A Swedish Princess Torte is a genoise sponge layered up with crème patissiere, jam and cream covered in green marzipan – a bit like a trifle (minus the sherry) in a marzipan hat. The end result is decorated with a pink rose and, in the words of a friend on Facebook, looks like one of Grotbags’ boobs.
The technical challenges seem to be focusing less and less on skill and knowledge and more and more on extreme speed. Mary’s cake had all the bakers racing against the clock to complete 24 stages using 26 different ingredients. This was one hell of a challenge to complete in 2 and a half hours, as was evident from some of the sad looking results on the judging table.
There was plenty to go wrong with this task. First there was the issue with flat genoise sponges. The most important thing with a genoise is to whisk whisk whisk. The eggs and sugar need to whisked until pale and mousse-like. This can take a while, so an electric hand whisk is your friend here. I always whisk my sugar and eggs over a pan of barely simmering water until mixture is just warm to the touch, as this speeds up the process, but be careful not to let the base of the bowl touch the water, or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
Another issue that came up was how to ensure the crème patissiere would set. People go wrong with pastry cream because they are nervous of letting it bubble too much. Although it is, essentially, a stiff custard, there’s no gentle stirring until it just coats the back of a spoon. You need to allow the flour to cook out properly and you need to let it bubble while constantly stirring to get it thick enough to spread or pipe.
The Swedish Princess Torte is a real project cake, but you can get all the flavours without the fuss with my simplified Swedish Princess Cupcakes. You don’t need to spend all day in the kitchen to impress your friends and I’ve simplified things further by using shop bought raspberry jam and marzipan.