The Great Royal Bake-Off: Why the Windsors love to whip up a showstopper

·5-min read

Watch: What the royals really eat

As Britain prepares for a new series of The Great British Bake Off, currently slated for late September, it seems we commoners are not the only ones with an eye on the oven timer.

The royal ladies are keen bakers, too, it turns out, despite their armies of chefs and palace patissières. 

Even the Queen herself has been known to whip up a drop scone on the royal stove, while Camilla, Kate and Meghan are all dab hands at sponges and cupcakes.

The Duchess of Cornwall prepares to cut a cake to mark the
Camilla wields the cake knife – and she's no stranger to a showstopper bake. (Getty Images)

In fact, Camilla's son, Tom Parker Bowles, is a well known food writer and author of Fortnum and Mason, the Cookbook, and has explained that "Mum was a good cook" when he was growing up.

Now, the Duchess of Cornwall has unveiled her recipe for Victoria sponge (named after her husband's great-great-great grandmother). 

She shared her personal cake recipe to support the Poetry Together initiative launched by Gyles Brandreth, which brings children together with older people to share poetry, tea and cake. 

Read more: Here's what all the royals really eat in a day

Like former Bake Off presenter and national treasure Mary Berry, Camilla whisks all the ingredients together at once, in a time-saving move. She departs from the Baking Queen, however, with her suggested fillings of either lemon curd or Nutella with fresh cream. 

Both sound fabulous would please her mother in law the Queen, who is known to love chocolate. 

According to ex-royal chef Darren McGrady, Her Majesty also has a fondness for a light Genoise sponge served with lemon cheese, or jam. 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth cuts a Women's Institute Celebrating 100 Years cake, at the centenary annual meeting of The National Federation Of Women's Institute, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain June 4, 2015.   REUTERS/Chris Jackson/pool
The Queen celebrates 100 years of the Women's Institute with cake. Here's hoping it's a Genoise sponge inside. (Reuters)

Camilla isn't the only royal baker in the tent, however. The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, is known to enjoy cooking, and used to share recipes regularly on her old lifestyle blog, The Tig. 

Back in March, she surprised frontline workers in Chicago during a visit with a lemon olive oil cake she had baked using lemons from her garden in Montecito. A note added, "We hope you enjoy the offering we baked for you – our small token of thanks, from our home to yours."

Meghan revealed her love of baking on an official trip to Australia with Harry back in 2018, when she made a banana bread to take with her to visit a farming family. The recipe included ginger and chocolate chips, and apparently went down very well. 

The banana cake made by the Duchess of Sussex during her visit to a local farming family, the Woodleys in Dubbo, on the second day of the Royal couple's visit to Australia.
Meghan's homemade banana cake, presented during her visit to a local farming family, the Woodleys in Dubbo, Australia. (Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge, too, is a keen baker. Back in 2011, just after her marriage to Prince William, she visited the Institut de Tourisme et d’Hotellerie in Quebec on their first joint overseas tour. Kate enjoyed a cookery masterclass, featuring tempering chocolate and working with a piping bag. 

She has also made mince pies and cookies during a visit to Centrepoint in London, and even created Campfire Bread, on a visit to scout camp in Cumbria. She is joint president of the Scouting organisation, and has also been known to toast marshmallows.

Last Autumn, Kate enlisted her children, George, Charlotte and Louis, to help bake decorated cupcakes for the Royal British Legion. They were topped with neat swirls of white icing, and studded with edible poppies.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02: HRH Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, arranges cakes for a cream tea in the Wingfield kitchen during Day Five of The Championships - Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 02, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by AELTC/Thomas Lovelock - Pool/Getty Images)
Kate organises scones at Wimbledon earlier this summer. But which does she put on first, jam or cream? (Getty Images)

Kate enjoys eating the odd bake, too. Her favourite is sticky toffee pudding, according to chef Rody Warot at the Old Boot Inn in Berkshire, close to the Middleton family home. 

"Kate is always discreet and has always complimented the dishes with great kindness," he told People magazine. "For dessert, her favourite is sticky toffee pudding. It’s moist and spongy."

The Queen is keen on a sticky toffee too.

"The Queen loved this at Sandringham Palace when it was really cold outside," said McGrady. 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth sits in an open limousine beside President Dwight D.Eisenhower as they await the start of their motorcade into and through Washington, D.C. These were less perilous times when personal security for world leaders was less stringent
The Queen apparently baked drop scones for US president Dwight Eisenhower. (Getty Images)

Read more: The foods the royals are forbidden to eat - and the surprising ones they love

And yes, the Queen has been known to bake - though the last recorded instance was in 1959, when she made drop scones for US president Dwight Eisenhower and his wife Mamie during their stay at Balmoral.

After they headed off to the US, she sent them her personal recipe, writing: "Seeing a picture of you in today's newspaper, standing in front of a barbecue grilling quail, reminded me that I had never sent you the recipe of the drop scones which I promised you at Balmoral. I hope you will find them successful." 

She even included baking tips. "I have also tried using golden syrup or treacle instead of only sugar and that can be very good, too," she wrote. "I think the mixture needs a great deal of beating while making, and shouldn't stand about too long before cooking."

Well, as Queen, one does have an awful lot else to do. 

Watch: The royal family at Christmas

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