The Invitations Are in the Mail & Cake Details Revealed

We are back with a look at two key elements of the wedding: the invitations and the wedding cake. We begin with the invitations.

Today Kensington Palace released photos of them, along with details about the company printing them. Roughly 600 invitations have been mailed, inviting guests to the noon service at St. George’s Chapel and the lunchtime reception at St George’s Hall. The invitations were made by royal warrant holders Barnard and Westwood, the same company that printed William and Kate’s invitations. They were made using American ink printed on British card stock. Below, 24-year-old Lottie Small working on the invitations. This video offers a quick look at the printing process.

Ms. Small recently finished her apprenticeship at the company and printed all of the invitations on a machine dating to the 1930s.  More from ITV’s Chris Ship:

It took her two days to print all the invitations on a die-stamping press which Lottie said she has nicknamed, “Maude”. “The worst thing is keeping it from my mum”, she said, adding “with anything else, she’d be the first person I would call.”

The invitations come from Prince Charles; you can see the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales in gold ink at the top. Many noticed that they read “Ms. Meghan Markle,” not Rachel Meghan Markle, Meghan’s full name. We are presuming that was done at the bride’s request.

Dress for the event is specified as “uniform, morning coat or lounge suit” (a lounge suit is a business suit) for the men, and “day dress with hat” (non-evening gown) for women attending the events. Emily Andrews of The Sun noted on Twitter “I expect we’ll see in his Captain General uniform of the Royal Marines.”     Kensington Palace also tweeted “Later that evening, around 200 guests are being invited to the reception at Frogmore House given by The Prince of Wales.”

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Now to a tastier topic (groan): Kensington Palace announced yesterday that Meghan and Harry’s wedding cake will be created by Claire Ptak of London’s Violet Bakery. Ms. Ptak was raised in California. The announcement was made by Kensington Palace and also posted by Ms. Ptak on Instagram; the baker wrote “Kinda excited to announce this one!” Meghan and Harry are having a lemon elderflower cake “that will incorporate the bright flavours of spring. It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers” according to the Palace. Below, a look at an Elderflower Sponge cake on the bakery’s Instagram.

The bakery uses organic, seasonal ingredients in its products, something that fits well with Meghan’s interest in supporting ethical, sustainable businesses. Meghan has known the Chef for some time, she interviewed her for a post on The Tig, Meghan’s lifestyle website in September 2015.

From Meghan’s interview with Claire – The Tig, September 4, 2015:

“Oh, Violet Cakes Bakery – you get me every single time. Pastry Chef Claire Ptak has hit the nail on the head with her London bakery serving up delightful treats that have garnered a cult following (in that ever so civilized British way) in the UK and beyond.

Jamie Oliver has said Chef Ptak’s cake is his “favorite cake in the world,” and with her background as former pastry chef at Chez Panisse with (holy grail of Cali farm to table cooking) Alice Waters as her mentor, we can understand why. Chef Ptak runs in the food world’s A List, counting her pals as the chefs and owners of swoon-worthy Estela in NY, our favs at Gjusta in LA, and SF’s Tartine and Chez Panisse.

Plus, she’s in Edible Selby – so, as you can imagine, I’m fan girling mighty hard over Ms. Claire. With the upcoming release of The Violet Bakery Cookbook, Chef Ptak shares some of her most coveted recipes, including this one for her chocolate oat agave cookies. I mean….don’t even get me started, just get me baking. These are soon to be legendary cookies that everyone will be begging for. Thanks Claire, and cheers to happy hearts and full bellies, friends!

We’ll come back to those cookies a bit later.

The chef has published several books. Her most recent is the Violet Bakery Cookbook ($15.99 for Kindle edition, $30 for hardcover).

More from my friend Micki Maynard in this Forbes article:

Claire Ptak is already someone the baking world knows well. Her East London shop, Violet Cakes, has been drawing pastry lovers since it opened in 2010.

Her mentor, Alice Waters, wrote the forward to The Violet Bakery Cookbook, a 2015 favorite among baking buffs on both sides of the Atlantic. Ptak is also a well-known food stylist and writer for publications including The Guardian and British Vogue.

Below, an image styled by Ms. Ptak as shown on the bakery’s website section.

From Claire during Meghan’s interview in The Tig:

“These cookies are deeply satisfying. Oaty and chocolatey in equal measure, they are sweetened only with agave nectar. There is, of course, a small amount of sugar in the chocolate itself, so you could replace the chocolate with cacao nibs or use chocolate made with 100 percent cocoa solids.
We used to call this “the vegan cookie,” but found that non-vegans wanted to try it, too. It is made with gluten-free oats and other gluten-free flours (if you can’t find oat flour, just pulverize rolled oats in a food processor). We substitute flaxseed for the eggs, because the flax meal thickens the dough and binds it together in the same way eggs do, and instead of butter and milk, we use vegetable oil and shredded apples. Once we changed the name, these cookies remained popular with our loyal vegan and sugar-free customers, but new fans caught on, too.
Below we include the recipe from Claire as it first appeared on The Tig.
WARNING – cravings will begin in 3…2….1….
Instagram @violetcakeslondon

Chocolate Oat Agave Cookies

Makes 12 large cookies

190g (1 ¾ cups) oat flour
50g (6 tablespoons) chickpea flour
30g (3 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons) arrowroot flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon potato flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
30g (¼ cup) ground flaxseeds
100g (¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon) agave nectar
150g (⅔ cup) vegetable oil
75g (2 ½ ounces) apple, peeled, cored, and processed in a food processor
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
150g (5 ounces) dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids), broken into small pieces”

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F (160°C/320°F convection). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, mixing them well.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, vegetable oil, apple, and vanilla, then pour into the dry ingredients and stir in the chocolate pieces to combine.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or a couple of dessert spoons, scoop portions of the cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet, then use the underside of a glass or a measuring cup to press them into 1 cm (1⁄2 inch) thick disks.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden color, crisp on the outside and still slightly soft on the inside.
  • These cookies keep very well in an airtight container for up to a week. The unbaked cookies also freeze well.

Have they invented “smell-o-net” yet? If you can imagine the smell of warm chocolate gooey cookies right about now…

The chef also does a popular podcast. More from the website:
Violet Sessions is my podcast project where I chat with interesting women who do incredible things, exploring culture, creativity, work and lifestyle.I started the podcast in an effort to get to know a little more about some of the amazing women who walk through the door at Violet every day.
LINKAGE:

6 Comments

  1. Julie March 22, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    I got hooked on Elderfower cordial on a visit to the UK many years ago. For years I could only find Elderflower presse at IKEA. Trader Joe’s now offers a delicious Lemon Elderflower soda in small cans. Very refreshing.
    Frogmore House is a beautiful venue. I keep hoping HRH will “gift” Frogmore to the couple as she did Amner Hall to William and Kate. It’s close to the Queen as she spends more time at Windsor and, as a home, needs to be lived in.

  2. Simone March 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    When I visited Violet Bakery back in 2012, a friend and I ate an assortment of cookies and cakes, but we were particularly thrilled with the macaroons. They just melted in our mouths. I look forward to visiting Violet Bakery when I travel to London for the wedding in May (not a wedding guest, but I’ll be a guest in spirit).

  3. Lauri March 22, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Oh my goodness why did you include the cookie recipe?! You’re killing me here!! Lol

    I am loving all these great wedding day details! The invitations are so classic and elegant! I can only imagine how exciting it would be to see that beautiful envelope in one’s mailbox!!

    I agree Julie, I would love to see the Queen gift Harry and Meghan Frogmore House! It was reported that they weren’t going to be able to have their reception there, so I’m very glad to see that’s not true. The press sure can come up with some interesting stories sometimes.

  4. Karen March 23, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Loved the video on the printing process and that cake recipe is to die for!

  5. Maluhia March 23, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    That is so cool about the cake coming from a “sustainable” bakery. I am loving Meghan’s influence and priorities!

  6. AV March 27, 2018 at 2:01 am

    Scrumptious! Can I just say that I am secretly hoping that Meghan chooses Victoria Beckham to design her wedding dress? I have a massive soft spot for VB. I think she has distinguished herself mightily, and it would be a profound statement for both women. Girl power! etc.!

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