One of the more interesting titbits of information about the Royal Wedding is that there were two wedding cakes. A fabulous eight tier wedding cake created by Fiona Cairns (who also makes Waitrose Wedding Cakes – we might add) and a groom’s cake – which by all accounts is a chocolate and biscuit affair to be made by McVities according to a secret Royal family recipe.
Groom’s Cake History
Now you may or may not know that this isn’t a new phenomena by any means – although exactly where the trend started is debatable, it is a tradition that is well established in the US (most particularly in the Southern States). According this article in the New York Times the groom’s cake originates from England and was a smaller cake that was sliced at the end of the ceremony and served to the ushers and bridesmaids.
There is also mention of a groom’s cake in Simon R Charsley’s excellent book Wedding Cakes and Cultural History. A recipe for a Plain Bridegroom Cake can be found in The British Baker in 1897 and it is suggested that ‘the cake is to be cut by the bridegroom and distributed with a glass of wine to the bridesmaids before going to church.’ It is noted that the idea failed to catch on in the UK but did in the US where the bride and groom each had their own cake (one light and one dark). The two would be placed with the bride’s cake at the bottom and the groom’s at the top.
The groom’s cake makes a brief re-appearance in the UK at the end of the nineteenth century when a few American wedding trends were imported for a time but, again, only the traditional wedding cake stood the test of time.
Groom’s cakes have remained in use in the US throughout – although not so much until recently when the idea has become fashionable – probably because there are so many great cake makers and every year there is pressure to create something original and different? You can see some great examples on flickr – and the current trend seems to be to create a cake based upon the groom’s favourite sport, pastime or his job. There doesn’t seem to be that many cake makers in the UK taking this up as a mainstream offering but I’m sure if you’re keen enough to ask then most craft cake makers will be able to accommodate?
The Royal Wedding Groom’s Cake
Although shrouded in secrecy there are mentions of this chocolate and rich tea biscuit creation on the web if you know where to look. The recipe is featured in ex-Royal Chef – Darren McGrady’s Eating Royally: Recipes & Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen.
McGrady writes that the Queen would request the cake for Sunday tea when she knew that William would be visiting from Eton and that the recipe is an old Buckingham Palace tradition. The key ingredients are McVities Rich Tea Biscuits, which are broken into small pieces, mixed with butter, sugar, dark melted chocolate and an egg. The mixture is placed in a cake tin and refrigerated for at least 3 hours and finished with lashings of melted dark chocolate and white chocolate for decoration.
So if you want to give your husband-to-be an original gift idea or just want to be a bit different then why not give it a try?