King's Lynn baker recreates Victoria and Albert's 300lb wedding cake
PUBLISHED: 06:35 11 December 2018
Matthew Usher Photography
It weighed 300lbs, contained almost 12 pints of brandy and needed a special stretcher to carry it.
And now, almost 180 years after they tied the knot, a Norfolk baker has recreated a replica of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s gigantic wedding cake.
It will feature in Victoria and Albert: The Royal Wedding - a BBC documentary about the couple’s big day on February 10, 1840.
Paul Brandon, managing director of King’s Lynn-based Smiths the Bakers, was reluctant to fire up his ovens when first approached by the BBC.
“I was very cautious at first because it was going to be such a large and heavy cake,” he said. “The logistics of it did make me think twice about whether or not to do it, but we did and it was worth it in the end.”
The cake reproduced for the documentary was replicated in size, design and taste. It had a 9ft circumference, was 16” deep and weighed more than 300lbs.
Mr Brandon said: “We had to build a special wooden stretcher made from 2x4” timber for the cake to be carried up the massive marble staircase at Holkham Hall and my heart was in my mouth.
“But when they got it into the room it was really nice to see the finished article, I felt very proud.”
The fruit cake was made with an original Victorian plum cake recipe containing: butter, sugar, flour, eggs, cherries, currants, candied peel, ground almonds, mixed spice and salt, which is pretty similar to how a fruit cake is made today in 2018. However the biggest difference was the use of 11.5 pints of brandy.
Mr Brandon and his bakers have been making cakes with the recipe in the shop since filming and the flavour has been very well received, with customers enthusiastic to give it a try.
Due to its enormous size the cake had to be constructed in eight sections, with each taking over eight hours to cook in a purpose made copper tin.
The baked plum cake was then covered in marzipan and royal icing with the finished iced cake covered with a variety of over 1,100 handmade flowers. Last summer’s unseasonably hot weather posed another problem for the Royal Warrant holders.
“The hot weather dried out the royal icing, making it more difficult, we had to work quick,” added Mr Brandon.
Victoria and Albert: The Royal Wedding is on BBC 2 on Friday, December 21 (8.30pm).