Sunday, August 15, 2010
The Royal Wedding Cake, my way
I don't know how much buzz there is in the rest of the world, but Stockholm has been in a pre-wedding frenzy this summer. Our royal princess Victoria got married to her Daniel, a "man of the people" as he's so often presented. While I don't think it's that much to talk about, weddings are always fun and there's always a good idea to make cake.
This is not the actual wedding cake. Obviously. But our Bakery/Pastry Association (Sveriges Bagare och Konditorer) decided to put out a recipe, created by some of the best pastry chefs we have, so that every pastry shop could make a cake and sell, in the weeks before the wedding. Despite this recipe being fairly straightforward, a lot of pastry shops have chosen to make substitutions and use ready-made mixes for some of the cake elements. Pretty lazy, if you ask me. (But as you shall soon see, I have also made a few substitutions...) The recipe hasn't been adapted for the public - you can find it easy enough on Google, but it's for 28 cakes. So I decided to adapt it, and make it my own.
This cake has five elements, and is a riff of the classic Swedish Princess Cake but with slightly different flavors.
-The cake layers. Supposedly an almond genoise. I was feeling lazy, and very happy with my recently discovered reliable recipe for cake layers, so I made those instead. Not that an almond genoise is all that difficult, but.. oh well.
-The strawberry compote. You can make it, certainly. Or you might have an unopened jar of very high quality jam sitting on your shelf. If you do, like I did - use it.
-The almond chocolate crisp. Well, this calls for almond praline. Not difficult to make but not so easy to buy, perhaps. It's well worth the ten minutes extra it will take to make it, and it keeps for a pretty long time in a tight-lidded jar. Go make some now!
-The vanilla bavaroise. This is essentially a vanilla custard, stabilized with gelatin and lightened with whipped cream. Delicious!
-The marzipan lid. You can make your own. Or not. I bought good-quality marzipan and tinted it with white powdered coloring as well as I could.
And that's it. As you can see, this is not the easiest cake recipe out there, but it's not difficult - just a bit fiddly. Prepare well in advance, and you'll be fine. The recipe is long, I know - but I hope it's fairly clear.
Royal Wedding Cake
375 ml sugar
400 ml all-purpose flour
2,5 tsp baking powder
120 ml boiling water
Beat eggs and sugar until pale and very fluffy. Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, and gradually add to the egg mixture along with the boiling water. Carefully stir into a smooth batter.
Butter and flour a 24-cm springform pan, pour in the batter and bake at 175°C for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool completely before dividing into three layers. (Or four, if you want thinner layers.) You'll only use two for the cake, so you can wrap and freeze any remaining layers. (Or just eat them as cake - it's delicious!)
Almond Chocolate Crisp:
100 g milk chocolate
50 g almond praliné
20 g corn flakes, lightly crushed
Melt the chocolate - over a water bath or in the microwave. Add the praliné and the corn flakes. Pour onto a silpat or teflon mat, cover with a second one (or baking paper) and roll out into a thin disc, about the same size as your cake layers. Freeze.
100 g sugar
65 g almonds, blanched and peeled
Lightly toast the almonds, either in the oven or in a dry frying pan. Chop coarsely.
Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan, and heat (on medium heat) until it's starting to melt. Don't stir it! Shake the pan lightly to help the sugar melt evenly, and when it's all turning golden brown, quickly add the almond and stir. Pour onto a silpat or teflon mat, and try to make it as thin as possible. (It's very very hot, so do this by covering with a second silpat or teflon mat, and press with an oven mitt.)
When the caramel has cooled, coarsely chop it and place in a food processor. Run into a very fine powder. This is your finished praliné - keep it in a tight-lidded jar. You'll only use a little of it for the cake, so keep the rest for other things - it's exellent in buttercream or ice cream, for example. (I've also used it for macarons and blondies!)
150 ml strawberry jam
4 gelatine sheets
1 vanilla bean
250 ml full-fat milk
150 ml sugar
4 egg yolks
250 ml full-fat cream (about 40% fat)
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and place along with the bean itself with half the sugar and all of the milk, in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and leave to steep for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar. Add a few spoonfuls of the hot milk and whisk well, to temper the yolks. Scrape all of the yolks into the saucepan and whisk together. Stirring, heat on medium heat until the mixture thickens - do NOT let it boil.
Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water for five minutes.
Pass the vanilla custard through a sieve into a bowl and place in a cold water bath. Stir in the gelatine. Let the mixture cool completely, stirring once in a while.
Beat the cream into soft peaks and fold in the custard. That's your bavaroise, all done!
Use a 24 cm springform pan (without the bottom) to help assemble the cake. First, add one cake layer. Cover with about 1/3 of the bavaroise. Add the strawberry jam and use a spoon to marble the filling. Add the almond chocolate crisp, and cover with the second cake layer. Add half of the remaining bavaroise.
Place in the freezer for at least an hour, and the remaining bavaroise in the fridge.
When it's firmed up, remove the cake pan from around the cake. Use your remaining bavaroise to make the cake nice and even along the sides and slightly rounded on top.
500 g marzipan
white coloring - powdered
light blue coloring - powdered
Color all the marzipan white. Roll out thinly, cover the cake and cut off the remaining marzipan. Color this blue, and cut out a thin strip to go all around the cake, and if you have enough, cut out a little crown. Use a bit of water to stick this on top.
In the stores, this cake is also decorated with some piped icing, a light blue ribbon, and a princess crown. Very cute!
Recipe in Swedish:
Folkets Bröllopstårta, på mitt sätt