Archive | May, 2013

Swedish Prinsesstårta

30 May

Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta! When I first saw this month’s DB challenge, I couldn’t control my excitement.  It looked simple but irresistible and the idea of baking a cake with jam and  custard between layers of sponge cake was delicious.

I had never tried it before, not even the Ikea version, so, I started searching the internet for pictures and ideas and history and what not… but I couldn’t really find out the reason behind the cake being green, I mean, one could expect a cake known as  Prinsesstårta to be pink, but green!! However, Korena had given us the freedom to decide on the shade of the marzipan we wanted to use.

So, here is what my Prinsesstårta looked like. I finished assembling the cake in the evening, so couldn’t take any “natural light” shots for the blog.


I prepared the custard at home and opted to buy the marzipan from store 🙂  Most of the recipe is in Korena’s words(from DB challenge).


Vanilla Custard

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 yolks of large eggs
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Sponge Cake

  • Crushed planko (fine, dry breadcrumbs)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Marzipan cover and the decoration

  • 10 oz marzipan
  • red food color
  • green food color
  • icing/powdered sugar

Note:  The custard should be dense and cold while assembling, so it would be good to make it a day in advance it let it cool overnight.

Preparation: Custard

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Gradually whisk in ½ cup  cream until smooth. In another saucepan heat the remaining 1/2 cup cream, till it just starts to boil. Add the hot cream to the egg mixture, a little at a time and keep whisking continuously, to temper the eggs. Do not add all the hot cream at the same time, we would just get scrambled eggs in that case!! 😛  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick like pudding and just comes to a boil. I would say, decide on whether the custard is ready by its texture, if you let it cook for too long, it will curdle. Been there, done that! So, remove it from heat when you see that it is dense enough and add the vanilla extract. Let the custard cool down and then to get a finer texture, sieve it through a mesh. Store in an air tight container and refrigerate.

Preparation: Sponge Cake

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 degree Fahrenheit. Thoroughly butter a 9” (23 cm) round cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Dust the buttered pan with enough breadcrumbs to coat the bottom and sides, just like flouring a cake pan. Set it aside.

Place the eggs and granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed,  until the eggs are tripled in volume and very light colored and fluffy and  the mixture falls from the beaters in thick ribbons.  Don’t over beat the eggs – once they form thick ribbons and stop growing in volume, stop beating.

Sift the all-purpose (plain) flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then sift the flour mixture over the whipped eggs.  Fold in the flour into the eggs until blended, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Once mixed, the batter should be quite thick and smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake  for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes then run a knife around the edges and invert the cake onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored, well-wrapped in plastic, at a cool room temperature.


Preparation: Marzipan cover and rose

Take 10 oz of marzipan and set aside a small chunk to make the leaves and the rose for decoration. Add green food color to the marzipan and knead it well to make sure that the marzipan changes color uniformly. Use icing sugar if it gets sticky to handle. For the rose, I added 2 drops of red food color to the reserved marzipan to give it the pink shade. Prepare and set aside the marzipan rose and leaves for decoration.

Dust your work surface with icing sugar and press the marzipan into a 6-inch disc. Coat both sides with icing sugar and roll it out into a 14-inch diameter circle less than 1/8-inch thick. Use plenty of icing sugar to prevent it from sticking. Set it aside.

Assembling the cake layers

With a long knife, slice the sponge cake into three even layers. The sponge  cake is very delicate, so this part must be done as carefully as possible. Use a gentle sawing motion to move the knife through the cake instead of trying to pull it through the cake. Use a spatula to help you lift off each layer after you cut it. Set aside the middle layer as it is the most flexible and therefore easiest to bend into a dome over the whipped cream. Place one of remaining layers on a cake platter and spread it evenly with the raspberry/strawberry jam. Spread half the chilled custard over the jam in an even layer, leaving enough room around the edges so that it does not spill over the sides of the cake. Top the custard with another layer of cake followed by another evenly spread layer of custard.

Reserve ½ cup of the stiffly whipped cream. I did not use any stabilizers for the cream. Pile the rest into a mound on top of the custard. Spread it into a thick layer with a thin, flexible spatula or off-set spatula, then hold the spatula at an angle to shape the whipped cream into a dome, piling it up in the middle of the cake as much as possible. This is essential to get a good rounded dome. Now, place the third and the final layer of the sponge cake (the middle layer) on top of the whipped cream dome and tuck its edges into the whipped cream. Now, spread the reserved 1/2 cup of whipped cream over the entire cake to fill out any cracks and crevices, and to smooth-en the cake.

Now, using a rolling pin drape the marzipan layer on top of the cake and gently smooth-en it around the top and the sides of the cake, patting it in place. If you see any folds, lift the marzipan and smooth-en it out gently using both hands. Once, you are satisfied with it, cut out any excess marzipan using a sharp knife.

Decorating the Prinsesstårta

Dust the cake with some icing/powdered sugar using a sieve and place first the marzipan leaves and the the rose in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake till its time to server it.

I had an incredible time working on this challenge. It wasn’t easy, but ever since I read the challenge guidelines, it always felt worth all the effort 😀 .  As an amateur baker, I tried to follow the guidelines to the T and did not deviate much from the instructions Korena provided, and I felt so much at peace when all my friends said they loved it 🙂 The cake was soft and, the raspberry jam , custard and whipped cream combination not only added moistness to it but also a very yummy raspberry-vanilla custard flavor!

Give it a try!! You will love it 🙂 😀


Nutella Pecan Cookies

16 May

I realized yesterday that its been real long since I shared another of my new experiments with you all, so I started thinking about what would be a good recipe to write about. It wasn’t that difficult a task, since I realized my blog still doesn’t have any chocolate based recipe, which seems such a contradiction as I am an ardent chocolate lover, not to mention, that the first cookies I ever baked were chocolate cookies.

I always have chocolate in my kitchen closet, but yesterday I couldn’t find any 😦 . So, instead of baking chocolate chip cookies I decided to go bold and bake with whatever I could lay my hands on, which was, a small box of Nutella, the delicious hazelnut spread and pecan halves. If you haven’t tried Nutella, you should, it is heaven in a box!  This, is a glimpse of the cookies I whipped up 🙂 Yummmyyy!! They reminded me of chocolate brownies, but were definitely more lighter than brownies. Also, these were just the right amount of sweet for me. They spread a bit while baking but, that might be because I was very impatient and took them out of the refrigerator in 20 minutes 😛 . I  have a strong suspicion that refrigerating the batter for longer duration would have solved that problem.

Nutella Pecan Cookies

INGREDIENTS (12 mid size cookies)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Nutella (I used about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup roasted and chopped pecans (I used about 3/4 cup, I love pecans)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

In a bowl whisk together flour, egg, sugar and nutella. You can use a hand mixer as well.

Nutella Pecan Cookies


Gently fold-in the pecan pieces till they are evenly distributed in the batter. Refrigerate the cookie dough for about 2 hours, or, if you are impatient like me, roll the dough into small balls and place them on an un-greased cookie tray for baking. Bake for about 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Nutella Pecan Cookies

Trust me on this, when I tell you that these cookies are irresistible!! I am so glad, I baked only a dozen 😛 because the minute they were cool enough to touch, 4 of them vanished into thin air!! And sometime after dinner another couple of them were gone. Its a miracle I had any left for the photo shoot 🙂 😀

So, till I decide on what I will be baking next, Happy Baking friends!!

(adapted from: wesley & zoe)

Banana-nut Muffin

6 May

I have always loved banana nut muffins. I love the moist, spongy muffins with small crunchy pieces of nuts. Loved them even when I was in school, they used to be my grab and go snack between classes :), and love them even now, when we get them with breakfast every wednesday! So, I guess I can never get tired of these muffins.

Well, I won’t lie, I bought bananas last weekend and, let them sit there on the fruit stand, just because I wanted to bake these muffins :D.    The recipe source I followed mentioned just 3 bananas for the recipe, but since I had  4, I used them all. They turned out moist and yummy and slightly wet from the inside and I guess the extra banana is responsible for it. However, they are delicious.

Banana nut muffin

INGREDIENTS(12 muffins)

  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • zest of 1 lemon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degree fahrenheit.

Place the pecans in the oven and remove them in about 10 minutes or when they are lightly roasted.  Let them cool and later, chop them into small pieces.

Banana nut muffin

In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients together, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, zest, nuts and salt. In another bowl combine mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, lemon juice, and vanilla. Lightly fold, the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the batter else, the muffins will turn out to be rubbery and hard.

Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins. Fill each muffin tin to the brim and bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted,  comes out clean. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack.

So, I  now have my stash of muffins ready for the week  🙂  and, the only thing I need to take care of now is to make sure they last till the weekend 😛 !!

<Adapted from: Joy of Baking>

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