For the wedding the world was waiting for back in 2011, sweet royal couple Prince William and Kate opted for not one but two wedding cakes. One was a traditional multi-tiered fruit wedding cake by Fiona Cairns, the other was a nod to William's childhood, in the shape of a chocolate wedding cake, for which William and Kate turned to master chocolatier Barry Colenso. We talk exclusively to the chocolate expert about the biggest charge of his career, making cakes for the Queen and the late Queen Mother, and his new no-guilt chocolates, the perfect healthy gift for chocolate lovers this Christmas...
William and Kate pictured greeting the public on their wedding day in 2011
See what Barry exclusively tells HELLO! Online...
Barry, you came up with the recipe for William and Kate's chocolate wedding cake. How did you do it?
The McVitie's Cake Company and I worked together in making William and Kate's cake, but the actual recipe came from the Palace. It was based on one of Prince William's favourite afternoon tea cakes from when he was younger, a classic Tiffin cake, which was a fairly simple recipe. Although the McVitie's Cake Company and I developed it into a wedding cake, we stuck closely to the guidelines issued from Buckingham Palace to make sure it was just right.
The cake for William and Kate's wedding was inspired by William's childhood favourite. How would you describe the taste of the one you created?
It was rich, indulgent and creamy with a really snappy texture which came from the Rich Tea biscuits.
What was it like being tasked with such a royal responsibility?
It was an amazing experience. Extremely stressful – but enjoyable too. It was just such an incredible honour to be involved.
Master chocolatier Barry Colenso shared a snap of the chocolate wedding cake he made for the royals' wedding day
Tell us a bit about the process of creating the wedding cake for the Duke and Duchess' 2011 wedding.
The Tiffin cake itself was pretty straightforward as the recipe was issued from the Palace, but the extras and decorations were a different story. The McVitie's team and I worked 24/7 for 29 straight days to make sure we made something spectacular, and that met Prince William and Kate's brief. It was a tough task as all of the decorations and flowers were based on different concepts which had to be approved by the Palace. Once approved, each white chocolate flower took over 6 hours to make by hand. The techniques used were completely revolutionary.
You have made cakes for the Queen and the Queen Mother. Can you tell us about the cakes you made?
Both the Queen and the Queen Mother were amazing individuals. I made the Queen Mother's 85th birthday cake and presented it to her on the stage of the Drury Lane Theatre. It was a rich chocolate cake and I topped it with the logo from the musical 42nd Street.
The cake for the Queen was a very grand cake I made on behalf of Lord Porchester. It had a horse on top and I was asked to present it to her. I will never forget that day.
As well as for William and Kate's wedding, Barry has made cakes for the Queen and the Queen Mother
Did William or Kate come to visit you while you were making their wedding cake?
William did right at the very end and it was a very humbling experience. He is so kind and grateful. It was a very special day.
What makes an excellent chocolate?
Firstly, ingredients are key. Top quality ingredients are a must. After that, the tempering process must be spot on. The heating and cooling of the chocolate is what gives it a glossy shine and crisp snap – all signs of a great chocolate. Most of all, a Chocolatier must have the imagination and innovation to create something unique. This is what makes an excellent chocolate stand out from an average one.
Barry said that making William and Kate's chocolate wedding cake was "a humbling experience"
What should we think of when buying chocolates for loved ones?
The trick to buying for someone is to really think about whom you are buying them for and what their preference is. Some people have rich, dark, decadent tastes whereas others prefer something that's light, fruity and creamy.
I also think it's really important to buy fresh chocolate as this can make all the difference. The good thing about MuscleFood.com's pralines is that we've only just started production for the Christmas push, so you know if you give them to the gym fan in your life, they'll be fresh and delicious.
The chocolatier has collaborated with MuscleFood.com to make chocolates that are low in fat and high in protein
It's claimed the pralines you've developed with MuscleFood.com are better for you than regular chocolates – how is this possible?
To create a "better for you chocolate" I had to significantly reduce the sugar content. This was tough, but after many painstaking attempts we achieved success as I managed to create a new kind of chocolate made with Maltitol which has 90% of the sweetness of sugar. This reduced the sugar content to roughly 3g per 100g.
The other thing that's very important to the MuscleFood.com customer is protein, so I came up with a way to add whey protein isolate to the chocolate and also the peanut butter praline without making the end result gritty or obviously packed with protein. Finally, I worked closely with MuscleFood.com to ensure that I only used 100% all natural flavours and ingredients so we could class them as being "clean". The process was a challenge, but the end result was definitely worth it.
Does the high protein content affect their taste?
They are very rich and decadent but I would be lying if I said no. It does make the chocolate quite dense - a little coarser and firmer than a normal chocolate. Ideally we wouldn't have that but, to guarantee 20g of protein per 100g; it’s a small price to pay.