The stakes are high for any pastry chef commissioned to build a wedding cake, but make it a royal wedding cake and the bar's set to the ultimate standard (i.e. would Queen Elizabeth want to dig in?). Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose London-based baker Claire Ptak to create their ceremony confection, who definitely seemed to be feeling the pressure of the job, considering she lost sleep over the cake's frosting, according to Vanity Fair.
Ptak was tasked with creating a lemon elderflower cake which, given the lengthy ingredient list, was probably no easy undertaking. The cake required 200 Amalfi lemons, 500 organic eggs from Suffolk, 20kgs of butter, 20kgs of flour, 20kgs of sugar, 10 bottles of Sandringham Elderflower Cordial, and most likely a lot of grit. Ptak, who owns Violet Cakes in Hackney East London, rolled up her sleeves and spent two months creating the royal dessert with her team.
"It has been the most amazing journey, incredible, and there have been many moments I have had to pinch myself. When I realized the whole world was watching. I was like, ‘O.K. a little bit of pressure here,'" she confessed to Vanity Fair.
But, one specific wedding cake component was causing Ptak the most stress—the buttercream icing. "I needed to be sure the icing was going to stand up to the atmosphere it was in," she said. "I knew the fresh buttercream was going to be hard to keep looking stable in a warm room with 600 people. It’s so soft and so fresh that it was the most stressful part of [making] the cake. I had nightmares about it sliding off the table." God save the icing!
Thankfully Ptak's bad dreams didn't come true IRL, and the results looked beautiful (no table-sliding was involved in this royal wedding). It also probably helped that she brought along back-up buttercream in case of a crisis. This wedding cake dream team spent two hours putting the four confections together before the reception
"We had six people working five days straight to prepare the cakes to make sure they were alright," Ptak said. "We’d iced and finished it and it was kept chilled until the last possible minute when my head baker and I set it up three-and-a-half hours before the service."
It sounds like it naturally tasted as good as it looked, too—the wedding guests couldn't get enough. "I understand there were requests for seconds and we accommodated for people asking for extras," she said. Here's hoping Harry and Meghan were able to save a slice to enjoy on their first wedding anniversary.