Chef Darren McGrady is not attending the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but he is familiar with the wedding cake that will be served after the Friday ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
When many are speculating about the ingredients of Chocolate Biscuit Cake, the former Royal Chef, who served as personal chef to Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II and Princes William and Harry for 15 years, offers the true recipe in his cookbook, Eating Royally.
“I was thrilled to learn that Prince William had chosen Chocolate Biscuit Cake, a recipe I include in my book Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen, for his wedding cake because it is also his grandmother’s favorite cake,” McGrady says. “I used to prepare it for both of them when they had tea together. The queen would request the cake in the menu book for Sunday tea when she knew her grandson William would be joining her from Eton.”
In addition to the no-bake chocolate cake recipe, McGrady provides other favorites of the beloved prince and his family. Within the pages of Eating Royally, McGrady presents many of the recipes he served the royals. Filled with artifacts, personal notes, photographs and never-before-seen memorabilia, it is much more than a cookbook. It’s an opportunity to see how the royals really live and to eat the exact recipes that have graced the tables of Windsor, Balmoral, Kensington and Buckingham palaces.
“Afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace consists of two types of sandwiches, scones, a plate of small pastries (e.g. chocolate éclairs, raspberry tartlets) and a large cake for the queen to cut a slice from with her Earl Grey tea,” McGrady says. Being Her Majesty’s favorite, Chocolate Biscuit Cake appears on the menu at least once a month. While she may enjoy other cakes for tea, as soon as tea is over she has no desire to see them again. The remaining cake is dispatched to the staff dining room the following day.
“When afternoon tea includes Chocolate Biscuit Cake, the rules are different. Her Majesty loves this cake so much that she takes a mental picture of how much she is sending back to the kitchens each day. It is the only cake that returns again and again to the royal tea table each day until it is gone. I remember her on one occasion instructing her page to call the kitchen to ask who had been eating her cake.”
McGrady is now a chef, author, culinary consultant, event planner, and public speaker living in Dallas, Texas. He has donated all royalties from Eating Royally to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.