The Duchess Bake Shop is a delicious bakery located in downtown Edmonton, and it wasn’t until recently we discovered they offer several baking classes throughout the year. You can learn from the bakers themselves on how to make anything they sell in their bakery, from macaroons, puffed pastries, cakes, and their seasonal favourites. We looked at all the classes and decided to sign up for the Duchess Cake class since neither one of us specializes in cakes, and with so many layers involved followed by a marzipan topping we were excited to broaden our baking skills.

Upon arrival to our class we were greeted with a warm welcome by Tricia (our baking instructor for the day), as we were told to grab a seat and make ourselves comfortable while we waited for everyone to arrive. Each station was equipped with the recipe, a Duchess apron, a blender to share, and a rotating cake stand. Before we started baking we learned that the Duchess Cake is a traditional Swedish cake called “prinsesstårta,” and while it is customarily green in colour, the marzipan can be dyed any colour.

We learned that this class is the “build-a-bear” of classes because the process to make this cake couldn’t be done in the three hours alloted. So we each grabbed our pre-made chiffon cake from the rack and placed it on our rotating cake stand where we cut it in half as evenly as we could, then placed it down open-faced and layered it with our first set of ingredients; sugar water, raspberry jam, and a thick vanilla custard, before covering it and placing in the freezer to solidify. It was after this step we then made our own chiffon cake batter for future use (or as recommended by Tricia, to crumble up and eat on it’s own if we had a midnight craving). The next step involved taking our (now solid) cake out of the freezer and trimming the edge to create a dome shape, and using a waving motion to smoothen the layer of whipped cream evenly over the chiffon. The next step was our favourite… the making off the marzipan rose. With a little bit of yellow dye we moulded and rolled the marzipan out until it was about 1cm thick and used an” icing tip” to create about 8 little circles. We then rolled out each circle to create an oval shape and overlapped each pedal over the next to create a beautiful rose. The final step was the green marzipan topping, which similar to the rose, was rolled out until it was about 1-2cm thick. The key to rolling out the marzipan was to pick it up like a blanket with both hands so it wouldn’t rip, and finding the centre of the cake and placing it directly over with a little bit of hang on each side. We trimmed any excess off with a pizza cuter before we started to smooth our cake into a masterpiece, lastly inserting the rose in the centre to complete the look.

The complements we got on the appearance and taste of this cake were as gratifying as the course itself. So with no surprise we will be attending another class in the near future, we’re thinking macaroons so stay tuned!