For the past 8 months it has been part of my job to stand in the crown room at Edinburgh Castle informing people about the rich history of the Scottish Crown Jewels as well as making sure nobody tries to steal them.
In awe of the craftsmanship that went into the crown I decided that I would attempt to follow in the footsteps of the royal goldsmith, John Mosman and attempt to make my very own crown…in the form of cake!
Crafted in its present form for James V in 1540, his daughter Mary Queen of Scots was the first person to be crowned in it in 1543 at the mere age of 9 months old.
The crown is made out of Scottish gold and encrusted with a number of various precious and semi precious stones such as garnets, topaz, amethysts, quartz, diamonds and pearls! The fur base is made out of ermine (the winter coat of a stoat) and the material is red velvet. I have uploaded a photo above of the real thing for those of you that haven’t seen it before.
While unfortunately my budget was could only stretch to sponge, icing and jelly sweets rather gold, diamonds and pearls, I would like to think that I tackled it’s creation with the same care and attention as John Mosman did when he fashioned the crown over 450 years ago. Although it has to be said that if I never have to make anther sugar paste pearl again, I will be happy.
The sponge is just your classic sugar, butter, eggs and flour (plus a bit of vanilla extract) job. Just like a birthday cake I did buttercream and jam in between the layers. I then carved the sponge and covered it in buttercream icing, then a layer of fondant icing. I left the bottom layer just covered in the buttercream icing to try and get a fur effect.
The other accoutrements are all made out of sugar paste, fondant and jelly sweets. I also invested in some gold and pearl lustre dust that was brilliant at giving the pearls and the gold band a bit of a shimmer. At the end of the day there was only a tiny bit left so I presume it went down well with all of my colleagues.
Maybe next time I should attempt the whole of Edinburgh Castle in cake form? Now that would be something.