Will & Kate’s Wedding Cake Recipe

It’s wedding week, and time for our Thursday recipe. Any guesses what we might be sharing with you today? While the best man’s speech, the throwing of the bouquet and the inebriated uncle are all great, there’s one tradition that trumps the lot for us… the cake! And we feel we’ve outdone ourselves somewhat this week, by digging out THE recipe for Will & Kate’s wedding cake last year. It’s from the fantastic Phatfoodie blog, which is well worth a peruse, especially if hungry!

Will & Kate’s Royal Wedding Cake Recipe

Vintage Glamour Wedding Cake

served at Prince William’s and Princess Catherine’s Royal Wedding Reception, April 29, 2011

A Note From Pastry Chef Fiona Cairns:

A beautiful three-tiered timeless classic, this could take center stage at any wedding feast. It can be baked and decorated at least a month in advance and there are no colors to mix as the entire scheme is in ivory fondant with highlights of gold (you could also make this cake in white and gold.) If you break down each stage, giving yourself plenty of time, you may find it easier than you think.

Serves about 120-150 people

Ingredients for the Cake: One 6-inch square (3-inch deep) square cake pan

One 8-inch square (3-inch deep) square cake pan

One 10-inch square (3-inch deep) square cake pan

Double the recipe for Rich Tamarind Fruit Cake batter (recipe below)

6 tablespoons brandy, plus more to feed the cake

1 cup apricot jam, gently warmed and pushed through a sieve

6 3/4 pounds marzipan

confectioners’ sugar, for rolling

Sizes for Cake Boards and Drums:

One 8-inch square thin board

One 10-inch square thin board

One 12-inch square thin board

One 6-inch square (1/2-inch thick) cake drum

One 8-inch square (1/2-inch thick) cake drum

One 10-inch square (1/2-inch thick) cake drum

Preparing the Rich Tamarind Fruit Cake:

Single cake makes 25-30 slices

A Note from Fiona Cairns About the Recipe:

I started my business using this particularly moist, dark recipe as a Christmas cake, producing hundreds of miniatures cooked in baked bean cans from my kitchen table. It has been tweaked by adding tamarind — my husband’s bright idea. Make it up to three months in advance, or at least a week before you want it, to let it mature and absorb the brandy.

Ingredients for the Fruit Cake:

1 1/2 cups candied cherries

2 cups golden raisins

2 cups dark raisins, preferably Thompson

1 1/4 cups mixed candied citrus peel

2/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1/2 cup dried currants

3 tablespoons molasses

3 tablespoons bitter orange marmalade

1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate

finely grated zest of 1 organic orange

finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon

1 heaped tablespoon apple pie spice

6 tablespoons brandy, plus 3 tablespoons to feed the cake

1 cup walnuts

1/3 cup blanched almonds

1 1/4 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups almond flour

5 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preparing the Fruit Cake Batter:

The day before, rinse the cherries, then dry them well with paper towels and cut each in half. Place the golden and dark raisins, mixed peel, ginger, currants, cherries, molasses, marmalade, tamarind paste, zests and spice into a large bowl. Pour in 6 tablespoons of brandy, stir well, cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with brown paper and tie with string, to protect the cake from scorching in the oven.

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven, shaking once. Cool slightly, chop coarsely and set aside.

Combining the Fruit Cake Ingredients

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. In an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes until it turns pale and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, then very gradually the eggs, mixing well between each addition. Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon and then the soaked fruits (and any liquid) and nuts.

Spread the batter into the pan. Bake on an oven rack in the lower third of the oven for about 2 1/2-3 hours. If a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, it is ready. If it browns too much before it is fully cooked, make a circle of foil a bit larger than the cake, pierce a hole in the center and open it up, then place it over the pan.

Let cool in the pan. Pierce all over with a wooden toothpick and evenly sprinkle over the remaining 3 tablespoons brandy. Remove from the pan and discard the paper. Wrap in fresh parchment paper, then aluminum foil, and let stand for a week or up to three months. Unwrap and sprinkle with with 1 tablespoon more brandy every other week, if you like, for extra succulence and booziness!

Preparing the Wedding Cake Boards and Pans:

Thin cake boards are used only while you are assembling the cakes, and really serve to save your work surfaces. You can use any board you have, even plywood. Thick cake drums are used to support each tier of the finished cake, so must be bought for this purpose.

Prepare the cake pans and batter (see above). Divide the batter between the pans, filling each to the same depth. The smallest cake will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes, the medium 2 1/2-3 hours and the largest about 3 hours: if a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, it is ready. Let cool in the pans. When cooled, pierce all over with a fine wooden skewer and sprinkle with the brandy. Wrap in fresh parchment paper, then aluminum foil, until ready to use. You can continue to feed the cakes with 1-2 tablespoons brandy every other week, for a month or two.

Using Marzipan for the Cakes:

Take the 8-inch thin board and place the 6-inch drum on it. Brush 1 tablespoon apricot jam into the center, then place the 6-inch cake on top, upside down so the flat bottom forms the surface. If it is slightly smaller than the drum, make a strip of marzipan as wide as the side of the cake and the same circumference, and stick it to the edge. Similarly, all cakes should be the same height. If not, apply an extra-thin marzipan layer to the top of the shallow cake (use the pan as a guide). Repeat for the other cakes, placing the 8-inch cake on the same-size drum and 10-inch board, and the 10-inch cake on the same-size drum and 12-inch board.

Brush the 6-inch cake with jam. Knead 1 3/4 pounds of marzipan until pliable. Sprinkle a work surface and rolling pin with confectioners’ sugar, and roll out into a rough square slightly larger than the top and sides of the cake and drum and about 1/4-inch thick. Lift on to the cake and drum, smooth all over and cut away any excess. Cover the other two cakes, using 2 1/4 pounds marzipan each. Leave overnight to firm up.

Assembling the Wedding Cake:

Items Needed for Cake Construction:

12-inch square (1/2-inch thick) cake drum and eight wooden dowels

Ingredients for Covering the Cake:

Confectioners sugar, for rolling

9 pounds ivory fondant

2 tablespoons brandy or boiled water

2/3 cup royal icing in a parchment paper cone

Preparing the Base Drum:

Dust the 12-inch drum with confectioners sugar and sprinkle with a small amount of water. Knead 2 1/4 pounds of the fondant until pliable, then sprinkle a work surface and rolling pin with confectioners sugar and roll it into a rough square slightly larger than the top of the drum and about 1/8-inch thick. Wrap it loosely around the rolling pin and lift on to the drum. Smooth with your hands and trim away any excess. Replace the excess in a plastic bag and seal. Let dry overnight.

Preparing the Icing Cover for the Cake:

The 6-inch cake will need about 1 3/4 pounds of fondant, and the two larger cakes about 2 1/4 pounds each. Work on just one cake at a time.

For each cake, brush brandy all over the marzipan. This helps the fondant to stick and is an antiseptic. Lightly dust a clean surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the fondant into a rough square about 1/4-inch thick and slightly larger than the diameter of the cakes, their sides, and the drums.

Lift the fondant with your hands, place it over the cake and gently smooth, covering the cake and drum. Do not stretch, and work as quickly as you can, before it dries. Cut away any excess, provided it is still clean, and seal in a plastic bag. Let the three cakes stand overnight.

Building the Cake:

Spread 1-2 tablespoons royal icing into the center of the base drum. Gently ease away the largest cake and drum from its board using an icing spatula and place it exactly in the middle of the base drum.

Now insert four dowels into the large cake, spacing them to form the corners of a square just within where the 8-inch cake will sit. Push down each stick until it hits the drum, and mark with a pen about 1/8-inch above the surface. Remove each stick, score with a knife at the mark, snap (or saw) and discard the excess. Replace each in its hole.

Spread a spoonful of royal icing into the center of the largest cake, remove the 8-inch cake and drum from its thin board and center on top of the larger cake, resting the drum on the hidden dowels. Repeat the dowel placing process with this middle tier to add the top cake, again using a spoonful of royal icing to keep it steady.

Preparing the Decorations for the Cake

Ingredients for the Adornments:

Confectioners sugar, for rolling

Set of 3 blossom plunger cutters (1/4-inch, 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch)

1 1/4-inch butterfly cutter

2 tablespoons royal icing in a parchment paper cone

100 small gold dragees in 2 sizes (optional); I used 50 medium and 50 small gold dragees

1 small paint brush

1 large egg white, lightly beaten (or 2 teaspoons dried egg white mixed with water until frothy)

Edible gold glitter

Two small artificial ivory or white doves (or other birds)

For the Top Tier: 2 feet long, 1 1/2-inch wide vintage gold ribbon

For the Middle Tier: Cream organza about 1 yard long, 1 1/2-inch wide and gold ribbon 6 1/4 feet long and 1/4-inch wide.

For the Bottom Tier: Gold bejewelled ribbon about 4 feet long and 2 1/2-inch wide.

For the Base Drum: One roll double-sided sticky tape and ivory ribbon about 4 1/2 feet long, 1/2-inch wide.

Instructions for Making Butterflies and Blossoms:

You will need about 12-15 butterflies and about 100 blossoms in three sizes (I made 25 tiny 1/4-inch blossoms, 25 medium 1/2-inch blossoms and 50 large 5/8-inch blossoms).

The decorations are applied randomly, so this is just a guide. Knead some of the fondant left over from covering the cakes and drums until pliable, and roll out thinly (no more than 1/8-inch thick) on a board sprinkled with a little confectioners’ sugar. Stamp out the blossoms and butterflies and allow to dry for a few hours, preferably overnight. I lay them out as I make them in boxes interleaved with parchment paper. Prop up the butterflies’ wings between two sticks (you could use spare dowels), so the wings will dry as if in flight.

If you like, pipe the centers of the blossoms with a tiny dot of royal icing and then press on a gold dragee. If you prefer, just pipe a dot for the centers. Once the butterflies are dry, paint the edges of the wings with egg white and dip into the glitter.

To finish the cake, apply the ribbons by sticking them at the back of each cake using a little royal icing. On the middle tier, overlay the wide organza ribbon with two bands of narrow gold ribbon. Wrap the base drum with the double-sided sticky tape, then stick on its ribbon.

Casual, informal designs do have one huge advantage: any blemishes or marks in the icing can be covered by a decoration! Randomly apply the butterflies and little blossoms all over the three-tiered cake, sticking on with the royal icing. As a final touch, place the two doves in the center of the top tier.


Stephen Colbert does his best British impersonation in Tea & Sympathy

Our humble little teashop received a lot of attention in the weeks leading up to the Royal wedding. Not a day went by without a line of journalists waiting eagerly to take photos, ask questions, or film features on cake baking, tea drinking, and all manner of other apparently British pursuits.

One of our favorite pieces to result from this was Stephen Colbert’s exceptionally funny piece on British etiquette. He brought along British historian and Royal biographer Hugo Vickers in a bid to refine his upper crust credentials. Unfortunately, we don’t think poor Mr Vickers knew what he was letting himself in for as Colbert’s merciless humor was soon on full display. This clip of his British impersonation had us in stitches!

You can view the rest of the feature on The Colbert Report website.

NY Daily News

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding boosts business for souvenir shops

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding has been great for business.… (Tim Hales/AP)

Anglophiles are scarfing up royal wedding garb in Manhattan like cucumber sandwiches at high tea.

Shops that cater to New York City’s royal watchers are either completely out of Prince William and Kate Middleton souvenirs or down to their last few items.

“People were a lot more into it than we thought. Americans, too,” said an employee at Tea and Sympathy, a restaurant and store on the strip of Greenwich Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts. known as Little Britain.

“Rightly so, I suppose,” the worker said. “It’s the future king and queen of England.”

Tea and Sympathy ran out of teapots and large mugs emblazoned with the royal couple’s faces. All that are left are a few plates and teacups.

Mxyplyzyk, a specialty store across the street, is sold out of waving Queen Elizabeth figurines.

Working Class, a boutique on Duane St., had just one Prince William and Kate Middleton plate left, which it refuses to sell.

The royal wedding takes place Friday. Millions of people around the world are expected to tune in for the live broadcast of the nuptials.

Lyon Bouchon Moderne, a restaurant a few doors from Tea and Sympathy, is hosting a wedding watching party starting at 6 a.m., with traditional British food and drinks.

BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat

BBC Radio 1 is the most listened to radio station amongst young people in Britain. When they’re in New York, they know where to get themselves the best fish and chips – at A Salt and Battery of course, our adjoining chippy:

Royal wedding: New York City’s take on the big day

By Dave Howard
Newsbeat US reporter

Alta Swyers, 20 (left), thinks the royal wedding is 'very materialistic'

Deep-fried balls of battered wedding cake – just one of the ways New Yorkers are marking the royal wedding.

Around the city, you’ll find Brit-themed fancy dress parties.

The trendiest bars are serving Pimms, scones and old-fashioned afternoon tea and cakes.

The five-hour time difference means thousands plan to wake before dawn tomorrow (29 April), so they can see Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot live on giant outdoor screens.

Nicky Perry is organising an all-day street party outside her British shop and café Tea and Sympathy in south Manhattan.

‘Insane Frenzy’

“I have never seen such insane frenzy about anything in my entire life,” she said. “Americans are going crazy for it.

“We’ve got morris dancers, people are turning up in hats, wedding dresses. People are getting fitted for morning suits.”

Amy Miller has come to Nicky’s shop to buy Earl Grey tea.

“The pageantry, the romance,” she said. “It’s a fairy tale for us in the States that don’t have a monarchy.”

Nicky’s also sold out of Royal Wedding memorabilia like plates, cups and William and Kate scarves and T-shirts.

‘Wedding balls’

Next door, Matt Arnfield, 38, is the British chef at A Salt and Battery, a traditional fish and chip shop.

On the menu just now are ‘wedding balls,’ bite-sized portions of deep-fried wedding cake.

“It’s an iced heavy fruitcake with raisins and sultanas,” he said. “We batter it, and fry it up for about three minutes.

“Nobody else is doing it as far as I know,” he said.

He says he sold 60 last weekend and he’s expecting to sell at least the same again over the next few days.

Twenty-year-old Alta Swyers has been brought to A Salt and Battery by her boyfriend Morgan Callender, who’s also 20.

She is having her first ever meal of proper British fish and chips.

“I don’t care at all about the royal wedding,” she said.

“Everything I hear on the news networks is about what they’re wearing, and how much money they’re spending. It’s very materialistic.”


New Yorkers Cheer On Royal Wedding From Afar

England’s Prince William and Kate Middleton officially tied the knot Friday before millions of viewers across the globe, including many here in New York.

Their public displays of affection on the balcony of Buckingham Palace were well received with cheers and screams from the crowd of thousands who gathered outside to share in the wedding celebration.

The two were joined in an hour long ceremony at Westminster Abbey in front of 2,000 guests.

Hundreds of thousands around the world are believed to have tuned in to watch the couple exchange vows.

In Times Square, hundreds turned out for one of the many viewing parties being held around the city.

Those who spoke with NY1 say they’ve been looking forward to all the pomp and circumstance and that it’s history in the making. Some even got into the wedding spirit by dressing like royalty.

Many say the couple’s down to earth nature make them an easy pair to root for.

“They’re associating with the common people of Britain than Charles. He’s still not well-liked,” said one onlooker.

“It brings some realness to their family. Most common people want to feel they can relate to them. If she brings that to the mix then people are a little more excited about it,” said another.

A few dozen blocks away on Greenwich Avenue, British restaurant Tea and Sympathy hosted a wedding party too. For many, the love story is an escape.

“My 7-year-old has been enwrapped in the whole thing. It’s nice to have a nice piece of news and for everyone to celebrate a really lovely story instead of all the disaster that’s reported in the media,” said one wedding watcher.

“Everyone seems to be excited about it: Americans, Brits, everyone. I think a great deal of that is because William’s one of Diana’s boys and everyone loved Diana. I think it’s nice to see everything come full circle,” said another.

Kate’s dress was an elegant long sleeved lace gown designed by Sarah Burton for the Alexander McQueen label.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams officiated the ceremony.

The couple emerged from the abbey to thousands of onlookers waving British flags.

The two then headed to the palace in an open-topped horse drawn carriage.

Thousands lined the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the royals as they made their way back to the palace.

The prince and princess — now also known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — are attending two parties: one hosted by the queen, and an evening dinner dance for close friends.


New Yorkers greet royal wedding with fancy dress, fascinators and fry-ups

Diehard royal fans celebrate Kate and William’s nuptials but for most it’s business as usual

Hadley Freeman in New York
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 April 2011 15.47 BST

Revelers in New York toast the royal couple at a viewing party beneath the Manhattan bridge. Photograph: Erik Pendzich/Rex Features

“He knocked off my fascinating!” cried Laura Martin, 55, in full evening dress complete with enormous jewelled brooch (“Fake – don’t tell the Queen!”) as she glared at a jogger disappearing towards the Hudson River, before stooping down to pick her fasincator off the sidewalk.

“It’s a fascinate, Laura,” said her friend, in a similarly implausible outfit for 6am. “Fascinate.”

It wasn’t so much a tale of two cities in New York as a tale of two sides of the street. On one side of Greenwich Avenue stores were decked with union flag bunting in preparation for the afternoon’s street party. People took fashion cues from Me and My Girl and Four Weddings and a Funeral queued up outside Lyon restaurant hoping to get inside for the special wedding breakfast with screens set up to allow diners to judge Kate’s dress while they ate fried bread. Any journalist with a British accent was immediately assumed to be a royal expert, even one from the soi-disant republican Guardian.

“We’re not going to have to eat English food, right?” fretted one gentleman outside, topped and tailed. “I just wanna see the wedding.”

Unfortunately for him they did, as it was fry-ups all round. But New Yorker Elizabeth Lang, 51, who was already inside and sporting a tiara, had reassuring words for him: “You know this isn’t too bad – I was worried as I thought the English food would be a little dicey,” she said as she carefully left her baked beans untouched.

“Who’d have thought, a French restaurant doing an English breakfast,” marvelled Ben Mann in a morning suit as he leaned upon his cane, and one of the few Brits to be found.

“It’s not the first time the British have invaded and saved France – 1939 and all that,” smirked Sean Cavanagh-Dowsett, the British owner of the nearby English-themed restaurant and shop, Tea and Sympathy, in full pearly king regalia.

“It’s our job to be English today,” explained Mann.

“It’s such a shame Diana isn’t here,” said Kevin de l’Aigle, an American sporting a union flag t-shirt and Kate’n’Wills badge while he, too, left his baked beans untouched. “But I’m sure she’s here in spirit.”

Actually Diana was there, and celebrating with great enthusiasm: Diana Zorek, age 5.

“I love the wedding! I love princesses!” she announced, and proved it by wearing a Disney princess outfit. But as “really pretty” as she thought Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was, she hadn’t usurped her favourite princess from the top spot: Ariel from the Little Mermaid.

The other side of the street may as well have been a different country. Almost directly opposite the postcard recreation of all things parodically English was a similarly cliched, if more accurate, image of New York: a gym. Young men in various lycra get-ups that would surely permit no ingestion of fried bread jogged on into Equinox gym for early morning workouts, headphones plugged firmly into their ears, blocking out the shrieks from across the street.

“No, I don’t care about the wedding at all to be honest,” said Matthew Reinhardt. “If it’s on the TV screens inside I guess I’ll watch it. Maybe it will help me run faster on the treadmill.”

Back across the street there was no time for republican scepticism: Sean Cavanagh-Dowsett and his wife, Nicky Perry, were organising the afternoon’s street party where fish and chips, cups of tea and someone from Squeeze who wasn’t Jools Holland would be there, apparently representing some vision of Great Britain.

“To us Kate and William are the prince and princess on top of the cake, they’re the happily ever after,” said New Yorker Linda Siciliana in black tie garb, apparently unbothed by the Windsors’ somewhat dubious marital record.

“I think this is such a great day,” said Californian Diana Modica from beneath her Kate Middleton face mask. “How can anyone resist this?”

But by 7am someone was beginning to resist: Diana Zorek, who announced that she was “SO tired” after having risen so early in the morning.

Was she still feeling like a princess?

“Yes,” she replied, falling asleep on her father Michael’s shoulder, oblivious to the jogger running right past her. “Sleeping Beauty.”

BBC America Blog

In Bohemian Corner of NYC, A Traditional Royal Wedding Knees-up
By: LAURA TREVELYAN Posted: Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Nicky Perry, owner of New York's Tea and Sympathy, organized a British-style royal wedding street party in Greenwich Village.

Bunting, fascinators, Union Jacks, Morris Dancers — no, not a British royal wedding street party, but a corner of Greenwich Village, New York that seems to be forever England. Cardboard cutouts of William and Kate decked the street, dogs wore festive attire, and the organizer-in-chief Brit Nicky Perry looked on with pride. Wearing a Union Jack dress, of course. Nicky is the owner of the local British-themed tea shop Tea and Sympathy, and the idea of an old-fashioned knees-up to celebrate the royal wedding came naturally to her.

Four women from Wilmington, North Carolina who’d come to New York for the wedding made a beeline for the street party. They lunched at the brasserie Lyon, sipping champagne, wearing spectacular hats, and watching a rerun of the wedding. “We’re from the South, and we love tradition,” said Barbara, who was combining her 50th birthday celebrations with Kate and William’s wedding. “These two are going to be so good for the monarchy.”

New Yorker Terence Vaughan agreed, seeing in the royal couple a modern, down-to-earth sensibility despite their privileged position. “I got up 30 years ago to watch Diana marry,” reminisced Terence, “so I had to do the same for William. It’s tradition, and it’s fun.”

Not everyone at the party was a fervent monarchist. The musician  Glen Tilbrook from the band Squeeze flew over from the UK to perform in the local park, despite his Republican sympathies. So did even he have royal wedding fever, I asked? “This seems like a caricatured, Disneyfied version of Englishness,” came the reply from the guitar-strumming Glen.

One in which virtually everyone else seemed to revel. A real-life Pearly King and Queen, symbols of the East End of London, made a singing appearance at the party.  “Knees Up Mother Brown” was their signature tune, as baffled but appreciative New Yorkers looked on.

Nicky Perry surveyed the scene with great satisfaction. “People here loved Diana,” she observed, “and this time they’re hoping the fairy tale is for real.”