The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will feature a sweet surprise. The three-part layered lemon and elderflower cake that has been created for the high-profile affair will be unlike any cake ever presented at a royal wedding before and it will be presented in a non-traditional way, says master baker Claire Ptak.
According to the New Yorker, Ptak, the owner of East London’s trendy Violet Cakes, was handpicked by Meghan and Prince Harry to create a wedding masterpiece “that will incorporate the bright flavors of spring.” The couple previously approved the cake’s top secret design.
The ingredient list includes 200 Amalfi lemons, 500 organic eggs from Suffolk, English elderflower, and 10 bottles of Sandringham elderflower cordial, which is made with elderflower from Queen Elizabeth II’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. The best part? The non-traditional, three-part wedding cake won’t feature any marzipan.
The cake is a stark departure from the traditional fruit cake that is usually served at royal weddings. According to Food and Wine, fruitcake has been a staple at royal weddings for centuries, in no small part due to the fact that the dried-fruit cakes don’t need to be preserved and could be prepared well ahead of time back in the day. Fruitcake also once symbolized “wealth and prosperity” because it required hard to get ingredients like dried fruit and alcohol.
In more recent history, slices of the fruitcakes from the weddings of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Prince William and Kate Middleton have been put up for auction well after the weddings took place—because the cakes stay “fresh” for years.
Not only will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake buck the fruitcake tradition, but its non-traditional presentation will set it apart even more. Claire Ptak revealed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s culinary centerpiece will be presented in a special installation when it makes its debut at the royal wedding luncheon at Windsor Castle.
The layered lemon cake will consist of three parts in varying sizes, with one of the tiers featuring several layers of lemon sponge drizzled with elderflower syrup and separated by an Amalfi-lemon curd, but the final design won’t be revealed until the royal wedding day.
“You’ll have to wait and see on the day,” Ptak teased, according to Sky News. “It’s an installation of the way that we’re putting it out. It’s the last thing that we’ll reveal. It’s a non-traditional layout. It’s a slight shift from tradition.”
The baker described the flavor of the cake as a balance of sweet and tart, accented with an “ethereal” elderflower.
An elderflower Swiss spring buttercream will literally be the icing on the cake. Harry and Meghan Markle’s cake won’t look anything like the cakes from royal weddings past. Besides the fact that it’s not a fruitcake, Ptak doesn’t decorate her cakes with royal icing or sugar paste but instead uses soft Swiss frosting and fresh flowers.
“It’s a buttercream that is very light and fluffy, kind of satiny,” Ptak said. “Super delicious. So the texture is really lovely and the flavor is quintessentially spring and British.”
Ptak has been working in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace all week on the separate parts of the cake, which will be transported to Windsor Castle and then assembled in situ on Saturday morning. Decorative flowers will be added just before serving.
In March, Kensington Palace announced that California-raised Claire Ptak would be making the royal wedding cake using seasonal and organic ingredients. The palace also dished that Meghan Markle previously interviewed Chef Ptak for her former lifestyle website The Tig.
As for Ptak, it turns out wedding cakes are her forte. Last year, the pastry chef posted to Instagram to express her love for creating wedding cakes.
“Wedding cakes are where I started and I love that I am now going back to them again after many years turning them down,” she wrote. ” They are so fun to make (albeit stressful) and there is nothing like assembling them in situ and the wonderful reactions that you receive from onlookers.”
There’s no doubt this royal wedding cake will get plenty of reaction.