We all like to feel like royalty on our birthdays, but it turns out we don’t need to be lavished with expensive gifts to celebrate like Queen Elizabeth, who turns 94 today. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, all it takes is a simple chocolate cake!
In a recent video, McGrady describes Queen Elizabeth as a “chocoholic” and shares how to whip up the same cake she enjoys each year. As the reigning monarch, she digs into the delicious dessert on two separate occasions: Her actual birthday, April 21, and then again when the whole country comes together for an official celebration on the second Saturday of June. “This year she’ll be 94… or 188,” McGrady jokes.
Although the recipe is loaded up with plenty of chocolate, it wasn’t developed with Elizabeth’s sweet tooth in mind. It’s been passed down in the royal family dating all the way back to Queen Victoria, over 100 years ago. “If it was good enough for Queen Victoria and her chef, it’s good enough for me,” McGrady explains before calling it a “real chocolate birthday cake” with oh-so decadent layers of sponge cake, ganache, glaze icing, and extra frosting — all filled with plenty of cocoa.
The royal recipe creates a pretty large confection, but Elizabeth apparently doesn’t invite the whole family over to help her eat it on her actual birthday. “Most of the time, the queen celebrates on her own or with Prince Philip, or a lady-in-waiting, or friend,” McGrady reveals. We understand wanting to keep things low key, especially since she has the bigger shindig to look forward to a few weeks later.
Elizabeth also doesn’t use her big day as an excuse to eat the whole thing in one sitting. She only takes a small slice and spends about a week slowly finishing it off. You also won’t find any candles sticking out of the icing for her to blow out, either, just a simple “happy birthday” message (also made of chocolate).
On top of his royal stories, McGrady also shares cooking tips, like how to cut the cake into nice, even layers. Take a look:
Now you can bake up your own royal-worthy birthday cake to treat yourself like a queen this year, too!