All About the Royal Wedding Cakes

Prince William and Kate Middleton's Unique Cake Choices for Their Royal Wedding

Fiona Cairns stands next to the Royal Wedding cake that she and her team at Fiona Cairns Ltd of Leicestershire made for Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding.
Fiona Cairns stands next to the Royal Wedding cake that she and her team at Fiona Cairns Ltd of Leicestershire made for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. Getty Images/WPA Pool

Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, had two wedding cakes -- one very traditional, and the other a bit unusual. The couple asked local baker Fiona Cairns to create the main royal wedding cake, which -- as is customary in the United Kingdom -- was crafted in fruitcake. Cairns has started baking the many layers weeks ahead of time. Each layer was wrapped in brandy-soaked cheesecloth before being set aside to age for a few weeks, deepening the flavors and achieving the classic taste of fruitcake.

From the outside, the royal wedding cake looked similar to any grand wedding cake, with stacked tiers covered in white fondant and elaborate gum paste flowers. Kate asked that Cairns use flowers symbolizing the four nations of the United Kingdom -- roses for England, thistle for Scotland, daffodils for Wales, and shamrocks for Ireland. There were also other symbolic decorations, like an oak and acorn for endurance. And, in honor of her husband-to-be, the cake incorporated the flower Sweet William, which symbolizes gallantry, smile, and finesse.

In an interview with the BBC, Cairns said, "It’s a traditional cake but also quite delicate and modern. All the tiers will have a different theme." The cake also featured Prince William and Kate's monogram – known in the UK as a cipher – of their entwined initials.

But though fruitcake is traditional, there was also a very non-traditional royal wedding cake: Prince William's groom's cake. The Prince requested his favorite chocolate biscuit cake, made with rich tea cookies, chocolate, and nuts, then frozen instead of baked. Although many brides in the UK are now choosing an American-style sponge or genoise, this is a childhood favorite virtually unheard of in wedding land.