It is that time of the year, when Lundulph sort of catches up with me, age-wise. For a few months before reverting to being a trophy husband.
Now Lundulph loves marzipan and I've been promising him for ages to make him a Princess cake. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the most popular of Swedish cakes and is certainly the height of any cake party. It is traditionally green, dusted with icing sugar and decorated with a pink marzipan rose. It can be made pink with a white rose, in which case it is called Prince cake. Go figure. And of late, I've noticed lots of other colours as well - white and blue. There's also the option of writing a message in melted chocolate.
This year it's particularly lucky that my Sister Bip is visiting us, so I asked her to bring along some Swedish marzipan. Overly ambitious perhaps, but I'm sure the Swedish marzipan is different to English marzipan. But she did bring ready rolled green marzipan and a pink rose.
I've never made this before, but had a recipe for it in one of my old baking booklets. They are normally good, but not this time.
The base consists of 4 eggs, 2 dl sugar whisked white and fluffy. Then carefully stirred in 1 dl plain flour and 1 dl potato flour and 1 tsp baking powder. Now, I've not yet managed to find potato flour here, so I substituted for maize flour. This was to go into a 25 cm cake tin. I didn't have one, so I used my 20 cm cake tin. The cake mix did fill it up to about 3/4 and I know the rule is it must be only half full, to allow for expansion. The instructions also said bake at 175 degrees for 40 minutes. I added 30 further minutes due to the increased cake thickness. Still, it wasn't sufficiently baked and collapsed on cooling, so into the bin it went. Dang!
Rush off to the shops to get more eggs and a new 25 cm cake tin. Do the same again, but this time swap out the potato flour for plain flour. I tasted the first lot and it wasn't nice at all and was very yellow. This time the cake mix came to just under the middle of the tin - so far so good. Into the oven it went and stayed there for a 40 + 40 minute period. I took it out and when it had cooled, it shrunk back to half the tin depth. Bah!
So, I had to be very careful to cut the base in two and still it turned out it wasn't quite cooked in the middle. Also I could only cut it in two, not three as the instructions said.
The next thing that really should have set off the big alarm bells is that there was only one type of cream. This is just wrong. So I consulted my big baking book from Bo Friberg, which of course had industrial quantities, but at least stipulated strawberry jam, some sort of custard cream and whipped cream. It also said brush the base with cake syrup, which I quickly had to make. The custard was easy enough, but it didn't go solid as expected. Oh dear. Maybe should have skipped the cake syrup so the base would absorb some of the custard?
Right, layer one - strawberry jam. Layer two - custard cream. The original recipe said custard cream on both of these, shaping the second one into a dome. Then covering with the third layer, then using the remaining custard all over the cake, before covering it with rolled out green marzipan. They had a very useful tip - use the bottom and the top parts of the base for layers one and two and the middle part of the base as layer three. This allows shaping the dome, without the crusty bit cracking. I didn't have a layer three, so I whipped the cream to stiff peaks, then spread it over the cream. It was still very runny and the stiff whipped cream sort of pushed it towards the edges, but I managed to shape a dome.
I finally unrolled the fancy green, scored along the edge as recommended and flopped it over my cake. It barely fitted to cover the cake and I really shouldn't have scored it. I took the additional precaution to brush the marzipan with egg white, to prevent it from soaking in the liquid from the whipped cream. Though this is more of a thing to do if the cake is made a day in advance.
However, using the third layer to form the dome is heavy duty cheating. So in a way, I'm glad that I didn't have a third layer to play with.
The end result worked ever so well, though.
And it tasted correctly. It is also very delicate and I really should invest in a cake slice thingy. There is barely anything left now.
Still, I'm very miffed at the base not working out and will check with my Mum to see what she does. She's made several Princess cakes for Bip, as it's her favourite too.
But, I should try again and with my original plan - to build up an almost hemispherical shaped cake. In fact, it took me a couple of years to find the right bowl for it. The idea is to cover the bowl with cling film, then place the rolled out green marzipan in the bottom. Fill up with whipped cream, a layer of cake base, custard cream, another layer of cake base, strawberry jam and a final cake base layer. Then flip it out of the bowl and in theory, voilà there it should be.
And I think the cake base for my Swiss roll should be more suitable.