisk the flours (or cornstarch), baking powder and salt together. Carefully fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool slightly in the pan for a few minutes then remove the springform collar. Peel away the parchment and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Optional: The baked genoise will be lightweight and the exterior dry and firm. When it's completely cool, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight to soften the cake's exterior. This will make it easier to cut. The cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Make the custard filling: Stir together the milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. The minute the mixture starts to thicken, remove it from the heat source and whisk vigorously. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Press plastic wrap over the surface of the custard and refrigerate until firm. The chilled custard should be thick and hold in the bowl of a spoon.
  • Make the stabilized whipped cream: Sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let stand until set. Place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Set mixer speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and then mix in the vanilla. Heat gelatin in the microwave for 5-7 seconds, or until completely liquid. Gradually add liquid gelatin to whipped cream in a thin stream with the mixer running. After all of the gelatin is added, increase mixer speed to high and beat to stiff peaks. Remove 1/2 cup of the whipped cream and set aside.
  • Build the layers: Torte the cake into three layers using a serrated knife. The layers will be very thin so do this carefully. Place the bottom cake layer on a plate or cake board. Spread on the raspberry jam. Top with 1/2 of the custard filling. Top with a second cake layer. Spread over the remaining 1/2 of custard. Pile all of the whipped cream on top and smooth into a dome shape using a large spatula. Place the final cake layer on top and press down so that all of the cake’s edges are smoothed against the whipped cream and a dome shape is formed. Cover with the reserved 1/2 cup of stabilized whipped cream.
  • Prep and cover with marzipan: Dust a work surface with powdered sugar. Knead the marzipan with your hands to soften and place it on the work surface. Add a small amount of leaf green food color to the marzipan and knead in until a consistent green color is achieved. Lightly add powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Roll it to a large circle, lifting to occasionally dust underneath with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Gently lay the marzipan circle over the top of the cake and use your hands to form the marzipan to the shape of the cake. Trim the excess marzipan from the bottom of the cake using a pizza or pastry wheel. Gently tuck the bottom edges of the marzipan under the cake using the back of a butter knife.
  • Decors: Paint the white Wilton candy roses with a little Baker’s Rose food color dissolved in clear extract. Use a kitchen-dedicated art brush with soft bristles so the food color can easily be brushed between the petals.
  • Tint leftover marzipan with a little more leaf green food color, and roll flat on a powdered sugar-dusted work surface. Cut small star-shaped flowers from the marzipan using a fondant cutter. Use leftover buttercream or a dot of corn syrup to attach the star shape to the bottom of the candy rose.
  • Attach the rose to the top center of the cake using buttercream or a dot of corn syrup. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar using a small sieve.
  • The cake needs to be refrigerated at least one hour, or overnight is best. Keep chilled until serving time and any leftovers need to be refrigerated as well.

Notes

Notes:
The success of this recipe hinges on being able to make a good sponge. This requires careful folding of the batter so you don’t knock the air out. If you’ve over-mixed, your cake will be flat and too thin to torte. Keep this in mind as you’re preparing the batter. 
This recipe will make two mini 5-inch cakes. Bake the genoise in 5-inch springform pans. Divide pastry cream, whipped cream, and jam elements between the two cakes. You will only need 3/4 lb. of marzipan to cover two mini cakes. 
Keyword mini sponge cakes, princess cake, stabilized whipped cream, swedish cuisine, vanilla custard
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Occasionally I may
Occasionally I may
5 years ago

wow these are so beautiful!!

Nina
Nina
5 years ago

These are so beautiful! This cake has been on my baking list for a very long time too!

Emma
Emma
5 years ago

Ooh!! HI from a swedish follower – I was super excided when I saw this post and it really put a smile on my face! 🙂 Your version of the most traditional swedish cake and a given part of our ”fika” is brilliant! Very good job and I actually like the buttercream idea, something I will try the next time I’m making these.

cardamonbraid
cardamonbraid
5 years ago

This makes me very happy. It has been on my bucket list for some time too. So much so that today I learned of a new bakery in Chicago that makes swedish things and had planned to take the trek tomorrow, in the below zero forcast just to get one. I have looked at recipes and didn't seem that terrible but there is a difference in just reading a recipe and having visual pictures to help in the assembly so I think you saved me not only the cost of the cake but also the price of gas, and the… Read more »

Foodiewife
Foodiewife
5 years ago

I so wish I was your neighbor!

Experience Invest
Experience Invest
5 years ago

never gonna get tired from the posts you are publishing! Keep on rockin’!

Roger Kocher
Roger Kocher
5 years ago

I am having difficulty understanding how you got the top layer of cake over the whipped cream and maintained the dome shape They look so delicious I also have read about this cake but have never made one Thanks for the beautiful encouragement!

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
5 years ago
Reply to  Roger Kocher

Hi Roger. The top cake layer is a very thin layer of sponge, so when you place it over the whipped cream, it molds down easily around the dome. Then you can smooth it more with the thin layer of buttercream. I hope this helps!

sanjay sharma
sanjay sharma
5 years ago

I have one word for this cake:SUPERB! Thank you so much for sharing!!!??‍♀️?

Jose
Jose
5 years ago

Hermoso

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

yummy, I plan to make this for my Swedish friend Margit.

naleśniki
naleśniki
4 years ago

My family loved it THANK YOU

Unknown
Unknown
4 years ago

Do you think it would be ok to used this lite green marzipan? It's from the same company and I'm wondering if you think it would be ok or should I tint myself… https://www.amazon.com/Scotts-Cakes-Pound-Colored-Marzipan/dp/B00LKKUEG4

Lisa
Lisa
3 years ago

Look so yummy and impressive by gentle colour!

Dandre
Dandre
3 years ago

I just made this for a party. When planning to make, plan on taking three evenings, as it must chill between steps.

Arianna
Arianna
2 years ago
Reply to  Dandre

Will the sponge dry out at all, if it’s tightly wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerated?

Felipa
Felipa
3 years ago

This is one of my favorite cakes. I made it two years ago for Christmas and am making it again today

Susan Dubose
Susan Dubose
3 years ago

This turned out lovely! My daughter really loved it.

Unknown
Unknown
3 years ago

I'd like to make this doing the small cakes. (Or I should say, I'd like to TRY as I'm a rather novice baker.) Do you cut the recipe in half to make 2 of the 5 inch cakes? Thanks so much!

Earlene
Earlene
2 years ago

Where can I buy the white paper collars, or are they just coffee filters?

Nanci
Nanci
2 years ago

Where is the butter cream recipe or do I just use my own? Did you make your own marzipan or by it premade? I love to bake in the winter. Will definitely be making this. Thanks for sharing.

Kathy
Kathy
2 years ago

5 stars
The recipe says to use a 9 inch springform pan. What did you *actually* use for the smaller cakes? Same recipe, different size pans? These are so beautiful. Love how you problem solved several typically challenging issues. Can’t wait to try this.

Kathy
Kathy
2 years ago
Reply to  Kathy

Excellent! One 9 inch recipe should be enough volume for three 6-inch layers. Can’t wait till I have enough time to try. Maybe a New Year’s gift to myself!

Mckenzie
Mckenzie
2 years ago

I don’t know what I did wrong my cake part had a huge divot in the middle. Could you give me advice?

mary s
mary s
2 years ago

5 stars
Wowza, thanks for this recipe. It came out even better than I thought. It was very easy to make (except the marzipan which is tricky for a first timer) and tasty. The outside of the cake was tough enough to be able to cut into the thin slices. thank you again!

Kim
Kim
2 years ago

These are simply gorgeous & I’m gna make them! Could you please tell me what size baking pans you used for the 3 cakes and where did you find the white baking cups? I love how low ( short) they are!
My mother in law’s birthday is on the 26th & I’m gna try my best to make these for her! I’m kinda nervous, but very excited! They’re just so darn cute!! 🥰

Alice
Alice
2 years ago
Reply to  Heather Baird

Would it be ok just to use store bought buttercream? I have to make this beautiful cake for a school project.

carol
carol
2 years ago

Hi, this is the 2nd time I’ve made this cake, the first time I used Martha Stewart’s recipe. This one is so much better, it turned out beautifully! and I Love the addition of the buttercream. The sponge was tender and moist. I’ll use this sponge for other cakes I make! thank you!!!

Matt
Matt
2 years ago

I wanted to make this for a party but there will be no refrigerator. How long do you think it can be without a refrigerator?

Melissa
Melissa
1 year ago

Hi! Any tips on how to use this recipe to make mini cakes? Can the batter be baked in a sheet pan to stamp out circles? Hope you can help!

Cindi
Cindi
1 year ago

Hi Heather: I bake a lot, but I have never worked with marzipan (or fondant). I thought this looked quite doable, but a friend who is a much more accomplished cake decorator said I was really “brave” to try to make this for my annual cake party (for which I make 20-25 cakes). Am I insane to try this?

Cindi
Cindi
1 year ago
Reply to  Heather Baird

Thanks so much, Heather. It’ll be a few weeks, but I’ll let you know what happens.

Cindi
Cindi
1 year ago

Hi Heather: I usually just make thin layers for cakes instead of slicing them in half – or quarters. Is there any reason it wouldn’t work for me to just make this is four layers rather than slicing the one in layers? And if not, what do you think about making the fourth layer 10″ instead of 9″ so it’ll be easier to use on the top?

Cindi
Cindi
1 year ago

This cake isn’t as difficult to make as it looks, but it’s also not as easy as the recipe makes it sound, at least not if you’re not a professional baker. I’m not, although I’ve baked my entire life, and for the past 15 years, I’ve baked 40 to 50 cakes a year, 25 of them for a cake party I throw every December. I sometimes make mistakes, and things sometimes go wrong, but I’m good at salvaging something presentable. This was the first cake that was unsalvageable. It didn’t rise; it was a total of less than half an… Read more »

Anna
Anna
1 year ago

Hi there! Is this cake typically made with pistachio marzipan? I want to make my own marzipan and I know I can add food coloring, but I saw a few comments that pistachio is better for this cake. Thoughts?

Sue Seehawer
Sue Seehawer
1 year ago

4 stars
I made this cake and although it tasted amazing it got very “wet” between the time I took it out of the refrigerator and served it. You could see the marzipan turning from the beautiful color it was with powdered sugar sprinkled over it to a wet surface. The bottom layer of sponge under the raspberry jam and custard layer way quite almost soggy. Texas is usually a pretty dry climate but I can’t explain how this happened. Any explanation would really help. It looked gorgeous until I removed it from the frig. Thank you!!

Keith
Keith
6 months ago

I’ve made this cake 3 times now with the previous recipe, and the Swede in the house objected to the top cake over the whipped cream, so the 2nd two were without it, and I think the only negative is that you need to be a bit more “detail-oriented” in shaping the dome of the cake. The last time, I made essentially 3/4 of the recipe and it worked perfectly with a 7″ spring-form pan, using 3 cake layers, easily sliced out of the slightly higher cake that results, and being able to discard the [somewhat “crusty”] very top. I… Read more »

Emilie
Emilie
5 months ago

5 stars
Hi I was wondering how long this cake can stay in the fridge for if half of it is already eaten, I just made it and we are going on a trip for four days.

Kim
Kim
2 months ago

5 stars
This is my all-time favorite Swedish dessert. I’ve been meaning to try it at home for ages – and this recipe is spot on! Super tasty and very pretty. Thanks for sharing

Madelaine
Madelaine
1 month ago

Video won’t turn on?

Stacey
Stacey
1 month ago

What is the clear extract?