Swedish Princess Cake

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First challenge of 2018.  Happy New Year. Bake more. Complain less.
INGREDIENTS

Vanilla Custard
cups whole milk
vanilla beans, split with seeds scraped out
egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup 1 tablespoon cornstarch
tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Sponge Cake, Fillings, & Decorations
eggs
3/4 cup sugar  + 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3/4 cup all purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
teaspoon almond extract
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
tablespoons jam
pound marzipan
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Red food coloring (gel, not liquid)
Green food coloring (gel, not liquid)
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
ounces bittersweet chocolate
tablespoons sugar

DIRECTIONS
For the Custard: In a pot over medium heat, heat the milk with the vanilla beans and seeds just until it starts to simmer. Turn off the heat and let it sit. Mix egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Remove vanilla pods from milk and slowly pour milk into bowl, stirring constantly. Return to the pot and whisk 4 to 5 minutes, until very thick. Add butter and stir until melted. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight.

Make the Fondant Rose: Make the fondant by microwaving the marshmallows until melted (15-20 seconds). Stir in the powdered sugar and knead for a few minutes on a clean surface, adding more powdered sugar if it sticks, adding a few drops of water if it’s too dry, until smooth and pliable. Knead in red food coloring drop by drop until you have your desired shade of pink. Dust two small pieces of parchment or waxed paper with powdered sugar and one by one, place the balls of fondant between the sheets of greaseproof paper and flatten each ball out with your fingers, to a thin circle, approximately 2 cm/1 in in diameter, to form the petals. Roll the first petal up to form a center bud and wrap the remaining petals around the bud to make a rose. Leave to dry at room temperature for at least an hour.

For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 175 °C. Butter or spray a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment circle, then butter or spray that as well. In the bowl of a KitchenAid or electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until very thick, pale, and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add almond extract. Sift flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder over bowl (or sift into a separate bowl first) and fold in with a spatula. Fold in the melted butter and stir just to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

When the cake is completely cool, use a serrated knife to carefully slice it into three even layers. Divide the jam evenly between the first two layers, spreading a thin layer over the top. Next, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to the whipped cream and beat until it holds stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the pastry cream, reserving the other half. Evenly divide the pastry-whipped cream mixture between the first two layers, spreading it carefully over the thin jam layer.

Stack the two first layers, then top with the remaining cake slice. Set aside one cup of the reserved whipped cream, then use a rubber spatula to shape the remaining whipped cream into a dome shape on top of the cake, then set the whole thing into the fridge for an hour to set.

While the cake is chilling, make the green marzipan exterior. On a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, knead the marzipan until it’s pliable. Add two dots of green gel food coloring and knead until the color is uniform. If you like, add another dot or two of food coloring until it reaches a light lime color. Place the marzipan between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into a 16-inch diameter circle, large enough to generously cover the cake.

Take the cake out of the fridge and gently drape the marzipan over the whipped cream dome. Shape and smooth the marzipan around the cake to get a clean appearance. Trim the edges and tuck them neatly under the cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip with the reserved cup of whipped cream, and pipe a row of stars around the edge of the cake to hide any imperfections.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in 10-second increments). Make a skinny-tipped cone with parchment paper and fill it with the melted chocolate, then snip off the tip to create a makeshift pastry bag. Carefully pipe the chocolate over the top of the cake in a swirl or curlicue. Top with the pink rose in the center.

Thanks for the recipe Food52.

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