I apologize if you end up here looking for Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White or Lady Di cupcakes. Maybe another time. Today, I’m talking about a tiny tiny version of the prinsesstårta, or simply princess cake.
This pretty confection was invented in the 30’s by Jenny Åkerström, a famous cook, to pay homage to Margaretha, Märtha e Astrid, the three Swedish princesses. With layers of genoise cake, whipped cream, pastry cream and a touch of raspberry jam, it is traditionally covered with delicious green marzipan. It is everywhere now in Sweden, from graduation parties to weddings, and even sold in slices at the coffee shops.
But today is my mom’s (a true marzipan fan) birthday, and it’s my turn to pay homages. She was a strong, independent woman, who supported three kids on her own, after my father passed away. She was also kind, funny and my favorite partner in my kitchen adventures. I miss her very much.
Like myself, she used to love cakes – specially pretty ones with a princess story on the side.
Princess Cupcakes (makes 5)
This cupcakes are like your own kids – a lot of work, but totally worth it. None of the elements (cake/pastry cream/ syrup/ whipped cream) are difficult, the hardest part is the assembling and the marzipan covering. If you have some experience with rolled fondant, it’s pretty similar to work with.
Vanilla Cupcakes (adapted from here) – can be made up to 2 days ahead
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 50g/ 1/2 stick butter – room temp. and cut in pieces
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line 5 cups of a muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. In another bowl, mix milk, egg and vanilla.
4. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture. Beat with the mixer on low speed until it resembles coarse meal (the larger pieces should be the size of peas).
5. With the mixer on medium speed, add the milk mixture in three additions, and beat only until incorporated.
6. Distribute the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for aprox. 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the cupcakes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before proceeding with the assembling.
Pastry Cream – can be made 1 day ahead
- 1 cup milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp butter
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk just until it simmers.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch and continue whisking until smooth.
- Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Whisk until completely smooth and free of lumps. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and place over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until it thickens. Remove from heat and add the butter, whisking well to incorporate.
- Remove the pastry cream to a bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Rum syrup – can be made up to 1 week ahead
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 teaspoon rum
1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the rum. Let cool completely before using or refrigerating.
For the assembling:
- 5 vanilla cupcakes
- pastry cream
- rum syrup
- 200ml very cold heavy cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- raspberry jam
- 400g marzipan
- green gel food coloring (just a drop)
- natural or sugar mini flowers to garnish
Mix the marzipan with the food coloring and knead until the color is uniform. If it gets sticky, sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar. Wrap with plastic.
Cut the cupcakes tops off (picture 1.). Pell the liners, invert the cakes and cut 4 layers. Reserve the top layer for another use (picture 2.).
Whisk the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form.
Over a cardboard circle, or the removable bottons of tartelette tins (I used that), start assembling the cupcake layers, brushing the cake layers with the syrup.
- first, a very thin layer of jam;
- over the jam, a teaspoon whipped cream;
- cake + syrup;
- a teaspoon of pastry cream;
- last layer of cake + syrup;
- cover the whole cupcake with whipped cream, trying to make the rounder the top you can (picture 3.). Put in the refrigerator while making the other cupcakes.
Procede the same way with all the cakes.
Over a working surface, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar, roll out the marzipan (you can see the thickness in the picture 4).
With a thin knife, cut rounds big enough to cover the cupcakes. Put the marzipan over the cakemaking sure to cover the entire cake and cardboard. When finished, some marzipan should drape onto the work surface all around the cupcake. There will be folds on the sides. To remove them lift the outside edge of the marzipan with a hand on either side of a fold and, without tearing or stretching, gently pull the marzipan out and down until the fold disappears. Be gentle and it will be fine!
Sift a little confectioner’s sugar over the cakes and transfer to the serving dishes or cake stand. Decorate with the sugar flowers. These are best eaten the same day they are assembled.