The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary on April 29 – and their cake designer has shared her fascinating secrets
the duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary on April 29, and to mark the special occasion, we take a look back at the royal couple’s stunning wedding wedding cake.
Created by Cake Maker Fiona Cairnsthe eight-tiered fruitcake was over a meter high and took six weeks to make – it was an amazing confection combining traditional elements with a modern twist.
HELLO! chatted with Fiona to find out more about her fabulous royal wedding cake. Read the interview below…
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How long did the cake take to bake?
“We received the brief around the third week of February and the wedding was at the end of April. So these first few weeks we worked on different recipes and sent them for approval – which one would be selected.
Fiona Cairns with the Royal Wedding Cake
“We knew it was going to be fruitcake because that’s what we were told to do and we’re sort of known for fruitcake. Then it had to be designed and we had to visit the Buckingham Palace photo gallery to get the proportions right and where it was going to be [placed].
“So the whole thing took at least three weeks. Once we started, we didn’t have a lot of time. To do it, it took about six [weeks].
“Our cake broke tradition in the sense that it was sugarpaste – it was a softer look, a more romantic look. The flowers were cascading down. It was a different look.”
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Did Kate and William do cake tastings?
“Yeah, a lot of tastings, because we did all these fruit cake recipes. We sent in cake samples, designs, mood boards and drawings. There was a lot of back and forth like that.”
The Duke and Duchess on their wedding day
Was it hard to keep the cake a secret?
“Oh no, we had to, because we had all signed a confidentiality [agreement] with Clarence House, so it was very difficult. We couldn’t tell anyone at all. We couldn’t tell our kids or anyone at work except the people who were going to work there, and then they couldn’t tell their partners.”
Can you tell us something not many people know about the royal wedding cake?
“It amazes people that we didn’t see the finished cake assembled until the day before. So you can imagine how stressful the whole thing was because we had worked everything out to the last detail.
“We had assembled mock-ups or parts of it and we knew it was going to work, but we didn’t physically do it on this beautiful custom glass stand we made for it in the middle of the gallery of photos at Buckingham Palace. We didn’t see it all ourselves until we finished it at noon the day before the wedding.
“We kept pinching ourselves when we were doing it and then when we were at Buckingham Palace because we were involved in a historic event.”
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Fiona Cairns and her team at Buckingham Palace
What was William and Kate’s reaction to the cake?
“I wasn’t with them, but I heard – and I heard afterwards from Catherine – that they were absolutely delighted. I heard this the afternoon of the wedding day.
We read that a piece of lace from Kate’s dress inspired the cake…
“Yes, it was part of the case file, but we weren’t told it was part of her dress. It was amazing when I saw her [Kate] in the Abbey. I thought, ‘Oh, I recognize that lace, I’ve seen that before!’ We were trying to copy it.
“I was sitting behind former Vogue editor at the time, Alexandra Shulman. She didn’t know I had made the cake; she didn’t know who I was, but I knew who she was. At the Abbey, we didn’t know who made the dress so I asked Alexandra and she knew immediately.
The team that puts the finishing touches on the wedding cake
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Did you encounter any problems while making or transporting the cake?
“That’s what everyone wants to hear! I’m sorry, I can’t really say we did it because we didn’t. We had done extra absolutely everything just in case , because we had come from 100 miles on the highway, in very many boxes and there were spares. It was so carefully planned.
“Everyone’s wedding cake is important, but this cake had a big meaning… for the future King and Queen of England.”