I love me some princess torte. I first bought it for a friend of mine for his birthday, it was a bit of a joke. Everyone had a good laugh at how pretty the princess torte was when we unveiled it... and then everyone fell in love with it when they tried it. Since then, I've picked this cake up for all sorts of events. It's become my favorite cake.
In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of the half-and-half and whisk until smooth. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the remaining half and half to boiling point.
Slowly whisk the hot cream over the egg yolk/cornstarch mixture to temper the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard. It should take about 5 minutes. It is important to constantly stir to prevent the bottom from curdling or burning. If that happens, take a balloon whisk and whisk vigorously. If you fear your custard curdled too much, remove from the heat and pass it through a fine sieve before proceeding with the recipe. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and pour the custard into a bowl to let it cool. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming while it cools. Let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Dust the inside of the pan with the breadcrumbs and tap out the excess. This is very traditional of Eastern European cakes to line the pan with a coating of fine crumbs. In the older days, it replaced parchment paper, soaked up extra moisture. It also forms a tight crumbs on the outside which makes it easier when you frost the cake after baking. Sift together the flour, potato starch, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed until the whites are shiny and form stiff peaks but are still smooth, not lumpy. Sprinkle in about one-quarter of the sugar, then add 1 egg yolk and beat for about 10 seconds. Repeat the process 3 more times. Beat a couple more minutes, until the mixture forms a ribbon.
Gently fold in the flour mixture in 4 additions, taking your spatula from the bottom of the bowl, up the side and over the batter. Pour the batter into the pan, and set it on baking sheet. Rap the sheet a couple of times on the counter top to smooth the top of you cake.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake to release it from the pan, if necessary. Release the cake from the spring form pan, cover the cake with a plate or another wire rack and invert. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper. Cover the cake with another wire rack and invert again. Let it cool completely before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
Break the marzipan into small pieces into a medium bowl and knead with your hands. Your natural body heat will help smooth it out and add in the coloring. Add 3 or 4 drops of green food coloring and knead it into the marzipan to get a pale shade of green. You can add a couple more drops of the coloring but do so carefully. The final shade should be pastel and not neon green. Dust your work surface with powdered sugar. Shape the marzipan into a 6-inch disk, coat both sides lightly with sugar. Roll the marzipan to a circle about 16 inches in diameter and less than 1/8 inch thick. Don't be afraid to add more powdered sugar to your work surface as you roll to prevent it from sticking. You can also roll the marzipan between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper if they are wide enough. I had a lot of extra so adjust the diameter according to the size and height of your cake.
Cut the cake into 3 equal layers, set aside.
In a mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until thick and firm. Transfer one-third of the cream to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Remove the chilled custard from the refrigerator and give it a vigorous whisk as it will be thick after cooling. Make sure it is smooth and creamy before proceeding. Fold the portion of the whipped cream that you did not refrigerate into the custard until smooth.
Since the cake is not easily moveable once completed (heavy and moist), set the bottom cake layer, cut side up, onto platter and arrange 4 strips of parchment paper under the edges cake to keep your plate clean as you assemble it.
Spread the raspberry jam onto the cake, and then spread half the custard cream mixture evenly over the jam. Invert the top cake layer onto the custard cream, cut side up. Spread the remaining custard cream over the layer and top with the remaining cake layer. Spread about one-quarter of the refrigerated whipped cream in a very thin layer around the sides of the cake. Evenly spread the remaining cream onto the top of the cake with an offset spatula. Remove the paper strips from underneath the cake and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to an hour. It does help with firming the creams again before applying the marzipan so it does not mush it down. You can also freeze it for an hour.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and gently set the marzipan on top of the cake so that it drapes over the cake. Press it gently so it adheres to the sides of the cake, covering it completely. With a sharp knife, trim away the excess marzipan so that the edges. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
The cake pictured above is from Hoffman's in Kirkland, WA.
Copyright © 2009, Don Kim