Here’s what we know so far about the royal wedding cake that Claire Ptak, California native and proprietor of Violet Cakes in London, is baking to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on Saturday. The flavor will be lemon elderflower. The batter will include Ptak’s signature fruit, lemons imported from Italy (“They are large and sweet and have a very thick and pithy peel,” she says). And the frosting? Buttercream, thank God.
Do we sound a bit breathless? Our obsession with the progress of the royal wedding cake can be explained by our longtime love affair with baker Ptak, who in an exclusive interview a few months back shared with our readers her tips for using foraged ingredients to add flavor to her favorite cakes.
We’ve long admired Ptak and endorsed her unique style of baking when we reviewed her The Violet Bakery Cookbook. Ptak told us that her recipes often rely on whole grains, foraged ingredients, and alternative sugars—and other times on old-fashioned white flour and butter.
Perhaps Ptak’s affinity for floral flavors was what prompted Kensington Palace to announce in March that the cake “will incorporate the bright flavors of spring.” The same palace pronouncement promised buttercream and a cake “decorated with fresh flowers.”
Here are a few of Claire’s 10 tips for baking with natural ingredients (and for the full story, see Expert Advice: 10 Tips for Baking on the Wild Side with Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery).
Bake for Flavor
Claire doesn’t swap out white flour for whole grains solely for health reasons. She plays with the flavors of alternative flours to develop the best possible version of any one recipe. (Read 10 Tips from Claire for a few examples.)
Forage for Fun
“There’s something wonderful about going out and picking berries with your friends or family, and there are fewer and fewer of these interactive outdoor activities these days,” says Claire.
“There’s not really any other way to eat,” says Claire. “Nothing is more disappointing than getting a pale and frigid strawberry on top of a dessert in winter, when you know how wonderful an apple or orange or strawberry can be.”
For more royals, see: