TOP FIVE MISTAKES WHEN MAKING A SWEDISH PRINCESS CAKE
1. I based my cake on a bad recipe. I didn’t realize it, but two of the recipes I originally adapted from were missing a key ingredient: water. As a result, my cake kept coming out dry and overcooked on the edges (note the bottom of this photo).
Though most of the photos in this post show really dark edges and a dry, dense crumb, have no fear; I’ve since fixed my recipe, so yours will be light in color and fluffy in texture. I took a picture with my phone, so that you could see what it should look like:
2. Food Coloring. If you really want to make your marzipan sticky, use regular food coloring. If, however, you want to keep from having a huge mess, use gel colors, such as Wilton’s (available at craft and baking supply stores). They don’t dilute the marzipan and it stays relatively mess free. Plus, you can use them for buttercream and icing.
3. I tried to roll my marzipan at room temperature. It’s much better to roll the marzipan RIGHT after you mix the color in, not later on. The heat from your hands will have made it much more pliable. You can even stand on a step stool to get some more weight behind your rolling pin. (And be sure to do it between two sheets of parchment paper, so it doesn’t stick).
4. I rolled my marzipan too thin. If rolled too thinly, the cake shows through (see below) and it encourages cracking when you try to press it onto the cake. Don’t worry, my recipe has been updated so that you use an extra tube of marzipan, so you don’t make the same mistake I did. (I later went back and doubled up over the too-thin layer, which is always an option if you make the same mistake I did).
5. I thought I could do it right on the first try. No one, not even Doctor Who, could smooth marzipan over a cake of this height without cracks or ripples… especially not on the first try… (Unless you already know how to work with fondant, in which case I’m very jealous). Somewhere I saw a blogger suggest testing out your skills on an inverted bowl. This is a great idea… because, once you get whipped cream on your marzipan, you can’t re-roll it. And marzipan is too expensive to make that mistake with.
Remember, worse case scenario, you could always just drape the marzipan like a rippled curtain. And you can hide the wrinkly seams behind ribbon (as I did) or under some extra flowers – my friend says people put flowers and leaves (and even powdered sugar) all over their cakes in Sweden to hide mistakes.