About This Swedish Princess Layer Cake
It’s Hummingbird High‘s 11th anniversary, and I’m celebrating by adding this fancy Swedish princess layer cake recipe to my layer cake collection!
My recipe is an easy Swedish princess layer cake recipe that differs slightly from the original. It is made with two layers of moist yellow cake, with a layer of strawberry jam and vanilla pastry cream in the middle. The layer cake is then topped with a final layer of whipped cream and green marzipan.
This layer cake is modeled after traditional Swedish princess cake, which was popularized in the United States by the furniture store, Ikea.
What is a Swedish Princess Cake?
Swedish princess cake, also simply known as “princess cake” or prinsesstårta in Swedish, is a traditional Swedish layer cake. It is made with alternating layers of yellow sponge cake and strawberry or raspberry jam. The cake is then topped with a dome of whipped cream that is then covered with green marzipan. It’s absolutely delicious!
I was inspired to make a layer cake version of the recipe after seeing a Portland bakery, Papa Haydn, create one for a holiday special. I thought it would be the perfect recipe to celebrate my blog’s 11th birthday!
@hummingbirdhigh me panicking because #ikea might have discontinued their swedish princess layer cakes #baking #bakingrecipe #cake ♬ Sugar, Sugar – The Archies
A Note For Hummingbird High‘s 11th Anniversary
Since starting this baking blog in November 2011, I’ve celebrated its birthday with a celebratory recipe of some kind. I usually accompany the recipe with an introspective post looking at all the ways this blog has changed my life and brought me joy.
But as the years have gone by, I’ve noticed a definite shift in the mood of the posts. While I continue to bake and blog, it’s become clear that Hummingbird High‘s status has changed in my life (and in others). And to confirm this, I found that this is the first year—after eleven!—that I find myself struggling to find new insights and developments to share with you all. Not much seems to have changed in the year since publishing my tenth anniversary post.
I hinted to some big changes coming soon in an earlier post. I wish I could announce them here, but most are dependent on things beyond my control. However, I can share this: after a year of trying (and failing) at catching up with things like TikTok, SEO, and more, I’m ready to return to my roots.
Next year, I want to spend less time trying to game the various social media and tech algorithms. Instead, I just focus on baking things that I want to—things like recreating those Lafayette Bakery spiral croissants from New York City, or those creme brulee donuts from Saint Honoré Doughnuts in Las Vegas—without paying too much attention to whether or not they’ll perform well on social media and Google.
More soon, I promise.
Hummingbird High‘s Anniversary Posts
In the meantime, check out all of Hummingbird High‘s anniversary posts:
- My Best Chocolate Birthday Cake for Ten Years of Hummingbird High
- Strawberry Yellow Sheet Cake for Nine Years of Hummingbird High
- Red Velvet Cupcakes for Eight Years of Hummingbird High
- Ube Layer Cake for Seven Years of Hummingbird High
- Hummingbird Cake for Six Years of Hummingbird High
- The Best Red Velvet Cake for Five Years of Hummingbird High
- A Naked Red Velvet Cake for Four Years of Hummingbird High
- Homemade Funfetti Cake for Three Years of Hummingbird High
- Pink Champagne Cupcakes for Two Years of Hummingbird High
- Confetti Cookies for One Year of Hummingbird High
Why You Should Make The Recipe
Here are all the reasons to make this Swedish princess layer cake:
This Swedish princess layer cake is a fun recipe for folks who want to level up their baking skills.
This Swedish princess layer cake is made with pretty simple components—a basic pastry cream recipe, a yellow cake that you mix by hand with a bowl and a whisk.
However, the difficulty comes from assembling the cake. You’ll need special tools like a cake ring and acetate paper to bring it together. It’s the perfect recipe for folks who want to try something new and a little more advanced!
Despite being an intermediate-level recipe, this recipe is still easier than a traditional Swedish princess layer cake.
That being said, I think making a layer cake version of Swedish princess cake is still easier than the more traditional recipe. A traditional recipe instructs you to shape the whipped cream into a dome over the layer cake. You then cover the entire thing with marzipan. Both those steps can be incredibly tricky!
My recipe, however, is somewhat easier. If you have already have experience building a more traditional layer cake, you’ll do just fine!
The recipe can be easily customized to fit into your schedule.
Real talk—I rarely make a layer cake all in one day. Typically, I make several (or all) of its components like the different cakes, fillings, and frostings beforehand before assembling the entire thing.
Leaving it all to do in one day easily sucks up the entire day. And I don’t have time for that! It’s much better to plan ahead, make certain things in advance, and save them for assembling later. You’ll find that when you do, a baking project that usually would have taken all day now only takes 30 minutes or less over the course of several days.
Because the Swedish princess layer cake consists of five different components total—cake, pastry cream, jam, whipped cream, and marzipan—the best way to make it at home is to divide up the work over several days. Doing so results in a baking project that takes only 1 hour or less per day, resulting in an epic cake at the end! It makes it really easy to fit into a busy person’s schedule.
And by the way—if this sort of “recipe time management” is your thing, I highly suggest you check out my OWN cookbook, Weeknight Baking. I break down complicated, time-intensive recipes for layer cakes and pies this way so you can more easily fit it into your schedule!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Now that I’ve convinced you to make this Swedish princess layer cake, here’s your shopping list for the recipe:
Shopping List For Swedish Princess Layer Cake Recipe
- whole milk
- large eggs
- granulated sugar
- kosher salt
- unsalted butter
- almond extract
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- sour cream
- canola oil
- heavy cream
- confectioners’ sugar
- green food coloring
- strawberry or raspberry jam
And let’s talk about some key ingredients and their potential substitutions:
You need 7 ounces (198 grams) marzipan to make this Swedish princess layer cake.
Where To Buy Marzipan
Marzipan is typically available in the baking aisles of most major grocery stores. It is usually located near the almond paste (which is different from marzipan!). The most commonly available brand in the United States is Odense marzipan. You need 1 (7-ounce) package to make this Swedish princess layer cake.
How To Make Swedish Princess Layer Cake
Here are the basic steps to make this Swedish princess layer cake from scratch:
- Make the pastry cream. (Work Time: 10 minutes)
- Make the sponge cakes. (Total Time, including Prep, Work, and Bake Time: 45 minutes)
- Make the whipped cream. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
- Prep the marzipan. (Work Time: 10 minutes)
- Assemble the cake. (Work Time: 20 minutes)
- Chill the cake. (Chill Time: 2 to 4 hours)
How To Make The Recipe Fit Your Schedule
You can make several of the components ahead of assembling the cake itself. Here’s what I would recommend doing:
- Day 1: Make the pastry cream and prep the marzipan.
The pastry cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days before using in the cake. See the recipe for instructions on how to store for long term. The marzipan can be colored and shaped in advance. Once it’s either dyed or shaped, I recommend wrapping tightly in plastic wrap and storing at room temperature.
- Day 2: Make the cakes.
The cakes can be made and frozen for up to 3 months. If storing for long term, wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. If storing for use within 1 week, I still recommend freezing the cakes. It will make it easier to level them!
- Day 3: Make the whipped cream and assemble the cake.
Once the cake is assembled, it can be stored in the pastry ring and acetate paper for up to 3 days in the refrigerator before serving.
Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ
FAQ: Baking Tools and Equipment To Make Swedish Princess Layer Cake
What baking tools do I need to make this recipe?
To make this recipe, you need a handful of regular baking equipment and specialty baking equipment (which I’ve marked with an asterisk below):
- a fine-mesh sieve
- airtight containers
- plastic wrap
- 2 (6-inch) cake pans
- parchment paper
- a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
- a 6-inch cake ring with 2- or 3-inch tall sides*
- acetate paper OR acetate cake collars*
What is a cake ring? And do I really need one to make the Swedish princess layer cake?
A cake ring is often used in professional pastry kitchens to create mousse cakes and other fancy desserts. It looks like a cake pan, but with taller sides and no bottom. I used this cake ring to make my Swedish princess layer cake, along with others like this Milk Bar Birthday Cake and this Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cake. I like it because it has especially tall sides, and this recipe makes an especially tall cake! But there are plenty that you can choose from that are cheaper.
Unfortunately, you NEED a cake ring to make the recipe. The closest substitution I could think of is to use the sides of a 6-inch springform pan (just make sure it has 2- to 3-inch tall sides, like this Fat Daddio’s or Wilton pan). However, because I’ve never tried it myself, I can’t guarantee the results!
What is acetate paper?
Acetate paper is clear paper made out of plastic. In baking, it functions like parchment paper. Professional pastry chefs line the inside of cake pans and molds with the acetate paper to form the cake, then peel it off before serving. It is stiffer and less adhesive than parchment paper, making it a great tool for making cakes with melty and liquidy fillings like creams, curds, ice creams, and mousse.
The Best Acetate Paper For Making Cakes
When I first started making cakes that required acetate paper in 2011, acetate paper wasn’t widely available outside of pastry kitchens. Instead, you had to order it online from Amazon, where the acetate was sold in sheets similar to printer paper (since acetate is also used for projector slides). These days, Amazon has a much wider selection of acetate sheets for baking. You can get acetate cake collars easily, which are already cut and shaped into the right dimensions for baking.
You typically need two rectangular sheets of acetate paper to make the cake, each 20 inches long and 3 inches tall. Either you can cut a sheet of acetate paper to that size, or buy a roll of a 3-inch or a 4-inch inch tall acetate cake collar paper and cut a 20-inch length of it. The height of the cake collar doesn’t matter too much—you can even buy a 6-inch or an 8-inch tall roll, which will work well with the recipe since the resulting cake is around 6 inches tall.
However, there are pros and cons. Using a taller roll of acetate paper will eliminate the need to use the two cake collars as instructed in the recipe below. However, it will also make it much harder to build the layers. The taller sides of the acetate paper will get in the way as you try and spread the pastry cream and jam!
FAQ: Storing Swedish Princess Layer Cake for Serving Later
How To Store Swedish Princess Layer Cake
The assembled cake will keep, uncovered in the refrigerator, for up to 1 day. After that, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an additional 3 days. Leftover slices can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Can you freeze Swedish princess layer cake?
Yes! You can freeze the cake. You can freeze the assembled cake (still in its cake ring on a sheet pan) for up to 2 weeks. When ready to serve, thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight before following the instructions to unmold and serve the cake.
Best Recipe Tips
- Make sure that the water is very hot, as close to freshly boiled as possible, when you add it to the cake batter. This is the secret to a super moist and fluffy cake! To ensure that my water stays very hot, I pour it into an insulated mug right after boiling. Then, I place a ceramic plate on top of the mug to act as a makeshift lid to trap heat inside.
- For even cake layers, I like to actually weigh out the layers with a digital kitchen scale to make sure they’re even. The easiest way to do this is to set a prepared cake pan on a digital scale and tare it to “0”. Pour batter into the pan until the scale registers the weight listed in the recipe (because yes, I’ve included the approximate weight of the batter needed for each pan!). Repeat with the second pan.
- The recipe instructs you to whip the cream to a specific texture: “firm peaks.” The best way to determine the cream’s texture is to do a test with a whisk. Dip the tip of a whisk (or the whisk attachment) into the whipped cream, remove it, and quickly turn it upside down. If the cream is too soft, it will slide off the whisk. You’ll need to keep whisking. Once the cream has a cloud-like structure, with peaks that lose their shape but hold on to the whisk, you’re at the “soft peaks” stage. Keep going for an additional minute to reach the “firm peaks” stage.
- It can take a really long time to knead the food coloring into the marzipan and achieve a consistent green color. If you want to make your life easier, I suggest kneading it in the stand mixer! Combine the marzipan and food coloring in the bowl and mix them together on low speed to create an even, consistent color.
More Fancy Layer Cakes on Hummingbird High
- 6 Inch German Chocolate Cake
- Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake
- Milk Bar Birthday Cake
- Momofuku Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cake
- My Best Chocolate Birthday Cake
- My Best Yellow Cake With Chocolate Frosting
- Rainbow Unicorn Cake
- Vanilla Mille Crepe Cake
- Vietnamese Iced Coffee Cake
Swedish Princess Layer Cake Recipe
- a fine-mesh sieve
- air tight containers
- plastic wrap
- 2 (6-inch) cake pans
- parchment paper
- a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
- a 6-inch cake ring with 2-inch OR 3-inch tall sides
- acetate paper, cut into one 20-inch long x 6-inch tall rectangular strip OR cut into two 20-inch long x 3-inch tall rectangular strips
For the Pastry Cream
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 7 ½ teaspoons (1 ounce or 28 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon (.5 ounces or 14 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cake
- 1 ⅔ cups (7.5 ounces or 213 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (7 ounces or 198 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) canola oil
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons (1.5 ounces or 43 grams) boiling hot water
For the Whipped Cream
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) cold heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 6 ounces (170 grams) marzipan
- 2 drops green food coloring
- ⅓ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) strawberry or raspberry jam
For the Swedish Princess Layer Cake
First, Make The Pastry Cream:
- Make the pastry cream. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. The mixture will be a little lumpy, but that's okay, I promise!Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 more minutes.Remove from the heat. Immediately add the butter, almond, and vanilla extracts and whisk until smooth. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl and pour the pasty cream through the sieve to remove any lumps. Set the bowl on a wire rack and let cool completely before using in the recipe or storing for later use.To store, pour the pastry cream into an airtight container and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Next, Make The Cake:
- Prep the oven and pans. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously spray two 6-inch cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom of each with a parchment paper circle. Spray the parchment, too.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk the wet ingredients, then mix in the dry ingredients and hot water. In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, oil, egg, and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients until just combined. The mixture will be thick, but that's okay, I promise! Slowly pour in the hot water. Use the rubber spatula to finish mixing until smooth and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Divide the cake batter between the pans. Divide the batter evenly between the pans; if using a digital scale to measure out layers, note that this recipe makes around 24 ounces (680 grams) of batter—pour 12 ounces (340 grams) of batter into each cake pan.
- Bake and cool the cakes. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the top of the cake should bounce back when gently pressed and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out with a few crumbs attached. Cool completely in the pans on a wire rack before frosting.
Prepare to Assemble The Swedish Princess Layer Cake:
- Once the pasty cream is chilled, the cakes are cooled, and you're ready to assemble the cake, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream and confectioners' sugar. Whisk on medium-high until firm peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Dye the marzipan. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter and dust with confectioners' sugar. Add 1 to 2 drops of green food coloring into the center of the marzipan and knead until completely combined and pale green.
- Shape the marzipan. Place a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the marzipan and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 6-inch wide, ⅛-thick circle.
- Prep the cake ring and acetate cake collar. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment paper. Line the inside of the cake ring with the acetate paper (if using two strips of acetate paper, just use one strip).
- Build the Swedish princess layer cake. Set one of the cake rounds in the lined cake ring. Use the back of a spoon or a small rubber spatula to spread the pastry cream on top of the cake. Then, spread the jam over the pastry cream. If you're using two acetate cake collars, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate. Doing so creates a ring of acetate that is 5 to 6 inches tall, combined—this will be high enough to support the height of the finished cake.Set the second cake round on top of the jam. Spoon the whipped cream over this cake round, spreading it to create an even layer on top of the cake. Carefully set the marzipan round on top of the whipped cream.
- Chill the cake. Transfer the sheet pan with the cake to the refrigerator. Chill, uncovered and fully assembled, for a minimum of 2 hours to set the cake and all its fillings.
- Serve and store. When you're ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the refrigerator and use your fingers and thumbs to gently lift the cake ring out from around the cake. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or cake stand. Gently peel off the acetate. Serve immediately. The assembled cake will keep, uncovered in the refrigerator, for up to 1 day. After that, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an additional 3 days. Leftover slices can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
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Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.
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