All eyes were on Meghan Markle’s Givenchy wedding gown on May 19, 2018. In a broadcast that reached more then 29 million viewers around the world, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged vows in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Duchess and Prince Harry were thrilled to continue celebrating their nuptials after all the royal excitement surrounding their wedding day. A lavish, star-studded reception featured one unexpectedly talked about element: their royal, lemon-and-elderflower-flavored royal cake.
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The wedding cake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was not only beautiful, but it also broke with tradition in unique ways that were personal to them. Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Cakes East London, created the royal cake. It was a subtle nod to the royal family, just like everything else about Harry’s and Meghan’s wedding. Find out six fun facts about this tradition-breaking dessert and learn why they chose fruit cake instead for their wedding.
1. Claire Ptak was a friend of Meghan’s for many years before the wedding.
Meghan Markle started a blog called The Tig long before she became the Duchess and Prince Harry. She interviewed Priyanka Chopra and Serena Williams, as well female entrepreneurs such as Claire Ptak, a pastry chef. She is now a California native and runs Violet Cakes bakery-cafe in East London. She also works as a food stylist, food writer and prop stylist. Markle was most interested in Ptak’s commitment to organic ingredients and low-intervention baking.
2. The elderflower flavor was a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.
While traditional royal wedding cakes were fruit cakes, which are a simple batter with dried fruits and nuts mixed with juice or liquor, Meghan Markle’s and Prince Harry’s wedding cake took a different approach. Ptak was commissioned by the couple to design a lighter, more modern cake that would still be delicious. They settled on an elderflower and lemon flavor for their royal wedding cake.
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Ptak used 200 Amalfi Lemons, 500 Suffolk Organic Eggs, tons of butter, flour and sugar to create the fragrant, fresh batter. Ptak also included 10 bottles Sandringham Elderflower Cordial. This ingredient is a direct tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, since the liqueur is fermented elderflowers from one of her private residences. Both the lemon elderflower cake and the swiss buttercream frosting were made with elderflower cordial.
3. Although the cake was beautiful from all angles, it was small in size.
Ptak made a more modest royal wedding cake than the ones that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had previously used. This was a subtle way Meghan Markle and Prince Harry broke with tradition. The three-tiered wedding cake consisted of a single-tier and two double-tier cakes. Each was laden with 150 fresh flowers, mostly British roses and peonies. Prince William and Kate Middleton, on the other hand, had eight tiers and was three feet tall. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married with a five foot-tall cake. Queen Elizabeth’s wedding cake was nine feet high. Prince Philipp and Prince William also had a nine-foot tall cake. Prince William chose to have a groom’s cake made from chocolate biscuits, while Prince Harry did not choose to have one.
4. The cake cost was higher than what most weddings cost.
It’s not surprising that royal wedding cakes are expensive because they contain high-end ingredients. The numbers are still staggering. Experts estimate that the entire cake cost was approximately $70,000. This is what many would consider to be a large budget for a wedding. Oprah Winfrey and James Corden were among the guests at the royal wedding of the Duke & Duchess. Therefore, everything had to be impeccable.
5. The cakes displayed on the table were not eaten by guests.
The beautiful lemon elderflower cakes were displayed with great pomp, but no one actually ate any of them. Ptak explained to Town & Country, that she and her team had created several other tiers, which were just sliced in their backs, and that those were the tiers Meghan and Harry enjoyed at the reception. She said that there were 750 people to serve, and it would take too much time to cut them all. “The cakes that were displayed were donated to charity the next day.”
6. The cake was almost a disaster on the morning before the royal wedding.
One of the most surprising facts about the cake was the fact that it almost couldn’t have been served. Ptak, along with her team, narrowly avoided a disastrous blunder that could’ve completely destroyed the cake. Ptak, the pastry chef, had to make several tiers just for cutting to be able to feed the 750 guests at her reception. She asked her team to slice the slices while they were cold and let them rest for a few minutes to get to room temperature. She said that there had been a mistake and the slices were put back in the fridge. The result was hundreds upon hundreds of pieces of ice-cold cakes.