Swedish Princess cake

A Swedish princess cake recipe for a birthday! :)

Celebration cakes, Special everyday cakes and treats

Grand announcement to my family the other week:  it’s my birthday and I want a Princess cake!  I didn’t have to stamp my feet or throw a tantrum because I was of course making my own cake.  My family were peturbed, imagining a pink multi-layered creation.  No, no, no, … it’s a pale green multi-layered creation.  More about its Swedish origins and ‘Princess cake week’ later.  If you’re familiar with this cake you’ll know it’s not a superfood, sugarfree or anything-free.  Just guilt-free dear reader because it was my birthday!  With a Swedish Princess cake made up of three lovely light sponge layers interspersed with crème patissière, whipped cream and homemade raspberry jam, covered in a layer of delicious homemade marzipan magically empowered to turn all marzipan doubters into converts.  All made with the wonderful assistance of my 11-year-old niece and mum, and lots of love.  I luuuuv my Princess cake! 🙂Swedish Princess cake or PrinsesstartaI love a lot of cakes but I have a very weak spot for this one!  My family all tucked in and enjoyed those soft yummy layers, discovering a new love for marzipan.  I can see why this is Sweden’s most famous and popular cake without which no birthday or celebration is complete.Swedish Princess cake

Actually, making this cake wasn’t all fairytale and the happy ending seemed elusive.  I didn’t tear at my hair because that’s unhygienic.  Just growled a lot.  But I learned many things on my first proper jam and marzipan-making adventure, aided by jam advisor Mum and the internet.  So let’s check out this now fairly straightforward step-by-step recipe.

Swedish Princess cake or PrinsesstartaI’ve adapted two combined online recipes, Oh, I made it’s Swedish Princess Cake, based on Mary Berry’s Prinsesstårta from BBC’s Great British Bake Off series.  I’ve made changes to the jam, decoration, method and added a few pinches of salt but it’s all pretty traditional!  Possibly.  🙂

RECIPE (you can make the cake over TWO DAYS)

DAY ONE – jam, crème pâtissière, sponge and marzipan (I made them in that order, but next time I’ll make the marzipan on DAY TWO just before covering the cake)

Jam – 10 mins  (make at least 24 hours in advance to let it set) or use shop-bought raspberry jam (about a third to half a jar)

Homemade raspberry jam

  • 250g/2 cups fresh raspberries (about 200g once sieved)
  • 180g/1 cup less 1 and a half scant tablespoons jam sugar
  • juice of quarter lemon

You can play around with quantities and use any red berries, but too little sugar produces runny jam.  I once used Xylitol (a sugar substitute), which produced a strange-tasting gooey opaque..um.. thing.  Very sad.  This one with sugar’s lovely.  Please see here for my Raspberry jam recipe basics page.

Crème pâtissière – aka ‘creme pat’, pastry cream or custard

  • 600g/2 and a half cups full-fat milk
  • One vanilla pod (scrape the seeds out to use but keep the pod too)
  • 6 egg yolks – around 114g (freeze the whites or make macaron shells/meringues)
  • 100g/half a cup less 2 and a quarter teaspoons caster/superfine sugar (preferably unrefined golden)
  • 50g/third of a cup cornflour (sift)
  • pinch of salt

For how to make it see my Crème pâtissière recipe basics page.


Preheat the oven to 180°C (static, non-convection oven) or 160°C (fan-assisted oven)

Butter and flour your cake tin and line the bottom with a circle of greaseproof paper.  With a 23cm diametre tin the cake is fairly flat, with slimmer layers.  Next time I’ll try a 20cm diametre tin as it should be easier to cut even layers!

  • 4 medium to large eggs (separated) – about 230g
  • 100g/half a cup less 2 and a quarter teaspoons caster/superfine sugar (preferably unrefined golden)
  • 75g/half a cup cornflour
  • 75g/two thirds of a cup less a scant tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50g/3 generous tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a big bowl till pale and fluffy, and making a ‘ribbon’.
  3. Sift and whisk together the cornflour, flour and baking powder.
  4. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peak stage in a big clean bowl.  My niece kindly volunteered to participate in the upside-down bowl test.  If the egg whites are so stiff and stable they don’t fall on your niece’s head, they’re ready!  🙂
  5. Fold in a third of the flour and a third of the egg whites into your egg and sugar mixture.  Fold gently with figure of eight motions.  When almost incorporated fold in another third of flour and whites, then the last third.  DON’T OVERMIX.  But try to be fast as the baking powder is already reacting with the wet stuff and it needs to go in the oven as soon as possible.
  6. When almost incorporated, fold in the melted butter.  Again DON’T OVERMIX.  Fold till just incorporated.
  7. Pour carefully into your prepared cake mould and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  It’s ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean, the sponge is coming away from the sides and the top springs back a little when pressed lightly with your finger.

Marzipan – family members who don’t like shop-bought marzipan loved this wonderful homemade version.

Princess cake marzipan

  • 400g/3 and a half cups ground almonds or 4 cups almond meal (which is finer)
  • 150g/two thirds of a cup caster/superfine sugar (preferably golden unrefined)
  • 250g/2 cups icing sugar (preferably golden)
  • 2 medium free-range eggs (fresh), beaten – about 114g
  • a little green food colouring gel or powder (NOT LIQUID) – good quality (Wiltons)
  • a little pink or red food colouring gel or powder
  1. Follow the simple 10-minute recipe on my Marzipan basics page.  Or use shop-bought marzipan to save time and avoid eating raw egg.  This was my first time so I struggled getting the right consistency and almost asked Mum to get me some from the shops, but I  persisted and got there finally!  Phew…
  2. Separate a small ball for the rose and knead in a tiny amount of pink or red colouring gel or powder.  Add some little by little as necessary.  I’d have added slightly less colour than my niece did here but it’s still a lovely shade.
  3. Knead in a tiny amount of green colouring gel into the big ball for covering the cake and the leaves.  Depending on the light my cake was quite pale olive or pistachio.  Next time I’ll add a little more green.
  4. If not using immediately, wrap tightly in plastic film and store in the fridge overnight then massage just before rolling to make it pliable.

DAY TWOassembly

595g (600ml)/2 and two thirds of a cup double/heavy cream – whisk to stiff peak.

whipped creamHere are some photos taken by mum and little drawings by me and my niece to refer to when assembling this cake.


Princess cake

Getting ready

Princess cake construction worklayering a princess cake 1Princess cake creamPrincess cake layerslayering a princess cake

layers of a princess cake

After the cake’s been one or two hours in the fridge, make the marzipan (if you haven’t already) and roll out not too thinly.  Wrap very carefully around the rolling pin to lift over the cake and carefully unroll to cover the cake.  You only get one chance to do this, because after the marzipan touches the whipped cream you can’t roll it again.  A suggestion from Oh, I made it is to practise covering a round bowl first.  Marzipan on a princess cakeDetailed instructions and photos for making the marzipan braided rope border, rose and leaves are on my Sant Jordi festival cake post.  Finally, sprinkle icing sugar on your cake.

Princesstarta or Princess cakeSome Swedish Princess cakes are decorated with chocolate swirls and you can go to my two source posts to find out how, but I liked mine without!  🙂

Eating and storing your cake

It’s best served on the same day but keep it a few hours in the fridge before eating to allow flavours to develop.  Stored in the fridge in an airtight container it will be slightly less photogenic but still as delicious the following day or two.A little Swedish Princess cake history

The recipe was first published in 1948 as Green Cake (for obvious reasons) by Royal home economist Jenny Åkerström who taught Sweden’s three princesses, Margaretha, Märtha and Astrid.  They loved the cake so much it was later named Prinsesstårta, Princess cake.Swedish Princess cakeAnd the Swedes love it so much they have a national Princess cake week!  No joke.  It’s at the end of September when the cakes are decorated with little crowns and a percentage of the proceeds from sales go to charity.   In Sweden you can also find ready-to-make Princess cakes to assemble with cake mixes.  I usually avoid cold weather but have a sudden yearning to tour Sweden around September! 🙂  Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to read more detailed Princess cake research on Semiswede’s blog?

Princess cakeYou can make this cake for a birthday, family occasion or as a special treat.  I’m taking this one to the Fiesta Friday party hosted by Angie@the novice gardener with co-hosts Laurie @ten.times.tea and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.  Sorry it’s so late.  I’m just back from visiting my family in the UK, as you’ll notice from their appearance on recent cake posts.   Anyway, do come along to the party to see some lovely recipes!  🙂

I’m also taking this cake to the June Perfecting Patisserie, a blogging challenge hosted by Kevin at The Crafty Larder and Lucy at BakingQueen74.  Come and join us – there’s cake!  🙂

Perfecting Patisserie JuneYup, this Princess cake gets around.  Have a slice now while you still can!  Or better still, make one and have loads of slices! 🙂

A slice of princess cake

A litle slice of Swedish Princess cake?

Hope you enjoyed that virtual slice and apologies for not offering something more substantial or real!  Have an excellent week ahead sweet reader!  May you all feel and be treated like the kind princesses and princes you are.  🙂 x

P.S. The Princess cake fancied another party so I took it to Bake of the Week too at Casa Costello!  Some cakes just don’t know when to stop!  🙂

Yes, yes, cake, you can go to Recipe of the week too – but that’s it!!!!!



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Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

61 thoughts on “A Swedish princess cake recipe for a birthday! :)”

  1. Pingback: Happy new year!!! Top posts in 2017 and baking projects for 2018… And how are healthier and vegan cakes doing? :) | lili's cakes

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