The Royal Wedding Cake: A Pastry Chef Under Pressure, and a Weeks-Old Fruitcake

The Royal Wedding Cake: A Pastry Chef Under Pressure, and a Weeks-Old Fruitcake While the thought of fruitcake might make some of us gag State-side, it's apparently good enough for royal tastebuds: William and Kate's royal wedding cake will be that very same holiday cake that is famous for being accepted with a forced grimace.

Their fruitcake won't be a brick-shaped lump, though: the duties of making the traditional fruitcake into a lavish affair worthy of the Royal Wedding will fall on the shoulders of pastry chef Fiona Cairns.

It's a tremendous heap of pressure, having to make a cake for the reception of the event that practically the entire world will be watching. If anyone is qualified, though, it's Cairns: she has created pastries and other delicious desserts for celebrities like Bono, Sir Paul McCartney, and the members of Pink Floyd.

What will the royal couple's cake look like? Apparently, a bit like an edible flower garden: Cairns reports that she and Kate Middleton came up with a list of 17 flowers, each symbolizing love, happiness and marriage, to put on the cake. For weeks, Cairns and her team have been painstakingly perfecting these flowers, built from sugar paste.

As for the fruitcake itself, Cairns said that she and her team spent "hundreds of hours" preparing to make the cake, both in designing the adornments and in perfecting the recipe. Anyone who's had a dry or soggy fruitcake knows how delicate the balance is between good fruitcake and a total disaster.

The cake includes raisins, currants, cherries, nuts, fresh peel, ginger, marmalade and brandy. It was soaked and then baked for seven hours, then left for weeks in a maturation room where it could absorb essences of alcohol and fruit. It is currently under guard in the palace.

So in short, the Royal Wedding will feature a weeks-old cake. Far be it from me to question tradition, but those Brits are crazy with their pastry selections. Almost as crazy as with their beer selections.

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