Royal recipe for Bonfire Cake – William & Harry enjoyed it 'with lashings of custard'

A former royal chef has revealed he used to make a Bonfire Cake on November 5 at Buckingham Palace and Sandringham, which Princes William and Harry would enjoy with “lashings of custard”. Darren McGrady posted the recipe onto his YouTube channel, which has nearly 200,000 subscribers, where he reveals royal recipes and little anecdotes about working for the Queen and Princess Diana from 1982 to 1993. He said: “Bonfire cake is a delicious rough and rustic cake with a distinct muscovado toffee flavour, and apples glistening away like embers in the fire.


Eight oz self-rising flour
Four oz butter
Pinch of salt
Four oz muscovado sugar
One tsp cinnamon
One lb cooking apples
Six oz golden raisins
One egg
Three-quarter cup milk
One oz sugar for topping



Peel the apples and cut them into little dice – Darren recommends doing this the night before and putting them in the fridge.

Once the apples are all diced, then start making the batter that goes around it.

Start off with some self-rising flour and add the cinnamon, a little salt, and some sugar.

Darren said: “I’m using muscovado sugar. Muscovado sugar has that gorgeous molasses smell and flavour to it, it’s so rich – it’s just a holiday indulgence and it’s unrefined cane sugar that contains natural molasses.

“It’s got a rich brown colour and a real moist texture when it cooks – it smells absolutely gorgeous!”

Once all of those are mixed together, add the butter, try to get a room temperature.

Darren continued: “Don’t worry if they start to go brown, it won’t matter once they start cooking – no one will notice.”

When the butter is rubbed in, add the apples.

The chef added: “Apples were in abundance at Sandringham because King George VI, the Queen’s father, started an orchard there in the 1930s.”

Add in the milk, then the egg and then the raisins, and stir everything together.

Darren said: “We have boxes of apples delivered to the kitchens to supply the royal table all over Christmas and new year.”

Once all of the ingredients are mixed in, put it all on a grease tray.

Spread it out onto the tray so it’s nice and even and it cooks evenly.

Sprinkle some regular sugar over the top for a finishing touch.

Cook in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes and once it’s nice and firm on top you can insert a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.

Once it comes out of the oven it needs to cool down for about 20 minutes or so.

Darren added: “I like to serve mine as a royalty cake with some English clotted cream just slathered over the top.”

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