The Luton branch of the British Sugarcraft Guild is fizzing with excitement at the prospect of a unique commission – recreating a replica of a tier of the Queen’s 1947 wedding cake.
The original was made by Peak Frean and delivered to Buckingham Palace in a specially modified car, driven at walking pace to avoid damage.
The company also kept a full size replica at their biscuit factory but squatters gained access after the building was vacated and trashed it, rebuilding the iconic cake upside down and splashing it with red paint.
Peak Frean then approached the Guild to make a new one and Region 7 – Chiltern Hills and East Anglia, including the Luton branch – was tasked with making the third tier.
Region 7 secretary Suzanne Ware said: “We’re all very excited by the project – and we’re hoping it will be completed in time for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s 70th wedding anniversary in November.
“We have about 24 volunteers going to a special workshop in Milton Keynes on March 18.”
The former IT tutor and mum-of-two from Leagrave is a dab hand at royal icing which takes skill and patience. She explained: “It has to be layered, making sure there are no bubbles. It’s a slow exacting process. There are trees on the top of our tier which will be royal iced with a pressure pipe to look like bark and branches. Leaves will be added on top and we’ve taken poetic licence to use little flowers, made of sugar paste which is quite elastic. It’s much quicker and easier to do, and more cost effective.
“There are also six pillars on each of the four sides. They’re hollow and will be formed round large knitting needles and made from pastillage, a sugar paste base that dries incredibly hard.
“There are coats of arms in between the pillars and Warwick University has made us 3D printed molded parts to work from.”
Several companies have sponsored the project and a Queen’s Cake Committee was set up, taking comprehensive measurements and notes on techniques used in the original.
The British Sugar Guild has been provided with 3D replicas of all the delicate plaques on each of the tiers.
The level of detail is amazing and is a perfect example of how modern technology and a traditional craft can work together to create a historic work of sugar art.
Suzanne has been a member of the Guild for 25 years and initially thought some form of qualification would be required. “But all you need is an interest,” she said. “We share information, knowledge and skills and I’ve made a wide circle of friends.”