Cherry-Blossom Princess Cake
The traditional princess cake, an old Swedish wedding standby, is normally covered in green marzipan. In our decidedly floral interpretation of the confection, we cloaked the dome-shaped cake in pink fondant and topped it with a smattering of real cherry blossoms, some of which have been coated with sugar. Inside, luscious layers of almond-flavored genoise, cherry jam (a nod to the sakura theme), pastry cream, and whipped cream in -- what else? -- pink await guests. If you're having a sizable wedding, consider serving a trio of cakes on stands of varying heights for an especially striking display.
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
- 6 tablespoons almond flour, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream (preferably 40% fat)
- Rose-pink food coloring
- Simple Syrup
- 1/4 cup kirsch (cherry brandy)
- 1/2 cup cherry preserves
- Pastry Cream
- 1 pound fondant, tinted pale pink
- Cherry blossoms, plain and sugared, for decoration
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat two 12 1/2-by-17 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray; line with parchment, and spray again. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, almond flour, and salt; set aside.
Heat eggs, yolks, and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water; whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 2 minutes. Attach bowl to mixer; whisk on medium speed for 2 minutes. Raise speed to high, and beat until pale and thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from mixer, and sift flour mixture over eggs. Gently fold in using a rubber spatula. When almost incorporated, slowly add melted butter in a steady stream, and continue to fold until completely incorporated.
Divide batter evenly between prepared baking sheets, and bake until cakes are golden brown and springy to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire rack and let cakes cool completely.
Run knife around sides of cooled cakes and flip over, removing parchment. Using an 8-by-3-inch cake ring, cut out four circles; choose the three thickest ones (reserve the fourth for another use).
To assemble, sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons cream in a small bowl. Let soften for 3 minutes. Bring 1/4 cup cream to a boil in a small pan, and pour over gelatin; let sit 30 seconds. Whisk to dissolve gelatin; then add to remaining cream; add drops of food coloring to tint pale pink. Transfer cream to a cold bowl, and whisk until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix simple syrup and kirsch.
Place the cake ring on a same-size cardboard circle. Set first layer of cake inside ring; brush with kirsch syrup. Using an offset spatula, spread preserves in a thin layer over entire cake. Cover with 1/2 cup whipped cream. Top with second layer of cake, brush with syrup, and cover with pastry cream. Place last cake layer on top, pressing down gently; brush with syrup. Fill ring to the top with whipped cream; smooth the top. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Roll out fondant to 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick. Place over cake, smooth around sides (this will make a dome), and trim bottom edges with a pizza cutter. Refrigerate up to 1 hour, until ready to serve. When ready to serve, decorate with cherry blossoms.