rushthatspeaks: (Default)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Ruth's birthday cake is indeed the best cake I've ever made. Including the parsnip cake. It is better than the parsnip cake.

Photos exist, but I need to figure out whether we own the cable that would get them from my phone to the computer. If we don't, it's gonna be a while, because both Ruth and I have a terrible cold.

[personal profile] desperance asked for the recipe, and
Ludicrously Extravagant Swedish Princess Cake

For the cake (based on Smitten Kitchen's Pink Lady):

2 1/4 cups flour (ideally cake flour, I didn't have any, all-purpose was just fine)
scant 1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 egg whites (note: yolks used later in recipe)
scant 1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup whole-fruit raspberry sorbet, softened but not melted

2 9-inch round cake pans (non-stick is nice)
ideally you want a stand mixer

For the currant-flavored simple syrup:

1 cup dried currants
1 cup warm water
1 cup sugar

For the currant-raspberry jam: (note, I did not have as much jam as I'd like so I am giving you double my original measurements)

the dried currants from above
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey

For the custard (yes, this is the same recipe I use for custard bao):

4 egg yolks (the whites are in the cake)
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups lukewarm or room-temperature (not cold) milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

You can use the same saucepan for the syrup, the jam, and the custard.

For the frosting:

enough whipping cream to produce 3 cups of whipped cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the "fondant"/decor:

enough marzipan to enrobe a cake (the internet thinks this is a pound), or, if you're me, enough to make some nice decorations, i.e. some
food coloring: traditionally the marzipan is light green, but you can dye marzipan any colors you want and mold it into whatever makes you happy


Mise en scene:

Take one cup dried currants, rinse them once to get rid of any grit, and put them in one cup of warm-to-hot water. Leave for at least half an hour (not hard with the rest of this recipe). Wash and pick over raspberries. Separate eggs. Soften and melt relevant butter. Take relevant milk out of fridge.

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter the insides of the 9-inch pans. If you have parchment or waxed paper, line the bottoms of the pans with it and butter that too; lacking paper I just floured the heck out of mine and it didn't stick annoyingly.

Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on low for about thirty seconds. Then add the butter and the raspberry sorbet and blend on medium-low for two to three minutes. If the batter seems to have trouble coming together, add milk a quarter-teaspoonful at a time as it blends. Continue blending until the batter looks like ice cream and could be described as fluffy. (At this point, you could probably just eat it out of the bowl and everyone would go home happy. It's really good cake batter.)

In a different bowl, beat the egg whites and remaining milk together just to combine. Add them to the batter in small additions, beating on medium-low just to combine each time and scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the pans. Two-thirds of it goes into one pan, and one-third into the other. Fortunately, this batter is quite manageable, and this isn't anywhere near as hard as it would be with many other cakes.

Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes, and be aware that the smaller cake will be done sooner. The cakes are done when a tester comes out completely clean and they are pulling away from the sides of the pan and are golden pink. Let them cool ten to fifteen minutes before taking them out of the pans (running a butter knife around the edges, inverting and thumping worked fine) and then let them cool completely before you assemble the cake.

For the syrup:

Drain and squeeze out soaking currants, reserving the water. Pour currant water into a small saucepan and add one cup sugar. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. All the sugar must dissolve, and it must come to a full boil. Take it off the heat, carefully pour into another container, and let cool completely (you can put it in the fridge). You do not need to rinse the saucepan.

For the jam:

Squish one cup raspberries very thoroughly into goo. Lower heat to medium and put currants and squashed berries in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring (they should be releasing liquid). Add and stir in the sugar and honey and raise the heat to high. Stir constantly until it comes to a rolling boil. Keep stirring until the foam subsides and the jam is thick and shiny-- since the quantities are so small it will take a lot less time than other jams; I think this entire process was under ten minutes. You can make the jam as thick as you want (test by dropping a little on a cold plate and seeing how it sets) but it only needs to be thick enough not to run off the cake and in fact thinner is more spreadable for this purpose. Scrape jam into a bowl, and rinse the saucepan very quickly, because if you get the sugar off before it sets you won't have to wait for it to cool and then scrub it.

For the custard and frosting:

Combine in your now clean and water-cooled saucepan the four egg yolks and one cup sugar. Add the flour gradually, mixing well, then the salt, and then the warm milk. Put it over very low heat and stir constantly, scraping the bottom and making sure to get the edges. Continue until it thickens. It will be at least fifteen minutes and there is nothing you can do about it. I like to drink some water or something while I make custard. Once it starts thickening it will do so pretty quickly, and the thicker it gets the more you need to scrape the bottom. It wants to be pretty thick for this cake so it doesn't ooze out the sides. When it is as thick as you like, take it off the heat, beat in the melted butter, and if necessary put it back on the heat for another minute to rethicken a little. Shove it in the fridge to cool it down quickly (you'll see why).

Wash the stand mixer bowl. Whip the whipping cream, using stand mixer, with the vanilla and salt, until it forms stiff peaks. Once the custard is cool enough not to curdle cream, mix a third of it into the whipped cream.

Mix 1/2 cup fresh raspberries into the remaining two-thirds of the custard, reserving a few plain berries for garnish. Note: the berries in the custard will be structural in the finished edifice.

For the "fondant"/decor:

If enrobing your cake in marzipan, tint it with food coloring (green is traditional) and roll it out to an even thickness of 1/16th of an inch. If your marzipan is fresh, you will need to use confectioner's sugar to keep it from sticking to the board and pin. If it is old and recalcitrant, knead in a few drops of water and one or two of canola or almond oil to make it more flexible, but hey, it won't stick to anything. Or just dye and shape the marzipan into whatever decorations you want. Note: more time-consuming than it sounds. As in more than an hour for the Utena rose seal.


Using a serrated knife, cut the larger of your two cakes horizontally in half. (I love this batter. This is actually easy.) Place the remaining original cake round on a plate, bottom up.

Spoon currant syrup over it generously. Then spread half the jam onto it, working from the center out. Then half of the custard-and-raspberries.

Put the less fragile of your two new cake rounds on top of the custard, cut side up. Simple syrup. Jam. Custard. (You should use up all the jam and custard. You will have leftover syrup.)

Then the more fragile round. No syrup here (this is structural). Frost with the whipped-cream-custard mixture on top and sides. (You will probably have some of this left too.) If enrobing in marzipan, hold the sheet over the cake with the center of the sheet over the center of the cake. Lay it down gently and smooth down and out, aiming for a dome shape. Trim edges. If not, just garnish with marzipan shapes and fresh berries.

I chilled this overnight with no perceptible ill effects and in fact it may have been a good idea as the custard and jam layers mind-melded. Serve in thin slices with the leftover whipped cream. Serves, given the amount two of us could eat of it in one sitting when both hungry, roughly twenty very happy people, despite appearing reasonably sized-- there's a lot of density to this cake.

And that is a four-hour birthday cake. Don't think I could streamline the workflow any more than I have, as I don't want two sugar solutions cooking at once and the custard really needs babied, but I would be cheerful of suggestions.

Date: 2012-06-10 03:08 pm (UTC)
akycha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] akycha
I am definitely going to save this recipe. I made a cake with the Utena rose seal on it once, but it wasn't a princess cake, which is now see was an oversight on my part.

Date: 2012-06-10 07:55 pm (UTC)
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
From: [personal profile] starlady
I have had princess cake. You are a champion to have made one yourself.

Date: 2012-06-10 09:01 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
Holy crap. I personally would be taking the currants and running, with maybe a bite of marzipan. *doffs hat*

Date: 2012-06-10 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wim says: it helps to discover which butter is relevant if you clarify it.

(I kicked him, but only a little.)

Date: 2012-06-10 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh man.

It sounds lovely!

Date: 2012-06-10 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To confirm: it is ridiculously tasty-- complicated full flavor in a way that cakes often aren't, but still light, and all the complications of the flavors are tasty. It is the yummiest birthday cake I think I have ever had.

The fact that we have lots of leftover whipped-cream does not hurt at all.

(I am extremely, extremely lucky. And happy. I am just saying.)

Date: 2012-06-11 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sorry to derail and I'm going to go back and read the main recipe, but -- may I please have the recipe for the parsnip cake? Even if the spectacular cake is objectively better, I know my biases. I love parsnips a great deal.

Date: 2012-06-12 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The recipe is here ( I love parsnips dearly which is why I made this cake.

I have a couple of notes to add, based on experiences since: one, instead of discarding the parsnip soaking liquid, put it in the cake, and you will get a stronger taste of parsnip-- lessen the amount of molasses as the parsnip liquid is both wet and sweet; two, don't bother with either sour cream or yogurt for the frosting, just use creme fraiche and add a couple drops of lemon extract as well as or instead of lemon juice.

Date: 2012-06-13 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! The combination with cardamom sounds delicious on my mental tongue; I know I like parsnip with ginger.

(To confirm the intent, the first change ups the sugar in the cake by bringing in the whole of the 1/2 c. from the maceration, even with reducing the molasses?)

Date: 2012-06-12 03:23 am (UTC)
ext_2472: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for posting this. I don't think I'll ever need to make it -- but I might take up your suggestion about making the cake batter and eating it straight.

(I made the parsnip cake, more than once, I hope I mentioned. Worked very well. Thank you for that too.)

(Tomorrow's cake: something disastrous with strawberry and basil. Disaster is in the recipe. I think it's measured in babelspoons.)

Date: 2012-06-12 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I came so close to just eating the cake batter. It is pretty ludicrous cake batter.

You are very welcome for the parsnip cake! I am glad you like it!

Heh. Let me know if you wind up with an entire tower of babelspoons, or just a millitower.

Date: 2013-04-02 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for sharing this recipe! Sounds really good and I want to try it.


rushthatspeaks: (Default)

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