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.
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.
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.
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)
- 9 inch springform pan
- 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
- 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
- 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.
wow these are so beautiful!!
These are so beautiful! This cake has been on my baking list for a very long time too!
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.
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 »
I so wish I was your neighbor!
never gonna get tired from the posts you are publishing! Keep on rockin’!
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!
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!
I have one word for this cake:SUPERB! Thank you so much for sharing!!!??♀️?
yummy, I plan to make this for my Swedish friend Margit.
My family loved it THANK YOU
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
Look so yummy and impressive by gentle colour!
I just made this for a party. When planning to make, plan on taking three evenings, as it must chill between steps.
Will the sponge dry out at all, if it’s tightly wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerated?
It should be fine tightly wrapped. For extra insurance you could put the wrapped cake in a large zip-top bag.
This is one of my favorite cakes. I made it two years ago for Christmas and am making it again today
This turned out lovely! My daughter really loved it.
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!
Where can I buy the white paper collars, or are they just coffee filters?
Hi! They are white jumbo cupcake or muffin papers. I just flatten them with my finger and turn the very edges upright.
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.
The buttercream recipe is at this link. There are two recipe cards in that blog post, one for Swiss meringue buttercream and one for American buttercream. I recommend using the American buttercream recipe for this cake because it crusts when chilled. I did not make my own marzipan for this recipe. I purchased a pound of plain marzipan from scottscakes.com. They have a great product. Good luck with the cake! It’s got several steps but it’s so worth the work!
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.
Hi Kathy! The cakes are 6″ rounds. I wrote the recipe for one large cake, because not everyone would have a need for so many little cakes. I enjoy making little cakes(and having one all to myself to eat!). Thank you for the kind words. I hope you love the cake.
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!
I don’t know what I did wrong my cake part had a huge divot in the middle. Could you give me advice?
Hi Mckenzie, It could be that you knocked some of the air out of the batter while folding it. Next time, try to be extra gentle when folding the batter together, as to not deflate it. Good luck!
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!
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!! 🥰
Thank you so much, Kim! The pans were little 6-inch rounds. The baking cups are white jumbo muffin liners that I flattened in the middle to fit the cakes. 🙂
Good luck with the cakes! Happy B-day to your MIL!
Would it be ok just to use store bought buttercream? I have to make this beautiful cake for a school project.
Yes, you could use purchased frosting. Wilton has ready-made buttercream that firms well when refrigerated. If you have a craft store locally with a baking aisle, they will most likely have it in stock. It is what I recommend, but you could probably get away with using a grocery store brand.
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!!!
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?
It depends on the surrounding temperature, but I’d estimate about 2 hours at room temp (68-70F).
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!
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?
Hi Cindi! Hmm. I don’t think you’re insane to try it. It will help if you are familiar with making the sponge cake. It needs to be folded carefully in order to retain as much air as possible, because it’s torted into layers. If you’re familiar with it, or feeling confident enough to try, then I say go for it. It’s my opinion that marzipan is easier to work with than fondant. The oils in the almonds make it a little less sticky and it seems to knead easier (of course textures vary across brands, but most I’ve encountered are… Read more »
Thanks so much, Heather. It’ll be a few weeks, but I’ll let you know what happens.
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?
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?
I believe the translation from the cookbook by Jenny Åkerström, who is credited with creating the recipe (Prinsessornas Kokbok: Husmanskost och Helgdagsmat – Princesses Cookbook: Home Cooking and Holiday Food) used almond marzipan. However, there is some evidence that some Swedish bakers adapted it with marzipan flavored with pistachio. In any case – sounds good to me!
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!!
Hi Sue, Thanks for trying the recipe! I’m sorry you ran into some trouble. It’s hard to say what happened. It sounds environmental to me. Humidity (although you say it’s dry there) or perhaps a room temperature more than 73F. Sometimes if your layer of marzipan is rolled too thin, it will break down against whipped cream. Although, the gelatin should have helped stabilize the cream and prevent this from happening. In the past, I have covered the dome of whipped cream with a thin layer of American buttercream (confectioners sugar buttercream). It acts as a barrier between the wet… Read more »