The finished royal wedding cake. Image courtesy of Violet bakery
Pastry chef Claire Ptak recently went through what could be described as the most high-stress cake-making experience of her life. The California-born Ptak runs an East London-based bakery called Violet and was selected to make the cake for the British royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The entire world was captivated by what the cake would look and taste like. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Ptak said she had “nightmares” about what would happen on the big day.

“I needed to be sure the icing was going to stand up to the atmosphere it was in,” she said. “I knew the fresh buttercream was going to be hard to keep looking stable in a warm room with 600 people. It’s so soft and so fresh that it was the most stressful part of [making] the cake. I had nightmares about it sliding off the table.”

Ptak’s lemon elderflower cake broke from tradition, as the customary royal wedding dessert is a fruitcake. Many were ecstatic with this news, as the cake appeared more lively and tasty than a fruitcake would have been. It featured bright flavors of spring and fresh flower decorations. The cake took nearly a week for her team to complete, and it made it to the wedding without any unfortunate incidents.

“We had six people working five days straight to prepare the cakes to make sure they were alright,” Ptak said. “We’d iced and finished it and it was kept chilled until the last possible minute when my head baker and I set it up three-and-a-half hours before the service. It took two hours to assemble.”

Now, she and her team have returned to their normal routine and can be at ease knowing they made it through the high-stakes situation.

“It has been the most amazing journey, incredible, and there have been many moments I have had to pinch myself. When I realized the whole world was watching. I was like, ‘O.K. a little bit of pressure here,’” Ptak said. “Now it’s back to reality with a bump. I’ve just had to do some decorating at the bakery because we moved a sink so the last couple of days I’ve had the paint out. It’s a bit of a contrast.”