A no-bake chocolate treat fit for a future king and queen

William requested the special confection

Chicago TribuneApril 27, 2011 

At this point, the bridal gown is top secret, the menus and the wine lists are still hush-hush, yet everyone knows Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton on Friday will feature two cakes and exactly what they'll be made of.

Got to hand it to them Brits, they've got their priorities right.

Cake No. 1 is the official cake baked by Fiona Cairns, a top cake designer in the U.K. It's a fruit cake but, unlike the door stoppers that are called fruit cake here, Cairns is creating a multitiered confection decorated with a cream and white icing and sporting a floral theme, according to the official Royal Wedding website ( officialroyalwedding2011.org).

No. 2 is a dark chocolate biscuit cake said to be a tea time fave of the prince's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. The cake was specially requested by the royal bridegroom.

McVitie's Cake Co. is making the chocolate cake according to a royal family recipe.

The company, now part of the United Biscuits Group, has been making cakes for royal weddings and christenings since the wedding in 1893 of the duke and duchess of York, who later became King George V and Queen Mary (William's great-great-grandparents).

McVitie's also made the official 60th wedding anniversary cake for the queen and Prince Phillip in 2007.

Paul Courtney, head cake development chef for McVitie's, says in a video displayed on the Royal Wedding website that the no-bake molded cake looked "quite rustic" on its own. But he noted the cake will be covered in chocolate and decorations for the wedding reception.

"It will look absolutely beautiful," he promised.

The cake recipe is supposed to be a royal secret.

Still, the United Biscuits Group has revealed that approximately 1,700 McVitie's Rich Tea Biscuits will be used in the wedding reception cake and in the few hundred cake slices to be served at the reception buffet. Just over 37 pounds of chocolate will be used.

News of the cake's selection was greeted enthusiastically by Darren McGrady, who worked his way up the ladder in palace kitchens to become private chef to Prince William's mother, the late Diana, princess of Wales. McGrady used to prepare the cake whenever the queen and Prince William had tea together, he said in a news release.

McGrady included a recipe for the chocolate biscuit cake in his book, "Eating Royally: Recipes & Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen."

Just how close is that recipe to what's actually being produced for the royal wedding? Bob Brightwell, United Biscuits spokesman, won't spill the recipe the company is using. Nor has he seen McGrady's book.

"If Mr. McGrady's book is using the same ratio, i.e., 50 biscuits equals just over a pound of chocolate, then it is likely that the recipes are similar," he wrote in email from England.

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