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Royal Wedding Cake: Floral Flavors from an American Baker, at Violet Cakes

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Royal Wedding Cake: Floral Flavors from an American Baker, at Violet Cakes

May 17, 2018

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.

Photography courtesy of Violet Cakes and The Violet Bakery Cookbook.

Above: Baker Claire Ptak, entrusted with making a royal batter.

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

Above: Raspberries and roses topped a recent Ptak cake creation.

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

Above: We can report with authority that this is not what the royal wedding cake will look like. This is a rhubarb birthday cake from Violet Cakes, decorated with pink roses and white anemones.

“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.

Bake Seasonally

“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.”

Devil&#8\2\17;s food cake slices with vanilla bean buttercream for sale in the shop.
Above: Devil’s food cake slices with vanilla bean buttercream for sale in the shop.

Be Real

Claire admirably refuses to force a &#8\2\20;healthy&#8\2\2\1; ingredient where it doesn&#8\2\17;t belong. Case in point: yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting and multicolored sprinkles. (Cupcakes are an American treat for which Violet is known in London.)
Above: Claire admirably refuses to force a “healthy” ingredient where it doesn’t belong. Case in point: yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting and multicolored sprinkles. (Cupcakes are an American treat for which Violet is known in London.)
The bakery case at Violet Cakes in London&#8\2\17;s Hackney neighborhood.
Above: The bakery case at Violet Cakes in London’s Hackney neighborhood.

The Violet Bakery Cookbook is \$\23.93 on Amazon.
Above:The Violet Bakery Cookbook is $23.93 on Amazon.
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