Category Archives: Cake

Swedish Princess Cake

You remember my post a little while back about how I am avoiding baking lots of small cakes. I also mentioned that I am trying to become a 50’s housewife in the  sense that I aspire to have a regular supply of baked goods on my kitchen counter (and to wear adorable aprons while baking said items). I seem to be on track in my enjoyment and  baking regular-sized cakes, especially ones that come as a challenge. When my friend, Aubree, asked me if I would create a Swedish Princess Cake for her 25th birthday, I happily agreed.

What I was NOT aware of was how much of a process creating said cake is. I began by Googling ‘Swedish Princess Cake’ and discovered the following things about Swedish Princess Cakes:

  • They are traditionally green
  • The construction of said cake is made up of 6 components
  • If you do it well, it is beautiful and dome-shaped
  • If you do not do it well, it looks fairly unappetizing

As someone who appreciates a good culinary challenge, and also as someone who aspires to greatness in her kitchen, I was determined to make the most beautiful princess cake the city of Bozeman had ever seen. As the birthday approached, I set to work on my time line, which went something like this:

Day 1 (Friday):

  • Procure ingredients (of which included 2 cans of marzipan, a bottle of kirsch, sugar, butter, a vanilla bean, cream, strawberry jam, and eggs)
  • Make kirsch sugar syrup (kirsch, sugar, water) and refrigerate

Day 2 (Saturday):

  • Make vanilla pastry cream (eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, gelatin, cornstarch) and refrigerate
  • Color marzipan green, wrap and set aside
  • Make Swiss butter cream frosting (egg whites, sugar, butter, vanilla)

Day 3 (Sunday):

  • Make genoise cake-yellow sponge cake- (eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla)
  • Whip cream for filling

Construction of cake, part 1 (still Sunday):

Once the genoise cake had cooled, I found an 8-inch bowl, which I lined with plastic wrap and began the upside-down construction of the cake. the first step was to cut the genoise into wedges to fill the dome part of the cake. With each cake layer, the kirsch sugar syrup would be brushed on each side to keep things moist. Once cake layer 1 was down, whipped cream filled the dome, then another layer of kirsch-brushed cake, followed by vanilla pastry cream, followed by more cake, followed by whipped cream and a generous layer of strawberry jam with one more layer of cake. The bowl of cake was then wrapped and refrigerated overnight to set.

Day 4 (Monday- Party Day!)/Construction of the cake, part 2:

This was the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process. If anything were to go wrong at this point, Aubree would not only have an ugly cake for her birthday, but one very grumpy party guest. So. I turned the cake over onto the cake pedestal- it did not fall or slump. The pastry cream was oozing out a little, but I went to work right away sealing all layers and cracks in with the swiss-buttercream frosting- which just happens to serve as a pretty fantastic mortar for sealing up cakes. Once the buttercream was smoothly shellacked onto the cake, it went back in the fridge to continue to set-up.

Four hours later, I was rolling out the light green marzipan for the finishing touches. Traditionally, Swedish Princess Cakes are adorned with green marzipan and a single marzipan rose on top. This being a spring birthday, and for a person who has an affinity for peas, I created a pea-like decor with small tendrils surrounding the base of the cake and some embellishment on the top.

And, voila!

I give all credit to the creation of this cake to Baking Obsession. I would not have even attempted this cake without the thorough directions, methodology and detailed diagram that was essential in the construction of such a cake.

I did not get a photo of the cake’s cross-section. But you can get an idea of what it might have looked like above. Just imagine as much deliciousness as you could possibly fit into a cake, and you’re almost there.

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… So I baked a cake

Remember when I made cupcakes?

That was a little while ago, I started baking cupcakes in a quasi-commercial capacity almost a year ago, and I did so for about 4 months. Then, when all was said and done, I was completely burned out on baking tiny cakes. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made cupcakes since the farmers’ market ended late last summer- 3.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like cake anymore. It just means I don’t like making small ones.

What I fancy these days is the everyday cake. Remember when your mom made cake that was always available under a glass dome and when you came home from school you would pour yourself a big glass of milk that your dad had gotten from the cow that morning? Well, I don’t. But I’m trying to create that false sense of nostalgia that we all have when we see certain advertisements… or maybe that’s just because I took an advertising class in college that contributed heavily to an existential crisis.

If anyone wants to send me a nice milk-glass cake pedestal and glass cake dome, I would be ever-grateful. And I’ll send you a cake.

This cake is a delicious any-time, every-day cake. It can serve as a breakfast-y coffee cake since it has both fruit and nuts, but also is accompanied very well by a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I might also put a plug in for The Essential New York Times Cook Book, if you’re like me and you like the NYT and compulsively check their food section every day (well, at least until they started charging to look at their paper online), you’ll love this book. It’s got great recipes, but also gives a wonderful history of food in the USA.

Teddie’s Apple Cake- Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cook Book

  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c vegetable, canola or other light oil
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 c peeled, cored, and chopped apples
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 c raisins
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan (I found that a deeper spring-form pan works great) and set aside.

Whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda

Beat oil an sugar together in a mixer with paddle attachment for about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until the mixture is creamy.

Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended.

Add apples, walnuts and raisins and stir until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the cake dish and bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cook in pan.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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Oh, Martha!

I’ve been in a cake baking rut. A rut in the sense that my past 3 of 4 cake-like items I have baked have turned out sub-par. This not only upsets me, but makes me not want to bake for fear of another failure.

First there was a cake I made for work. I was so ashamed of the lack of sponginess that I referred to it as a torte.

Then there was the cupcakes that turned hard and resembled hockey pucks.

Then there was a successful plum cake/torte(!).

Lastly there was a less-than-successful plum cake/torte, The plums were enveloped by the cake when they should have been surrounded by it. I made a repeat of the plum cake/torte for two reasons.
1. An attempt at consistency.
2. To boost my confidence.

Instead, I apologized profusely to my guest and boyfriend as we destroyed (ate) the evidence of the sunken-plum cake.

This past weekend I decided it was time to put away silly doubts, It was Jody’s Birthday, and she deserved a homemade cake. In order to get over my self-doubt I tried some positive self-affirmations (something I learned in my self-defense for women class- but a handy technique when applied to other areas of life). ‘I AM a strong and powerful woman!’ was adapted to, ‘I CAN bake a delicious cake!’ I thought back to double-layered cake successes, as well as incredibly moist and perfectly spiced pumpkin cupcakes. I thought some more and remembered where I had found the most perfect pumpkin cupcake recipe- why from Martha Stewart, of course! Whatever you say about Martha Stewart, you cannot talk shit about her cakes. I’m sure savvy business sense helped her get where she is today- but she certainly couldn’t have done it if her cakes sucked. After briefly searching her website (which, by the way, is a lovely and calming yet cheerful shade of Tiffany green/blue), I settled on a decidedly classy and un-fussy Devils Food Chocolate Cake.

And you know what…

It was a success!

I felt so confident about my baking on Saturday, that I not only baked a cake, but also a loaf of bread (no-knead style),

and a tuna-noodle casserole (made with cream of mushroom soup from Soup Swap), complete with breadcrumbs!

After that, I was exhausted. So I watched Gone With The Wind.

Devils Food Chocolate Cake
-Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened Hershey’s cocoa, plus more for pans
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 2 cake pans. Cut out some circles in parchment paper and put in bottom. Dust with cocoa and set aside. Add boiling water to cocoa powder. Mix and set aside.

In your boyfriend’s Kitchenaid mixer, whip butter with paddle attachment. Add sugar and blend until fluffy. Scrape down sides and whip again. Add vanilla and eggs gradually. Blend until smooth and uniform.

Sift all dry ingredients together. Stir milk into cocoa paste- it will look delicious, but it is not.

Alternate adding flour and cocoa mixture, to butter/sugar whip. Mix until mixture is mixed.

Divide batter evenly among cake pans. Bake for 35ish minutes- or until toothpick or other sharp item you stab into cake comes out clean.

Let rest for 15 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Make frosting.

Tasty Chcolate Frosting-

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate pieces
  • cream

In a double boiler, begin to melt chocolate pieces. In mixer, whip butter. Sift powdered sugar into butter. Add cream and more powdered sugar if desired to acheive the consistancy you want.

When chocolate pieces are melty, remove from heat. pour in some cream- give it a good glug. Stir. Allow to cool for a bit then add to butter/sugar mixture. Whip to desired consistancy.

When the cake is COMPLETELY cooled, you’re ready to frost. Start with a bread knife and cut off the rounded tops of the cake- this not only gives you something to nibble on- it also gives you great surfaces to work with. No wonky cakes here, no sir.

Frost the top of one cake. Put the other cake on top of the first. Frost the rest of the cake. Put a crazy-huge daffodil on your cake for beauty and to remind everyone else about spring… and GMO daffodils.

Enjoy!

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