Walking into Berglunds Bageri you are met with cheer and smiles from the bakers in the large window to the girls helping at the register. Families gather at the entrance as some order sandwiches for picnics in the warm, summer sun while others blissfully take pleasure in the fresh, organic baked goods. The smells of kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns), freshly ground coffee, and warm bread waft through the air. This is our third visit to the bakery this week. By now the friendly staff knows us well and greets us with a jolly "Hej Hej!" The energy of the owners, Marianne and Helge, creates a culture in which " it doesn't even feel like work" according to the cheerful girls Josefine, Evaline, Victoria, Toja, and Maja. I would liken the feeling of being at Berglunds Bageri to a feeling of being in the midst of a summer Christmas. No matter your age, your spirit feels young and merry!
After meeting Josefine, we knew that we couldn't leave Sweden without documenting one of her recipes. Josefine is famous around town for the heavenly flavors and artistic design of her gorgeous cakes. We arrive today to find out we will be experiencing Prinsesstårta or the Swedish Princess cake!! The cake is requested throughout the year for birthdays, name days, and celebrations but it is especially requested during Prinsesstårtans Vecka or Princess Cake week. During the last full week of September, 10 SEK (about $1.50) is donated to the Crown Princess Victoria's Fund for each cake sold and during this week sales more than double!! In the 1948 recipe book that was published by the royal princesses, the cake was originally named Grön tårta or green cake which explains the Prinsesstårta's color. The princesses were extremely fond of this cake and the name became Prinsesstårta shortly thereafter. Today everyone in Sweden, royalty or not, knows about and enjoys Princesstårta.
Josefine begins the recipe for the layered sponge cake by cracking the eggs on the edge of the bowl. As she adds the flour and sugar to the mix, she begins to narrate her story as a baker. Josefine always loved to bake; she baked everyone's cakes for their birthdays and to celebrate special events for her family members and close friends. According to her sister; she would make the most elaborate cakes that would stun everyone not only with their artsy personal touches, but with their lip-smacking tastes! After graduating from high school, she decided to follow her passion in baking and chose to attend culinary school. Josefine's first opportunity as a baker struck when she found a job at the local grocery store bakery. Although Josefine was now baking, baking for a supermarket did not challenge her or allow her to be imaginative. One morning, while reading the newspaper, Josefine stumbled upon an ad looking for a baker at a well known, organic bakery...Berglunds Bageri! She was so incredibly happy when she landed the job at Berglunds Bageri, because it gave her that opportunity to be creative. Marianne, Helge, and Gustaf (their head baker and son) inspire and encourage Josefine to trust her artistic talent and to be courageous in her baking just as she did when she was younger.
We watch as Josefine smears on the vanilla custard, glazes on a layer of Marianne's raspberry jam, and adds cloud upon cloud of heavenly whipped cream to blanket the layers of light, fluffy sponge cake..the effect is mouth-watering.
I am eager to take a bite of what I think is the finished cake! Would a Prinsesstårta be a simple layered cake or would it need to have a Royal finish?
Josefine hears my belly gargle and sees my eyes light up so she tells me to wait as she brings out the marzipan. Just as easily as she makes dough and spreads on the layers, she envelopes the marzipan around the freshly creamed layers of cake with precision. She then trims the excess marzipan away for our Prinsesstorta heart! She delicately molds the ribboned marzipan into a flower and carves the almond paste leaves into life-like creations. Watching Josefine work on her art is soothing and peaceful. I feel like I am in a dream.
In the back of the bakery there is a private room with a kitchen table for the staff to eat lunch. Marianne had the intention of making the day special, not just for Josefine and us, but for the entire staff. Before lunch, Josefine grabs the final ingredient of chocolate icing to sign the cake. Upon finishing her inscription, she smirks, looks up, and angles the cake to show us what she has written. We will always remember our day with Prinsessa Josefine and our perfect heart shaped Princesstårta, Made with Love.
Join The Recipe Hunters on their next adventure with Lillemor making traditional Swedish Tunnbröd.