Peace with a piece of cake

It was unknown to Marie-Antoinette that the words „Let them eat cake“ would become one of the most memorable quotes in history ever said.

Whether or not these words are true or have been transformed, they have truly made an impact during the French Revolution.

In Marie-Antoinette’s mind, eating cake or sweets were her reply to happiness and doing so would solve the upheaval occurring in France and make peace.

With the conquering of lands, mixed Mariages of Royalty brought the creation of new Empires allowing trade of new and exotic foods from worldwide, thus bringing together a wealth of culinary cultures through the unity of families and their traditions. The world was becoming a smaller place.

Most of our fondest and memorable memories will always be with that celebration cake. Many an evening or party have been a success due to the arrival of the cake.

A celebration of union between a couple cutting their wedding cake together. This first act of love and sharing.

Even though the styles change through the years the cake is still the final symbol of happiness, sharing and love.

My career started when I saw my mum making roses from royal icing for my Aunties wedding cake. I was only 4 at the time. We lived in a small village just outside of Manchester U.K. Years later I saw the wedding cake of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, seeing such beauty I knew then that this was my chosen career path making cakes for the Royal court.

I did my studies in the north of England and won a scholarship to study and eventually work in Switzerland. This gave me the opportunity to work in Germany, Spain, Israel, Japan and America. Allowing me to enrich my knowledge in cultures, language and different styles of pastry and cake decorating, eventualy creating my own style and signature.

Arriving in Belgium 30 years ago where I now live, I realised my dream was slowly coming true.

My First Royal Appointment was to make the Royal wedding cake for H.R.H. King Philippe and Her Majesty Queen Mathilde whom were prince and princess at the time.

A cake soon followed for the 50th Birthday celebrations of Princess Astrid and only recently a cake to celebrate the 80th Birthday of Queen Paola. This cake was truly special due to the creation of 80 roses from sugar, a true copy of Roselitta a rose named in honour of her majesty. Pale green was her favourite colour with beetle insects to copy Jan Fabre’s ceiling in the Royal Palace of Brussels.

A cake has to be personal. That cake was a true success with all the members of the royal family and close friends present and all could see the joy and overwhelmed happiness from her majesty.

I also give a lot of my spare time to help charity’s and foundations, with cake of course. Often on the agenda is to visit the children’s hospital with Princess Lea of Belgium while doing fun little workshops decorating cakes. These children are quite often seriously sick and collaborating with them creates a peaceful mind and lots of joy; the most heartwarming experience.

A yearly cake commission from the British embassy in Brussels is always a true honour and privilege to celebrate H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II Birthday. The party is held at the British Residence. The cake has now become one of the main focal points of the evening and much talked about before and after. Each year being a new challenge, last years theme was purple to represent the three generations of the British Monarchy; the previous year was inspired by blue sapphire, 65 years on the throne.

It was during one of these events at the American embassy I was kindly asked to make a cake to celebrate the Austrian Imperialis „FLAME OF PEACE“. This was going to be celebrated in the castle of Schönbrunn, Vienna, home of Marie-Antoinette.

The cake took 3 months to create. Although two months before this event I was commissioned for another cake.

although this was much smaller than the one for Schönbrunn it was equally important. The cake was for the Justice Palace of Peace in The Hague. There was an award ceremony and it was fitting to have a cake to celebrate.

This is where „PEACE, WITH A PIECE OF CAKE“ started, being the first cake to be presented and served for peace in the palace.

I remember when cutting the cake which is my adapted version of H.R.H. Queen Elisabeth II favourite chocolate recipe, tears were brought to the eyes of our host Herta and Sandor Habsburg-Lothringen. A heart appeared in the cake and I was informed that the cake was the same she remembered from her childhood which brought back many wonderful memories.

With the cake for Schönbrunn, a dream came true and it was truly a huge challenge to create. Knowing that this was the first ever Royal reception to be held in the palace for 100 years. The royal family from Bahrain and their premier minister were among the distinguished guests to support world peace.

The show piece cake was ornately decorated to fit in with the style of the opulently decorated state room. I was inspired by the Austrian architecture, baroque and the famous Bergel rooms beautifuly painted with trompe de l’œil, a pleasure for Empress Sisi.

The show piece cake of 3 meters high, with colour of the exterior castle, was crowned with the flame of peace and the Austrian Crest and adorned with nation flowers made from sugar. The cake was truly delicious, moist chocolate filled with a light cream and chestnuts. It was dressed with white chocolate and gold lace. Adorned with a small marzipan

flame and gold leaf for the final touch the Austrian crest was also painted gold.

Each guest received to take home an individual portion which was beautifully wrapped like a jewel. For this achievement and creation I received the Gold medal from the flame of peace, recognised by the Austrian government.

250 years after Marie-Antoinette left her beloved home Schönbrunn for Versailles, THE PIECE OF CAKE FOR PEACE was finally created for the flame of peace celebration. Marie-Antoinette was probably correct saying „Let them eat cake“ with a PEACE of cake.

You may be asking what is next for peace. I am striving forward; a cake was made for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the 60th Birthday for Benelux and a future project, a cake for the Army Blue Casks to celebrate an award ceremony for peace to be held in Brussels in October.

By Michael Lewis-Anderson

Known as the CAKE KING