Ahead of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip's 70th wedding anniversary—they were married on November 20, 1947—a team of chefs at Le Cordon Bleu has re-created their wedding cake. The final project will be revealed October 30 at 9 p.m. on ITV, during a television special called A Very Royal Wedding. This documentary will tell the story of the wedding and its impact, and it will also show exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, plus re-creations of the engagement ring and wedding cake.
The details of this cake are incredible. The replica, just like the original, weighs 500 pounds. The four tiers are fruit cake covered in royal icing, adorned with flowers and hand-piped details. There's no model of the cake, but black-and-white photos from Queen Elizabeth's big day show off what was a jaw-dropping confection even for such an opulent affair.
Building a replica of a cake solely based on archival photos is no easy feat—especially when the original was nine feet tall! That's right, Le Cordon Bleu, the world-renowned culinary-arts institute, made a sky-high cake without a model to go on. How? Head patisserie chef Julie Walsh of Le Cordon Bleu London led a team of eight to get the job done.
"It was truly an honor to be asked to replicate this incredible cake," she says. "Even from the very first stages, to bake a cake of this size was immense. Specially designed tins were produced to support the cake as it baked. Every detail had to be hand drawn to form a template, as no original existed, which was then piped to ensure each tier exactly replicated the original royal iced wedding cake. The small team spent hundreds of hours piping and modeled every meticulous detail by hand based on the original photographs available."
The final product looked just like the original—compare for yourself!
Chef Julie's team didn't just bake the replica for show, though. Leftovers will be given to patients at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, in addition to other nursing homes and charities. As a nod to the old wedding tradition, the top tier will be saved and gifted to Queen Elizabeth on her anniversary in November.