It has been said that a wedding cake is the centerpiece of a wedding reception and a Royal wedding is no exception to this rule. In this post I will highlight the spectacular wedding cake of Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s April 29, 2011 wedding.
After the official engagement was announced and in the weeks leading up to the wedding date, ideas for the wedding cake were discussed with the British baker, Fiona Cairns, who had been commissioned to make a tradition fruitcake. The cake would be covered in cream and white icing decorated with approximately 900 flowers made of sugar-paste. The design featured a tall multi-tiered cake inspired by the high ceilings of the site of the wedding reception which would be in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace.
The Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace
Fiona Cairns began the process of making the wedding cake five weeks before the wedding date by starting with the sugar-paste flowers. Catherine had requested 17 different types of flowers and foliage which were chosen for their special meanings in the British tradition of the language of flowers. The national symbols of England (rose), Ireland (shamrock), Scotland (thistle) and Wales (daffodil) were chosen. Sweet William was chosen for the groom and the acorn & oak leaves, which had been used on the Middleton’s new coat of arms, were also selected. Other elements included tradition bridal flowers such as lily of the valley for humility, orange blossom for eternal love, daisy for innocence, myrtle for love and ivy for marriage. Additional floral used were honeysuckle, white heather, lavender, jasmine and apple blossom.
Some of the final touches to the wedding cake were inspired by the architectural details of the Picture Gallery and were reproduced in the sugar paste garlands used on the fourth tier. Other elements included a monogram on the third tier featuring the intertwined initials of the bride and the groom with a coronet. The top tier had a delicate lily of the valley sugar paste arrangement made by the Buckingham Palace pastry chef, Kathryn Boyden, and her staff.
Days before the wedding date, Cairns and her staff moved the various components of the wedding cake to the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace. The layers were positioned on a square table covered with a pale gold tablecloth set on a raised platform. Then, the team put the finishing touches on the cake and the finished product met with the Prince and Catherine’s approval.
Barry Colenso, a master chocolatier, worked with the McVitte Cake Company to create a special cake requested by the groom. The actual recipe came from Buckingham Palace and it was based on a classic Tiffin cake which was Prince William’s favorite as a child. Extra decorations were added in the form of white chocolate flowers, each was created by hand and took over 6 hours to make.