While the rest of the world was paying attention to the pageantry, the hats, and the dress (OK, we were pretty interested in all that too) there was one other thing that had us captivated during Friday's royal wedding. It was offstage, out of the limelight, but no less impressive. What are we talking about? The cake, of course! Have you seen photos of the wedding cake and much-discussed frozen groom's cake yet? Here they are, for your perusal — plus photos of their creation! We love seeing what people eat at such big, public celebrations, and the cake was of course the centerpiece of the lunchtime reception. Both of these cakes reflected the bride and groom's traditions and culture, in different ways.
• The Wedding Cake: The wedding cake was created by a businesswoman named Fiona Cairns, who was hired to make the cake. It was made out of 17 layers of fruitcake, and decorated with cream, white icing, and 17 different sorts of iced flowers. Each of these had their own significance — shamrock, as the national symbol of Ireland, for instance, and myrtle to represent love. It was a massive, magnificently-decorated cake. (Fruitcake, by the way, is highly traditional for wedding cakes in England. It isn't the dried-out, artificially-colored sort of fruitcake found in the States. It's a deep, dark, rich cake that keeps very well and has a lot of flavor.)
One of the more interesting tidbits about this elaborate cake involves the "Lambeth Method" which was used to ice it. Joseph Lambeth was a pastry chef who won many awards in the 1920s and 1930s. His book showed his methods of creating 3-dimensional icing designs on fondant, and it became incredibly popular because of his detailed instructions and ornate artistry. This method has become the base of most of British and American wedding cake (and really, all fancy cake) design.
• The Groom's Cake: If the wedding cake was a little too fancy for guests' tastes, they also had the groom's chocolate biscuit cake to try. This was a no-bake sort of ice box cake, which the prince remembered fondly from childhood. It was recreated by the British biscuit company McVitie's.
What did you think of the cakes? Are these the sort of cakes you'd serve at your wedding? They are pretty spectacular, we think, and perfectly suited to the occasion — which really is the point of a good party dessert.
• See more: The Royal Wedding Cake and at The British Monarchy's Flickr photostream. Read all about the significance of the cake's motifs at the official wedding website.
Related: Prince William's Chocolate Biscuit Groom's Cake
(Images: © Clarence House, 2011. Retrieved from The British Monarchy's photostream at Flickr.)