The Sweet Story Behind Lilibet's Royal Birthday Cake

While the Sussexes have been fixtures in the news lately between Queen Elizabeth's passing, their six-part Netflix docuseries, and Harry's memoir, like any other family, they took time to celebrate their daughter Lilibet's first birthday in June with a royal cake. Like the two billion people who reportedly watched the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel, the first birthday for the granddaughter of Princess Diana was well documented.

The couple's nuptials back in 2018 were an elegant affair with traditions shared by many commoners who tie the knot. The couple's wedding cake was made with flour, eggs, and butter, just like the rest of us. Breaking from tradition, the couple chose a lemon and elderflower wedding cake adorned with flowers instead of the traditional fruit cake covered in marzipan and white icing enjoyed at previous royal weddings. According to Town and Country, fruit cake is the conventional choice since the dense cake will "last long enough to be served at the couple's first child's christening" (No pressure there).

East London-based baker Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes bakery was tasked with creating the history-making multi-tiered confection for the wedding. Taking to Instagram, Ptak expressed her gratitude for the opportunity, citing the "same values regarding food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and of course, flavour" as the reason behind Markle's decision to pick Violet Cakes. When it was time to choose Lilibet's birthday cake, naturally, the Sussexes once again relied on Ptak for a strawberry pink confection befitting a princess.

Comparison of the two cakes

Julia Child is often quoted as saying, "A party without cake is just a meeting" (though it's never been verified, via Boston Globe). In 2021 the global cake market was $44.91 billion, with an estimated annual growth of 3.3%. The need to celebrate with cake is on the rise (per Reports and Data). 

To celebrate the first birthday of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, the couple and Lilibet's big brother, Archie, enjoyed a country picnic on the grounds of their former residence, Frogmore Cottage, surrounded by family and friends. According to the Daily Mail, Lilibet, born on June 4, 2021, is eighth in the line of succession to the throne of England. After the event, Ptak again took to Instagram to share the details of the royal birthday cake. 

To mark the occasion, Ptak recreated the beautiful multi-tiered wedding cake she baked four years earlier, in 2018, for Harry and Meghan's wedding, an Amalfi lemon and elderflower cake. Instead of white buttercream, however, Ptak frosted Lilibet's cake in pale pink-hued strawberry buttercream. According to Town and Country, both cakes were inspired by the flavors of spring and decorated with flowers. Lilibet's two-tier cake was adorned with shades of pink roses and topped with an orange banner that read "Lilibet." Ptak, like Markle, grew up in California before moving to England in 2005. She worked as a pastry chef at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse and bakes using seasonal and organic ingredients.