Food & Drink

A birthday celebration fit for a queen

Britain’s Prince William holds his son Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, second from right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales, left, and Prince Harry, right, during the Trooping the Colour parade at Buckingham Palace in London, June 13, 2015.
Britain’s Prince William holds his son Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, second from right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales, left, and Prince Harry, right, during the Trooping the Colour parade at Buckingham Palace in London, June 13, 2015. AP

Though Queen Elizabeth II’s actual 90th birthday was in April, the official celebration will be marked Saturday with plenty of pageantry, pomp and circumstance all over Britain. Her majesty will travel by carriage in a traditional military parade before appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in all of her royal glory.

Locally, The British Emporium will host a toast to the queen at noon Saturday. Guests can enjoy light refreshments, hear a guitarist play God Save the Queen and sign a large birthday card that will be sent to Buckingham Palace. A retired Grenadier Guard will also share stories about his experiences serving her majesty.

And, about 1 p.m., corgis — the queen’s favorite pet — will be on parade in front of the store. Owners can dress their dogs in their finest British costumes, and “best dressed” dog and owner will receive a commemorative gift from the day.

The British Emporium is at 140 N. Main St. in Grapevine; 817-421-2311, www.british-emporium.com.

Royalists hosting their own parties will want to have the queen’s favorite birthday cake on hand for the occasion. Darren McGrady, former Buckingham Palace chef to the royal family, shares the time-honored recipe for the classic chocolate cake, which dates to Queen Victoria’s tenure in the 19th century.

McGrady, who now lives in Plano and serves the DFW area as a personal chef and caterer, fine-tuned the recipe for Queen Elizabeth II and says every member of the family requests the cake, which is always to simply say “Happy Birthday.”

The recipe appears in his cookbook, Eating Royally (Thomas Nelson, $24.99).

FoodNews McGrady QueensCake
Royal birthday cake from ‘Eating Royally’ by Darren McGrady Thomas Nelson

Chocolate birthday cake

Makes about 10 portions

“Any leftover frosting can be chilled, then rolled into balls and dipped in cocoa powder, coconut or nibbed almonds. Eat these truffles outright or use them to decorate the top of your cake,” chef Darren McGrady says in “Eating Royally.”

For the filling:

  • 1 pound Ghirardelli dark chocolate
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream

For the sponge cake:

  •  1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

1. At least 6 hours before baking the cake, prepare the filling: Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate and bring to boil  1/2 pint (1 cup) of the cream. Pour cream onto chocolate and whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until set.

2. Make the cake: Sieve flour and cocoa together and set aside.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch sponge tin with parchment paper and grease.

4. Set a pot (large enough to hold a mixing bowl) half-full of hot water on the stove and bring water to a boil.

5. In a mixing bowl, add eggs, yolks and sugar and whisk together. Place over pot of hot water to allow the mixture to heat up. Whisk egg mixture until it doubles in volume, then fold in butter and flour-cocoa mixture. Spoon mix into the cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until the sponge springs back when pressed. Remove from oven onto a cooling rack.

6. Melt remaining 8 ounces of chocolate and bring to boil the remaining 1/2 pint of cream. Pour cream onto chocolate, whisk until smooth and then set aside, off the heat.

7. Slice sponge into three discs. Spread chilled filling onto the bottom two discs and reassemble the cake. Add the remaining filling to the hot chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Place cake back onto the cooling wire and ladle the topping over the sponge, allowing it to run down the sides. Cool the cake for at least 2 hours before decorating and serving.

Nutritional analysis per portion: 544 calories, 41 grams fat, 46 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 248 milligrams cholesterol, 90 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 63 percent of calories from fat.

Chef Darren McGrady, 214-293-4516, www.eatingroyally.com

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