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A royal wedding treat

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0413 TASTE cake
Prince William will have a groom’s cake, a relatively new choice in England. His choice? A Chocolate Biscuit Cake. (COURTESY AP)

Perhaps your invite to the upcoming royal nuptials of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton was lost in the mail. Or maybe you simply haven't the time to hop across the pond for the big event.

Not to worry. Now that palace officials have released the young couple's wedding cake choices, you can serve yourself a fat slice of royal life without leaving the kitchen.

One of the cakes being served at the April 29 wedding is a traditional iced (which is to say, frosted) English fruit cake. But making one is a bit of an involved process and it's already too late to have one ready in time. Plus, let's face it, fruit cake isn't a universal favorite here in the former colonies.

But what you can do is try the groom's cake that Prince William has chosen, a biscuit cake.

Biscuits in Britain are, of course, cookies, so what this amounts to is an unbaked confection of crumbled cookies and chocolate - quite an unconventional touch for such a high-society affair.

"I think it's a bit of fun, really," said Camilla Schneideman, managing director of the Leiths School of Food and Wine in London. "It's quite nice that this generation of the royal family has expressed their personalities; they've been much freer and able to lead a slightly more normal existence. I think this is an expression of that. He's having a bit of fun with it."

Tea and biscuits are a staple of British life, so the prince's choice is "something that a lot of people will be able to relate to," Schneideman said.

Having a groom's cake is quite unusual in Britain. It's not common on this side of the Atlantic, either, though it appears to be gaining popularity. There are numerous accounts of how this practice began, but it generally involves the serving of a second, smaller cake tailored to the groom's tastes.

The prince's cake will be made by bakers at the big British biscuit company, McVitie's, who it turns out have been making royal wedding cakes since the marriage of George V in 1893.

The traditional fruit cake, meanwhile, is being made by British pastry chef Fiona Cairns and will be decorated with a floral theme.

At the Leiths school, which is taking the day off for the wedding, Schneideman also thought both cakes sound good, and gave a spirited defense of the much-maligned fruit cake.

"Fine English fruit cake is one of the best things that you can eat," she said. "It's a delicious cake. It's just that it has had bad press because it's not always well made."

Want to try your hand at making a cake fit for a future king? Here's our recipe for a cake similar to the one Prince William has requested.


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