Roasted Rhubarb Prinsesstårta with Cardamom and Almond–Daring Bakers

Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta!

When I first saw this challenge I must admit I was a little intimidated.  It’s three layers of sponge cake, the layers going: sponge cake, jam, pastry cream, sponge cake, pastry cream, enormous mound of whipped cream, sponge cake, a little more whipped cream, and marzipan.  But then I realized it wasn’t actually that bad.  The sponge is incredibly straight-forward and simple, the pastry cream too.  You don’t have to make your own jam (though I did) and you don’t need to make your own marzipan.

For once I don’t have a challenge that requires some great big story to retell.  Everything went accordingly.  It tasted fantastic (cardamom whipped cream is heavenly by the way), and was gone in a day.

This was perfect because I’d been planning for months about how to use rhubarb when it came in season and this cake just fit the bill.  Now, I might have had some issues and a better story were I to have gone with my insane tendencies to make rhubarb mousse, add the rhubarb to the sponge, or do a rhubarb bavarian cream.  Thankfully I didn’t, not only did it save me time and my sanity but it kept me from tampering with the whipped cream but for adding  a little cardamom, which was, I think, the best flavor in the creation.

Here’s the recipe as we were given for Daring Bakers by Korena (plus my notes in bold for how I adapted it):

Preparation time: 
Vanilla Custard: 20 minutes hands-on, plus chilling (several hours or overnight)
Sponge Cake: 30 – 40 minutes hands-on, plus 40 minutes baking, plus cooling
Marzipan Covering and Rose: 20 – 30 minutes, depending on your rose-making skills (note: homemade marzipan recipe requires overnight refrigeration)
Prinsesstårta Assembly: 30 – 40 minutes, plus chilling if necessary

Equipment required:

  • one medium and one large mixing bowl/stand mixer bowl
  • balloon whisk
  • medium saucepan
  • fine mesh sieve
  • 9” (23 cm) round springform pan or other deep 9” (23 cm) round pan
  • electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment
  • rubber spatula
  • rolling pin
  • cooling rack
  • long serrated knife
  • off-set spatula or long thin spatula
  • paring knife
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap
  • piping bag (optional)
  • cake decorating turntable (optional)

Traditional Swedish Prinsesstårta

Servings: 8 – 10. Makes one 9” round cake.

Vanilla Custard

Ingredients
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream, divided
4 egg yolks from large eggs
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) granulated white sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract)

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Gradually whisk in ½ cup (120 ml) of heavy cream until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining ½ cup (120 ml) of heavy cream and the scraped vanilla bean and bring just to the boiling point. Remove the vanilla bean pod, leaving behind the seeds. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the bowl with the egg mixture to temper the eggs.

2. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick like pudding and just comes to a boil. The mixture must hit a boil for the cornstarch to properly thicken the custard, and also to cook out any starchy taste. If it starts to look curdled or lumpy, remove it from the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth, then return to the heat *I found that this curdled very easily. With a quick google search I learned you can fix this by whisking hot cream vigorously into the curdled pastry cream. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. If using vanilla extract, add it now.
(If desired, pass the custard through a fine mesh sieve before continuing.)

3. Pour the custard into a clean bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cold. Can be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator.

Sponge Cake

Ingredients
Fine dry breadcrumbs for the pan (such as crushed panko)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) granulated white sugar
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour I used 1/4 c. tapioca starch,1/4 cup brown rice flour, and 1/2 tsp xantham gum
½ cup (120 ml) (65 gm) (2¼ oz) potato starch (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
To mine I added 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Thoroughly butter a 9” (23 cm) round springform pan I made mine in a 12 by 18 rectangular pan and cut the cake into thirds (6 by 12 inches) for the layers, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Dust the buttered pan with enough breadcrumbs to coat the bottom and sides, just like flouring a cake pan. Set aside.

2. Place the eggs and granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment until the eggs are tripled in volume and very light coloured and fluffy, about 5 minutes. The mixture should fall from the beaters in thick ribbons. Don’t overbeat the eggs – once they form thick ribbons and stop growing in volume, stop beating.

3. Sift the all-purpose (plain) flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then sift the flour mixture over the whipped eggs. With a balloon whisk, fold the flour into the eggs until blended, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Use large, gentle yet confident strokes, bringing batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Once mixed, the batter should be quite thick and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread it out evenly, and bake in the lower third of the preheated moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes then run a knife around the edge and remove the sides of the springform pan. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle.

Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. If the cake is lopsided, press gently to make it level, then allow it to cool completely before continuing. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored, well-wrapped in plastic, at a cool room temperature.

Marzipan Covering and Rose

Ingredients
10 oz (285 gm) marzipan
Green and yellow food colouring
Icing sugar, for rolling
Red food colouring

Directions:

1. Set aside a small amount of plain marzipan (about the size of a walnut) to make a rose for decoration. Knead the remaining marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar until it becomes softer and smooth (the warmth from your hands will help this).
2. Add a small amount of green food colouring (I used 3 or 4 drops of liquid food colouring) and knead it into the marzipan to get the desired shade of green. You might need to add a little more green or yellow food colouring to get the right colour – anything from pastel green to bright spring green (just not neon green!) Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until you are ready to cover the cake (or store as directed on the marzipan package).

3. To make the rose, tint the reserved plain marzipan with a tiny bit of red food colouring to make it pink. Dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll the marzipan into a log. With a rolling pin, roll it out into a long ribbon, about 1” (2 ½ cm) wide and 1/8” (3 mm) thick. Use plenty of icing sugar so that the marzipan doesn’t stick.

Press one long edge of the ribbon with your fingertip to thin it out slightly. Begin rolling up the ribbon, leaving the thin edge loose to form the petals of the rose. Start the roll off tightly, then loosen up as you go, pinching and gathering the marzipan to create creases and ruffles. Gently flare out the petals of the rose with your fingertip.

When the rose is large enough, cut off any remaining marzipan ribbon. Pinch off the excess marzipan from the bottom of the rose and set aside to dry slightly.

Prinsesstårta Assembly

Ingredients
2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream, chilled
granulated white sugar, to taste (scant 1 tablespoon is plenty) I added 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom to this.
Sponge Cake, cooled
1/3 cup (80 ml) seedless raspberry jam (or regular jam pressed through a sieve to remove seeds) I made a roasted rhubarb and red wine jam, recipe below, and used probably a full cup.  I’d suggest using 1/2-1 cup for my jam.
Vanilla Custard, chilled
Marzipan Covering and Rose
Icing sugar, for rolling and dusting
Optional: melted chocolate, royal icing, or piping gel

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar to taste (keep in mind that the rest of the cake components are sweet, so the whipped cream should be very lightly sweetened at most) and continue whipping the cream until stiff. You want it to be sturdy enough to provide structure to the cake, but not over-whipped enough to make butter. Set the whipped cream aside.

2. With a long serrated knife, slice the sponge cake into three even layers. This cake is very delicate, so do this as carefully as possible. Use a gentle sawing motion to move the knife through the cake instead of trying to pull it through the cake. Use a spatula to help you lift off each layer after you cut it. Set aside the middle layer – this will become the top layer of the assembled cake as it is the most flexible and therefore easiest to bend into a dome over the whipped cream.

3. Place one of remaining layers on a cake board or serving platter and spread it evenly with the raspberry jam. Spread or pipe half the chilled custard over the jam in an even layer, leaving enough room around the edges so that it doesn’t spill over the sides of the cake.

4. Top the custard with another layer of cake. Spread or pipe the remaining custard evenly over it, again leaving some room around the edges.

5. Reserve ½ cup (120 ml) of the stiffly whipped cream. Pile the rest into a mound on top of the custard. Spread it into a thick layer with a thin, flexible spatula or off-set spatula, then hold the spatula at an angle to shape the whipped cream into a dome, piling it up in the middle of the cake as much as possible.

6. Place the final layer of sponge cake (the one cut from the middle of the cake) on top of the whipped cream. Do not press on the top of the cake – instead, gently tuck the edges of the cake layer into the whipped cream, so that they are flush with the cream. This will create a smooth, seamless dome on top of the cake.

7. Gently spread the reserved ½ cup (120 ml) of whipped cream over the entire cake to fill in any cracks and even out the surface. If necessary, refrigerate the cake to firm it up before continuing.

8. Dust your work surface with icing sugar and press the marzipan into a 6-inch (15 cm) disc (knead it a bit to warm it up first). Coat both sides with icing sugar and roll it out into a 14” (35½ cm) diameter circle less than 1/8” (3 mm) thick. Use plenty of icing sugar to prevent it from sticking. Alternatively, you can roll the marzipan out between two wide sheets of parchment paper (still use plenty of icing sugar).
9. Use the rolling pin to drape the rolled-out marzipan sheet over the cake and smooth it around the cake gently with your hands.

If it seems like it wants to fold or buckle around the cake, gently lift and stretch it away from the cake with one hand while smoothing it down with the other.

Trim the excess marzipan from the bottom of the cake with a paring knife or spatula blade.

10. If desired, cut leaves out of the scraps of green marzipan (you can knead in another drop of green food colouring to make the leaves a slightly darker green). Use a paring knife to score vein-like lines, then pinch one end of the leaf to give it some shape.

Dust the cake with icing sugar, then place the marzipan rose and leaves in the middle of the cake.
(You can also use melted chocolate, royal icing, or piping gel to pipe a design on top of the cake, if you wish.)

11. To serve, cut the cake into wedges with a large, sharp knife (run the blade under hot water and wipe it clean after every cut for neater slices). The cake can be served immediately but will be easier to slice after chilling in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

The finished Prinsesstårta should be refrigerated until serving, and any leftovers refrigerated as well. Ideally the cake is eaten the day it is made, but will keep in the refrigerator for a day or so, after which it may lose its structural integrity and aesthetic appeal (but it will still taste good!)

Roasted Rhubarb and Red Wine Jam
Inspired by Belleau Kitchen 

Makes approximately 1 3/4 cup

6 cups chopped rhubarb (1 inch lengthwise)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place parchment paper in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, enough so that it covers the sides as well.

Mix together rhubarb, red wine and sugar.  Turn into the baking dish.  Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour, stirring and mashing  (the stirring itself really breaks it down) occasionally.

 

 

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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!