Not one but two wedding cakes are to be served to those lucky enough to be invited to the UK royal wedding later this month. However, it appears that plans for a third cake, meant for the general British public, have been abandoned.
Prince William has requested a chocolate biscuit cake – a favourite teatime treat of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, that he remembers with fondness from his childhood – to sit alongside the more traditional fruit cake favoured by his fiancée, Kate Middleton, at their forthcoming wedding.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the cake is “the ‘modern, accessible monarchy’ in recipe form [requiring] a whack of chocolate [for] an easy-make, no-bake sweet that’s long been popular with home bakers in the United Kingdom”.
Although there are variations to the recipe, a chocolate biscuit cake – basically the British version of a North American cookies-and-cream fridge cake – is made by melting chocolate together with some butter and cream, mixing it into broken-up plain biscuits (cookies), then placing the whole mixture into a fridge until firm.
The recipe – which has been supplied to the British biscuit maker McVitie’s by Buckingham Palace – originates from Darren McGrady, who was once the personal chef to Prince William’s mother, the late Princess Diana. McVitie’s will use a mixture of their Digestive and Rich Tea biscuits for the groom’s cake, which Time reckons will make “Kate’s traditional fruitcake sound rather boring”, adding: “There will be plenty pomp and circumstance present at the ceremony – we’re pleased the prince went with comfort food instead.”
McGrady told International Business Times: “I was thrilled to learn that Prince William had chosen the Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe from my book Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen [. . .] it is also his grandmother’s favorite cake, I used to prepare it for both of them when they had tea together. The Queen would request the cake in the menu book for Sunday tea when she knew her grandson William would be joining her from Eton.”
Camilla Schneideman, Managing Director at London's Leiths School of Food and Wine, told the Denver Post: “I think it’s a bit of fun, really [. . .] nice that this generation of the royal family has expressed their personalities [. . .] He’s having a bit of fun with it.”
“Let them eat cake!”
Meanwhile, a report published on Pink Triangle this morning claims that a third cake – which was intended to be distributed among the general British public – has been scrapped by the Con-Dem coalition government, as part of its comprehensive spending review.
Pink Triangle says, “The massive confection has been baked at a secret location in Scotland, and the intention was to mail out a minute portion of it to every citizen in the UK [but] the government has scrapped plans to distribute the cake, which would have cost an estimated £40 million.”
According to the report, the cake is now to be buried at a landfill site in England, and it likens the decision to the one earlier this year concerning the scrapping of four brand-new Nimrod R1 spy planes ordered to be dismantled as part of the cuts programme, despite having never gone into service.
Pink Triangle (PT) quotes from a number of people and pressure groups – including religionists, anti-cuts protesters, bakers/confectioners and politicians – angered by the latest decision, as follows:
The Rev. Jonah Wales of Traditional Marriage Matters tells Pink Triangle that “the wedding cake has huge significance for traditional marriage and to put it into landfill would be tantamount to blasphemy [. . .] an insult to traditional marriage and all that it stands for. We will be fighting for the cake to be cut up as planned and sold on eBay, so that people all over the UK – even the world – have a chance to partake in the wedding of the century.”
Jonathan Couper of NoMoreCutsUK says: “While we’re suffering welfare cuts and cuts in the defence of our country, this government can afford to throw millions of pounds at producing something as trivial as a wedding cake, and then scrap the idea. It shouldn’t have been baked in the first place, but at least the government ought to sell it off in some way.”
Mary Croquembouche, president of the Celebratory Cake Bakers’ Association, tells PT, “This would have been a boost to our members at a time when many of them are struggling to keep their businesses afloat during these austere times.”
A former UK parliamentary candidate, Angela Battenberg, adds: “We hear all the time the government going on about how we’re ‘all in this together’, but the great and the good will be getting cake at the wedding, something the rest of us will be denied.
“Even Marie Antoinette was in favour of the poor eating cake [but] not this mean-spirited coalition government, it seems.”
William’s royal wedding cake takes the biscuit
Ordinary members of the public wishing to take part in the royal wedding celebrations at home will, it seems, have to make their own cakes.
So, if it's a traditional fruit cake that takes your fancy, go to Delia Online, where Delia Smith has some good sound advice.
If, however, like Prince William, you prefer the easier and chocolate-y option, how about trying Roly's Bistro Version Chocolate Biscuit Cake, courtesy of the Daily Spud.