#NadiyaBakes: What it’s really like to make the Queen’s birthday cake

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  • In the latest post in her exclusive #NadiyaBakes blog, Bake Off winner Nadiya shares what it was like to make the Queen’s birthday cake – at the same time as buying a house and planning her dream kitchen…
    These last few weeks there has been one thing and one thing only on my mind. I have the privilege and honour of being able to say that I was asked to make the Queen’s 90th birthday cake. I had to sit down and wonder whether it was all one big joke, but I realised that it was real and the opportunity missed would be a massive regret. Not that I would ever have been able to say no to the Queen, so despite my reservations, I did say yes.

    But from there on in, I have been mega busy abroad and working every day. It has been a mixture of juggling work and all my different projects, all of which involve a serious amount of baking time.

    “My heart wants a bespoke, pastel-hued, rose gold-tapped, bunting-draped calm of kitchen…”

    I’m also in the process of buying a house and trying to work out what kind of kitchen I really want. My heart wants a bespoke, pastel-hued, rose gold-tapped, bunting-draped calm of kitchen, with decorative copper pans and vintage rose cups. What my heart doesn’t know is that my dream is costly in time and pocket! My head wants a functional kitchen, easy to clean surfaces, mixer taps, splash back tiles, with worktop space and fully integrated. My head wins. It easier, quicker and cheaper.

    “The biggest job I will ever have to do was looming”

    As I wholeheartedly tried to distract myself from the task in hand, I realised the biggest job I will ever have to do was looming and so it was time to crack on. I dithered for days about size, colour, shape and style. I decided originally to go for something traditional and then decided to go the other end of the spectrum and go ultra modern and bold. Hence the choice filling and style. The cake was 12 cakes sandwiched with a layer of orange drizzle and it was sandwiched with marmalade and vanilla butter cream.

    My inspiration for colour was the Queen herself. Never one to shy away from a bold colour, I wanted to be brave in the colour I chose and so went for a deep purple, with a minimal design and style. The day of the Queen’s 90th birthday was a blur for me, from waking up and giving the cake to the courier to the whole event itself. I felt like the whole day was a mixture of emotions, nerves and happiness. I have never, ever been close enough to a parade to know what the hype was all about and then I was catapulted into the centre of it all. The atmosphere was electric; people had smiles on their face.

    “The 9 year old inside me went to sleep very happy that night”

    I remember when I was 9 years old, a young boy from my school won a writing competition and was invited to meet the Queen. I remember feeling very jealous and tried to win any competition that might allow me to meet her. I grew up and never really yearned to meet her. But it’s safe to say that on 21 April, the 9 year old inside me re-emerged and she went to sleep very happy that night.


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