Six of the best party cakes by Harry and Meghan’s wedding-cake maker | Life and style

Raspberry vanilla cake

Prep 1 hr
Chill 2 hr+
Bake 1 hr
Serves 10-12

125g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
160g whole milk
6 tbsp raspberry jam

For the icing
120g fresh raspberries
500g icing sugar, sifted, plus 2 tbsp extra
1 tbsp milk
190g unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp kirsch
½ tsp lemon juice

You will need a piping bag with a large round nozzle for this recipe. Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2. Grease and line a deep 20cm cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, vanilla and salt, and mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder, then fold half into the butter. Add in the milk, then the remaining flour. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix once more. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, then remove from its tin by running a small paring knife along the inside of the tin to release the cake. Or, if you have used a loose-bottomed tin, set the base of the cake tin on top of a tin of tomatoes, or similar, and gently push the sides of the cake tin down.

To make the icing, puree the raspberries with the two tablespoons of icing sugar, then strain. Transfer to an electric mixer. Add the milk, butter and 250g of the icing sugar, and beat on low for three minutes. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until the icing is light but holds its shape. Mix in the kirsch and lemon juice.

Wash and dry the cake tin, and line with clingfilm with plenty lapping over the sides and set aside. Using a serrated bread knife (the longest one you have), score a horizontal line a third of the way up the side of the cake and then slowly cut the cake into thirds horizontally. Trim the top layer slightly if it is domed. Slide a tart tin base or cardboard disc between the bottom and middle layers of the cake, and lift off the top two layers on to a large plate. Slide the bottom layer of sponge into the lined cake tin and pipe a border of icing around the edge. Don’t worry if the icing touches the sides of the tin, as you are essentially creating a dam for the filling.

Smooth half the jam over, and pipe a few stripes of icing on top. This acts as a glue to adhere one cake to another and it also creates delicious pockets of jam and icing between the layers.Put the middle sponge on top and repeat the above process. Top with the third sponge, pull up the sides of clingfilm and wrap up the cake. Chill for at least two hours, or overnight before removing from the tin to ice the top and sides. Scatter with more berries and serve.

Lemon drizzle loaf

Lemon drizzle loaf.



Claire Ptak’s lemon drizzle loaf. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 1 hr
Bake 1 hr
Serves 8

265g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
265g caster sugar
3-4 lemons, zested
3 eggs
265g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
100g milk

For the lemon drizzle
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice

For the icing
250g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Grease a 25cm x 10cm loaf tin with butter and line the base and sides with parchment paper, to about 5cm above the top of the tin.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar well. Mix in the lemon zest, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix half of this into the creamed butter mixture, scraping down the sides, until barely combined.

With the mixer still going, beat in all the milk, then add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Scrape the bowl and give it one last mix.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top of the cake is springy and a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the lemon drizzle: in a small pan, heat the sugar, water and lemon juice until the sugar is just melted. Do not let it boil or it will lose its fresh flavour. While the cake is still in the tin, use a skewer to poke holes evenly throughout the baked loaf. Pour over the drizzle.

To make the icing, in a small bowl, whisk the icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Take the cake out of the tin: run a small paring knife along the inside of the tin, then tilt the tin on its side and coax the loaf out, using the parchment as a handle. Peel off the paper and turn the loaf on your cooling rack or worktop. Drizzle with the icing and let it drip down the sides, then use a spatula or a cake or tart tin base to lift the loaf on to a serving dish.

Summer spelt almond cake

Claire Ptak’s spelt almond cake.



Claire Ptak’s spelt almond cake. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 45 min
Bake 1 hr 10 min
Serves 8-10

175g butter, softened, plus more for greasing
175g light brown sugar
2 eggs
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
125g ground almonds
175g wholemeal spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
200g halved cherries, or whole berries
200g peaches or nectarines, sliced
2 tbsp caster sugar, for sprinkling
Rose petals, for scattering (optional)

For the icing (optional)
200g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp rose water

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Grease a 23cm cake tin with butter and line with parchment paper.

First make the sponge. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almonds, and mix to combine.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt, then gently beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.

Spread the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Scatter the cherries over the batter, then press the slices of peach into the top.

Sprinkle with the caster sugar and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back to the touch. Let the cake cool in its tin for about 15 minutes before turning it out on to a serving plate.

If using the icing, whisk the rose water into the icing sugar until smooth and runny. Drizzle this over the cooled cake, then scatter with garden rose petals, if you have them. This is best eaten on the day you bake it.

Honey and rose water madeleines

Claire Ptak’s honey and rose water madeleines.



Claire Ptak’s honey and rose water madeleines. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 1 hr
Bake 10-12 min
Makes 12

100g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
100g plain flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp rose water
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder

For the icing
2-3 tbsp rose syrup
200g icing sugar

You will need a 12-hole madeleine tin to make these. First, prepare the tin. Melt a good amount of butter and leave to cool slightly, then brush it into the tin and dust with flour. Put the tin in your freezer for five minutes or so, then repeat the process – if you are using a silicone mould, you can omit this second step. Keep the tin in the freezer until you are ready to use it.

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, carefully melt the butter, then take off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Add the honey to the butter to dissolve it, then add the rose water.

In a bowl, whisk the caster sugar and eggs until smooth, then whisk in the melted butter mix. In another bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder, then whisk these dry ingredients into the egg and butter mix until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the madeleines have formed a peak in their middles and the tops spring back to the touch. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a minute or two.

Meanwhile, make the icing: whisk the rose syrup into the icing sugar until smooth and runny.

Turn the madeleines out of the mould and dip them in the icing or drizzle over the top. Serve right away – they are best eaten within the hour. (Remember, you can make the madeleine mixture in advance and bake it just before you want to serve.)

Hazelnut toffee cake

Claire Ptak’s hazelnut toffee cake.



Claire Ptak’s hazelnut toffee cake. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 30 min
Makes 35-40 min
Serves 12-16

Butter, for greasing
350g dates, pitted and chopped
150g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped finely
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
200g oil
140g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
100g plain yoghurt

For the praline topping
50g hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
50g water
200g caster sugar

For the icing
4 tbsp water
300g icing sugar

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Grease two 18cm cake tins with butter and line with parchment. Mix the dates and hazelnuts in a bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugars until light and fluffy. Keep whisking and slowly drizzle in the oil.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the egg mixture and whisk for a few seconds to combine. Whisk in the yoghurt, then fold in the dates and hazelnuts.

Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cakes are baked but not dry. The tops of the cakes will not spring back as much as other cakes do because the dates make the mixture moist and dense in the best possible way. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins while you make the topping.

To make the topping, line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the hazelnuts on the tray. Put the tray on your worktop, near the hob. Have your icing ingredients nearby, as they will be needed as soon as the caramel is ready.

Put the water in a small, heavy-bottomed pan and sprinkle in the caster sugar. Bring to the boil and, just as the sugar starts to caramelise, pour half of it over the hazelnuts. Leave to cool and harden, then break into shards.

To make the icing, add the water to the remaining caramel in the pan, then pour the runny caramel from the pan into the icing sugar and whisk to a smooth paste. Add more water or icing sugar until it has the consistency of soft buttercream. Spread the icing on the cooled cakes and top with the shards of praline.

Pistachio and raspberry friands

Claire Ptak’s pistachio and raspberry friands.



Claire Ptak’s pistachio and raspberry friands. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 30 min
Bake 20 min
Serves 12-16

115g butter, melted, plus more for greasing
90g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
40g ground hazelnuts
40g ground pistachios
190g icing sugar
5 egg whites, lightly whisked
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g fresh raspberries (about 40-50)
50g slivered pistachios
Icing sugar, for dusting

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Butter a 12-16 hole friand or cupcake tin.

Weigh out all the first nine ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until foamy (about one minute).

Spoon the mixture into the moulds, filling them three-quarters full, then top each mould with two to three raspberries and sprinkle with the slivered pistachios.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are springy to the touch.

Leave the cakes to cool slightly in their moulds, then remove and dust with icing sugar. They will keep well in an airtight container for a few days.

  • Food styling: Sam Dixon. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins

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