royal-wedding

Lady Gabriella Windsor's wedding cake recipe from her baker Fiona Cairns

This sounds absolutely delicious!

Sophie Hamilton

Lady Gabriella Windsor looked stunning in her bespoke Luisa Beccaria gown when she married Thomas Kingston at Windsor Castle on 18 May 2019. The reception was held at Windsor's Frogmore House and we were treated to an inside snap of the couple's stunning wedding cake on Instagram by their baker Fiona Cairns. Fiona also made the wedding cake for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge back in 2011. Lady Gabriella and Thomas' cake was a beautiful eight-tiered creation with pale blush icing and leaf border surrounding the base, inspired by fabric within Frogmore House. The cake featured three different sponges: luxury rich fruit cake, classic Victoria sponge and lemon Limoncello sponge cake. Yum!

The recipes used for the wedding cake were similar to those from Fiona's cookbooks. Here, the baker shares recipes for her luxury rich fruit cake, classic Victoria sponge and Lemon Limoncello Sponge Cake...

Lemon Limoncello Sponge Cake

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

For the cake 
250g unsalted butter, softened, diced, plus more for the tins
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Finely grated zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons and juice of 1
250g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the syrup 
Juice of ½ lemon 
15ml Limoncello
2 tbsp caster sugar 

To fill and decorate 
300g crème fraîche (half-fat preferred) or mascarpone 
15-30ml Limoncello (to taste)
150g good lemon curd, preferably homemade 
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Icing sugar to dust

MORE: 8 London restaurants loved by the royal family

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WATCH: The making of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding cake

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C/ fan 170⁰C/ 350⁰F/ gas mark 4. Butter two 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. For the batter, I use an electric mixer and beater attachment, but do use a food processor, or a bowl and an electric whisk if you prefer.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, then add the lemon zest, sugar, butter and eggs. Beat together and lastly add the lemon juice. Do not over-mix.

3. Divide the batter between the two tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Meanwhile make the syrup by mixing the juice, Limoncello and sugar in a bowl. As soon as the cakes come from the oven, prick them all over with a cocktail stick and spoon over the syrup. Allow to cool in the tins on a wire rack. When cold, remove the papers. Trim each cake level, and split in half horizontally. Mix the Limoncello into the curd to taste.

4. Sandwich the four cakes together using layers of lemon curd and crème fraîche and finish with a dusting of icing sugar and a sprinkling of lemon zest.

From Celebration Cakes by Fiona Cairns, published by Quadrille Publishing

 

Luxury Rich Fruit Cake 

Fiona says: "My original much-loved fruit cake, which originated in the kitchen table all those years ago! The royal wedding cake was similar and based on this recipe."

Makes 25-30 slices

INGREDIENTS           

200g dark glace cherries
280g sultanas
280g raisins, preferably lexia or muscatel
100g currants
170g mixed peel
110g glace ginger, chopped
3 tbsp black treacle
40g bitter marmalade
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
1 heaped tsp mixed spice
100ml brandy, plus 3 tbsp to feed the cake
250g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
120g walnuts
40g blanched almonds
180g self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
250g muscovado sugar
160g ground almonds
5 eggs, lightly beaten

Photography: Laura Hynd

METHOD

1. The day before, rinse the cherries, then dry them well with kitchen towel and cut each in half. Place the sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed peel, glace ginger, cherries, black treacle, marmalade, zests and mixed spice into a large bowl.

2. Pour over the brandy, give it a stir, cover with cling film and leave overnight.

3.  Next day, preheat the oven to 140°C/ fan 130°C/ 275°F/ gas mark 1. Lightly butter a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin and line with baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the tin with brown paper and tie with string, to protect the edges from scorching in the oven.

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4.  Scatter the whole nuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes in the oven, shaking once and watching so they don’t burn. Cool slightly, chop and set aside.

5.  Sift the flour and the salt into a bowl. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes until paler and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, then very gradually add the eggs, mixing well between each addition. Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon and, lastly, all the fruits (and any liquid) and nuts.

6.  Scrape the batter into a tin and bake on a low shelf for about 2 ¾ - 3 hours. Start to check it after 2 ½ hours: if a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, it is ready. If it browns too much before it is fully cooked, make a circle of foil a bit larger than the cake, pierce a hole in the centre and open it up, then place it over the tin.

7.  Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. When cold, prick all over with a fine skewer and evenly sprinkle over the extra brandy. Wrap in baking parchment, then foil, and leave to mature for a week or up to 3 months. Unwrap and feed it with 1tbsp more brandy every other week, if you like, for extra succulence and booziness!

From Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns, published by Quadrille Publishing

 

Classic Victoria Sponge

Fiona says: "One of the three flavours selected by the couple, this recipe is very similar to that which is used to their wedding cake."

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

For the cake 
225g unsalted butter, really soft, in pieces, plus more for the tins 
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten 
1 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla pod) 
225g golden caster sugar

For the filling 
220ml tub clotted cream or double whipped cream, lightly whipped to thicken
8 tbsp best-quality raspberry jam
Icing sugar to dust 

Photography: Laura Hynd

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190⁰C/ fan 170⁰C/ 375⁰F/ gas mark 5. Butter two 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. To make this all-in-one cake, you can use a food mixer, a large bowl and a hand-held electric whisk, or a food processor. 

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar and butter. Cream together thoroughly, but not too enthusiastically as you want a light sponge. Divide the batter between the tins and smooth the surfaces. 

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cakes in their tins for a couple of minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool. Leave until cold. 

4. When ready to serve, select the best-looking cake for the top and place the other, baking top-side down, on the serving plate. Spread with cream. Spread the flat side of the top cake with the jam. Sandwich the two cakes together. 

5. Dust with icing sugar and serve on the day it is made. The unfilled cake can be frozen ahead, but only fill it on the day it is served. 

From Seasonal Baking by Fiona Cairns, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson Publishing

Visit Fiona Cairns' new website at fionacairns.com     

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