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Prince William and Duchess Kate's spectacular wedding cake – behind the scenes

Fiona Cairns designed the stunning eight-tiered cake

prince william kate middleton wedding cake
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
April 29, 2022
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary on 29 April, and to mark the special occasion we look back on the royal couple's jaw-dropping wedding cake.

Created by cake designer Fiona Cairns, the eight-tiered fruit cake was over one metre tall and took six weeks to make – it was a stunning confection combining traditional elements with a modern twist.

HELLO! chatted to Fiona to find out more about her fabulous royal wedding cake. Read the interview below…

MORE: The secret items hidden inside the Queen's wedding cake & more fascinating royal cake facts

WATCH: A look back at the royal wedding cake in the making

How long did the cake take to make?

"We received the brief around the third week of February and the wedding was the end of April. So those first few weeks we were working out different recipes and sending them for approval - which one would be selected.

fiona cairns

Fiona Cairns with the royal wedding cake

"We knew it was going to be a fruitcake because that's what we'd been briefed to do and we're sort of known for fruit cake. Then it had to be designed and we had to visit the picture gallery in Buckingham Palace to get the proportions right and where it was going to be [placed].

"So all that took at least three weeks. Once we got going we didn't have very much time. To actually make, it took about six [weeks].

"Our cake was breaking tradition in the sense that it was sugar paste – it was a softer look, a more romantic look. The flowers were sort of cascading down. It was a different look."

MORE: 15 show-stopping royal wedding cakes you have to see

Did Kate and William do tastings of the cake?

"Yes, quite a few tastings, because we made all these different fruit cake recipes. We sent samples of cake, designs, mood boards and drawings. There was a lot of toing and froing like that."

kate middleton dress

The Duke and Duchess on their wedding day

Was it hard keeping the cake a secret?

"Oh no, we had to, because we'd 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 children or anyone at work except for the people who were going to work on it, 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 hadn't actually seen the finished cake assembled until the day before. So you can imagine how stressful the whole was because we'd worked it all out to great detail.

"We had assembled mock-ups or parts of it and we knew it was going to work, but we hadn't actually physically done it on that beautiful bespoke glass stand that we had made for it in the middle of the picture gallery in Buckingham Palace. We didn't see the whole thing ourselves until we finished it lunchtime the day before the wedding.

"We kept pinching ourselves when we were making it, and then when we were actually in Buckingham Palace, because we were involved in an event that was historical."

MORE: Duchess Kate's daily diet: the royal's breakfast, lunch and dinner revealed

cake team

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 did hear – and I heard afterwards from Catherine - that they were absolutely thrilled. I heard that on the afternoon of the wedding day."

We read that a piece of the lace from Kate's dress inspired the cake…

"Yes, that was part of the brief 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 recognise that lace, I've seen that before!' We were trying to copy it.

"I was sitting behind the former Vogue editor at the time, Alexandra Shulman. She didn't know I made the cake; she didn't know who I was, but I knew who she was. In the Abbey, we didn't know who made the dress so I asked Alexandra. She knew immediately."

wedding cake

The team putting the finishing touches to the wedding cake

MORE: Royal ladies' favourite lunches: Kate Middleton, Sophie Wessex, Camilla Parker Bowles and more

Did you experience any problems making or transporting the cake?

"That's what everyone wants to hear! I'm sorry, I can't really say that we did because we didn't. We had made extra of absolutely everything in case of that, because we were coming from 100 miles away down the motorway, in many, many boxes and there was spare. It was so carefully planned.

"Everyone's wedding cake is important but this cake had great significance… for the future King and Queen of England."

Fiona Cairns cakes are available to buy from Waitrose

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