The Top Five Favourite Queen Elizabeth Cakes and Desserts
With news of the Queen’s passing, many people are trying to cling to those special moments along her 70 years of reign. She was known for her insatiable sweet tooth and excellent taste in chocolate and desserts, in general, so we wanted to honor her favourite Queen Elizabeth cakes and sweets. Let’s jump into some iconic moments of her life and innovative inventions over her life.
Five Favourite Desserts of the Queen
The lives of the royal family are always a bit mysterious, which is maybe part of their constant allure. But with TV shows like The Crown, and certain members of the family being more open to interviews, we are beginning to see beyond the veil. Darren McGrady was a chef for the royal family for 15 years and has had an open and enthusiastic attitude about sharing recipes and stories. We talk more about Darren’s reveal of Princess Diana’s favourite dessert in our Mother’s Day Desserts blog. For now, let’s discover the Queen’s top 5 favourite desserts:
- Chocolate Biscuit Cake
This is the dessert the Queen had the most! Darren McGrady said that the Queen would ask for this cake almost every day for tea. This cake has a few variations, as it migrated around the world but likely evolved from trifle or the Charlotte cake (which is a form of trifle that first showed up around the late 18th century). It is a type of a tea cake that is made with biscuits and, for the Queen’s version, layered chocolate. Darren has even graciously shared the official recipe for the cake itself! Some similar iterations or even other names for chocolate biscuit cakes are the zebra cake, chocolate ripple cake, fridge cake, graham cake, and perhaps most popularly, icebox cake.
Prince Harry, the Queen’s grandson, also fell in love with this dessert when he would visit his grandmother for tea. He loved it so much, in fact, that he had it as his groom’s cake at his wedding. A groom’s cake is a wedding tradition coming from Victorian England where there would be a second wedding cake to enjoy reflecting the groom’s tastes. There are a few bizarre superstitions with this cake, including single women taking pieces home and keeping them under their pillows. Sleeping with the cake was meant to summon a husband… with varying levels of success. We have an entire blog about the extravagant world of Royal Wedding Cakes if you need some more tea on royal wedding desserts!
- Chocolate Mousse
As the story of the daily chocolate biscuit cake might suggest, the Queen loved her chocolate. And when she wasn’t able to indulge in her absolute favourite, McGrady prepared her a more portable one: a whiskey chocolate mousse. Because the Queen loved dark chocolate the most, McGrady would use Drambuie whiskey. He said all the flavours mixed together perfectly.
Official Drambuie Whiskey Chocolate Mousse (Official Drambuie Website)
Although the exact origin of mousse isn’t known, the first iterations of this dessert were in the mid-18th century. Funny enough, they were actually in a frozen format! One person who popularised the French recipe as it is known today was French Art-Nouveau painter, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He was very passionate about food and gastronomy and altered a recipe to create mayonnaise de chocolate in the late 19th century. There is a memoir cookbook, The Art of Cuisine, which has some of his eccentric (and sometimes more demure) recipes.
- Lemon Posset Pudding
Posset is a very old dessert tracing back to the 16th century. It was used as a remedy, especially for minor ailments like colds. Wine or ale, and spices were added to curdled milk and everything would set into a pudding-like consistency. Lemon has a strong association with its antibacterial qualities, so it was a popular ingredient to have in this traditionally immune-boosting treat. The Queen loved Lemon Posset Pudding so much, that she even had it at her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947!
Many years later, in February of 2022, the Queen celebrated her 70 years of her service with a Platinum Jubilee. The department store, Fortnum & Mason, hosted a contest to decide the dessert that would be served at the event. A copywriter and hobbyist baker, Jemma Melvin had the brilliant idea of reworking the Lemon Posset Pudding with a dessert that was important to her own family: the trifle. She created a Lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle that is now known as the Platinum Jubilee Trifle. This dessert is sure to go down in royal and British history.
- The Mint Ice Cream Bombe Royale
A Bombe Glacée is a frozen dessert that is created in a dome shape to mimic a cannonball, that first showed up as a recipe around the late 19th century. The Bombe Glacée Royale, also known as the Bombe Glacée Princesse Elizabeth, is a chocolate mint version of this classic dessert. This is yet another treat on our list that the Queen served at her wedding. To learn firsthand from Darren McGrady, watch this 10 min video about making the original bombe for world leaders when they visited the Buckingham Palace.
There is an interesting discrepancy in the use of the word “pudding” in British English vernacular. Although it can mean a sort of custard-like treat, pudding in the UK also refers to any sweet course after the main meal; usually the final course. Author and essayist Nancy Mitford suggested that using pudding in this context was a difference in class; the elite used “pudding” to describe their dessert. So, it depends on a few things, but many people call this sweet a Bombe Glacée Royale Pudding, even though it’s mostly ice cream!
- Queen Elizabeth Cakes
This very popular cake is moist and topped with brown sugar and broiled coconut. It rose to popularity especially in Canada in the 1950s because it was served at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. This gave it a very sophisticated and fancy status that was accessible to many people. The fact that it was made out of accessible and affordable ingredients, especially during a difficult financial time in history, raised it to fame quickly.
This cake has a bit of a mysterious origin but is named after the Queen herself! One would think that the history of desserts would be straightforward. But that isn’t always the case, especially if recipes are not written down or published. It’s part of the fun and mystery! A popular story about Queen Elizabeth Cake is that it was invented solely for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. This story goes that Queen Elizabeth II was making this cake herself and it was even called the Princess Elizabeth Cake before her coronation as Queen.
It’s special to know that all these desserts were favourite Queen Elizabeth Cakes and now they are so accessible to make or find near you! If you’ve got a sweet tooth or you are a chocoholic like the Queen, why not try one of these sweets out? You can maybe find a new favourite yourself.