I know posting a cake on Easter Monday is a bit cruel (cream egg hangovers are legit brutal) but there is a method to my madness. When you’re no longer bursting with Easter candy and the four ham dinners you had to attend, you will remember that BBQ Season is nigh. I bet if you look at your calendar, you’ll see one of two cookouts already on the books. Well, call me old fashion, but a BBQ needs a cake and I think you’ll find this Chamomile & Quince Princess Cake is, in fact, a cake. Are you picking up what I’m throwing down?
I’m going to go ahead and state the obvious: this cake is a project. This isn’t a single bowl situation or an ‘I Can’t Believe I Baked’ affair. This is a Chamomile & Quince Princess Cake. This sh*t is epic! I’m not saying this to discourage you from taking this cake on because it really was incredibly fun to make – I just want you to plan accordingly. Say goodbye to love ones for a few hours because your baking is about to get real.
This Chamomile & Quince Princess Cake is based on the traditional Swedish Princess Cake. A Swedish Princess Cake typically contains a sponge cake cut into thirds, raspberry jam, pastry cream and a whole wack of whipped cream. The mess of cake, jam and cream are then molded into a dome-like structure and covered in a sheet of green marzipan. Sounds neat, right? I thought so, but because I’m allergic to instructions, I decided to mess with the treasured cake. I swapped the raspberry jam for quince (a word I am unconvinced I know how to pronounce properly) and the plain old’ pastry cream for a chamomile-infused number. And finally, the green marzipan became a peach-hued version.
Having never had the unadulterated version of a Swedish Princess Cake (not even the IKEA version), I can’t say if my changes made it better or worse. What I can say is the end result tasted as delicious as you would expect something with this much cream would.
The individual components of this Chamomile & Quince Princess Cake are well within reach of most home bakers. The assembly, however, is, um, bracing? Forming the dome – the part that scared me the most – was surprisingly easy (I blame this YouTube video entirely for my success), but covering the cake in marzipan was anything but. I tried numerous batches of marzipan, rolled it out several different ways, and attempted to cover the cake from every possible angle. Nothing worked. The marzipan ripped, buckled, and generally behaved very badly. I pretty much threw a tantrum over it.
In the end, I decided to give up on the smooth marzipan finish and play to my strengths. Crafting simple marzipan flowers and roses turned out to be fairly easy for me (again, I blame a YouTube video for my success), so I thought, why not cover the entire cake in marzipan petals? Not only did going this route help me preserve my sanity, I think it left me with easily the most beautiful cake I’ve ever made. But having said that, this is also the girliest thing I have ever made. Yes, even more girly than this.
This cake takes patience, perseverance and a complete disregard for the scarcity of time, so don’t take it on lightly. But when you hear your friends, family and fellow-BBQ enthusiasts ooh-and-ahh over it, it will all feel worth it. So, do yourself proud and make this Barbie Dream Ca- I mean, Chamomile & Quince Princess Cake today!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup warm water
- 2 chamomile teabags
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups finely ground almonds
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 egg white*
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- ½ teaspoon rose water
- Wilton Creamy Peach gel icing colour
- Wilton Golden Yellow gel icing colour
- ¼ cup quince jam
- 1 tube Wilton White Decorating Gel
- *Use a ¼ cup of corn syrup if raw egg white makes you squeamish.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift flour and baking powder together. Set aside.
- Place eggs and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high until the mixture is thick, frothy and pale yellow. Stream in the water and whisk for another two minutes.
- Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
- Pour the batter into a buttered 10” cake pan.
- Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until set and golden.
- Let the cake cool, then slice into three even layers. Remove the browned edges and set the layers aside until ready to assemble the cake.
- Pour whipping cream, sugar and salt into a small sauce pan. Whisk to combine.
- Add the teabags and place the saucepan over medium heat. Bring the cream to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat. Cover and let the tea steep for 10-15 minutes.
- While the tea is steeping, place egg yolks and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until the mixture is creamy, and a softer shade of yellow.
- Remove the teabags from the cream mixture. Reheat the cream mixture over low heat.
- Pour a ladle-full of the cream mixture into egg/cornstarch mixture. Whisk to combine and add to the saucepan.
- Cook the pastry cream over low heat until it thickens. About 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter.
- Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.
- Place all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk the cream on high until stiff peaks form.
- Cover finished cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use - preferably the same day it's made.
- Place ground almonds and icing sugar in a large food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Set the food processor to low and stream in the egg white or corn syrup followed by the almond extract and rose water. Process until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough onto a dry surface dusted with icing sugar. Knead the marzipan pliable. Form into a loaf.
- Take a quarter of the finished marzipan and half it. Color one half using Golden Yellow and leave the other half natural. Form into flowers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Color the remaining marzipan Creamy Peach. Roll into a log and wrap tightly. Set aside.
- Start with the bottom layer of the sponge cake, golden side up. Spread the quince jam on the sponge cake leaving 1" border. Cover jam with a thin layer of whipped cream.
- Place the top layer of the sponge cake, golden side down, on top of the whipped cream. Spread the pastry cream on top leaving a 1" border.
- Place a mound of whipped cream (about 2 cups) on top of the pastry cream and, using a palette knife, flatten the top. Form the cream into a cone-like shape with a flat top (see video).
- Place the middle layer of sponge cake on top of the whipped cream and press it into a dome shape.
- Coat the outside of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll the peach marzipan out on sugar dusted parchment paper. Using a 1-inch biscuit cutter, cut the marzipan into small circles.
- Place the circles between two sheets of wax paper and, using your finger, feather the edges.
- Arrange the marzipan petals on the princess cake. Fill in any gaps with marzipan flowers, securing them with decorating gel.
- Finish the cake with a pink dusting powder if desired.