The Royal Chef Walked Us Through The Queen's Very Favorite Cake Recipe

It's a recipe that's been in the fam for, like, many generations.

Darren McGrady was the personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Princes William and Harry—a family with notoriously specific food needs—for 15 years. In 1998, he moved to the U.S.A. where he wrote best-selling cookbooks and founded Eating Royally, a fine-dining catering service based in Dallas, TX.

In the second installment of this limited series, Chef McGrady walks us through the royals' favorite recipes from his Dallas test kitchen...while spilling all the most glorious royal tea. We talked all things Queen Elizabeth (again!) this time around.


We so enjoyed learning all about the Queen's eating habits a few months back that we asked Chef McGrady to revisit his time with her again in a second video, this time dedicated to her favorite sweet indulgence. He ran us through her favorite chocolate cake recipe (she has more than one she enjoys on a semi-regular basis!) and why its one that's been on her radar for a long time.

Firstly, the cake in question is a family heirloom of sorts. It's an untouched recipe that originated with Queen Victoria's kitchen staff (for those who aren't super familiar with British monarchy history, Queen V was Queen E's paternal great-great-grandmother who reigned from 1837 to 1901).

Twice a year, on both Lilibet's actual birthday and her ascension-to-the-throne birthday (this is why she has two, if you wondered), she expects this ganache-covered cake. It comes to her exactly the way it came to her great-great-grandma: topped with chocolate decorations and sans candles. For all 11 years Chef made the Queen this cake, he appreciated the history of the dessert and understood why she was so fond of it, but he never was sure of one thing: why the chocolate plaque placed on top of it said nothing more than "Happy Birthday!" No "HBD HRH," or "Let's PARTY, Liz!!"

Tradition's tradition, I suppose.

Per Town and Country: "McGrady reveals when the Queen travels to Windsor Castle, she puts a senior chef on cake duty and has them ride in a train behind her with her favorite after-dinner dessert."

You can watch the cake come together in full above and learn more about the royal chef here. And if you've already made your way through all the mouthwatering recipes in Grady's cookbook, above, it's worth moving on to another royal favorite—Together: Our Community Cookbookthe Hubb Community Kitchen book that Meghan Markle worked on, which was born out the power of community following the Grenfell Tower fire. (Also: a portion of the sales go straight to the Hubb Community Kitchen, a worthy nonprofit in London.)

Tess Koman
Tess Koman

Tess Koman covers breaking (food) news, opinion pieces, and features on larger happenings in the food world. She oversees editorial content on Delish. Her work has appeared on Cosmopolitan.com, Elle.com, and Esquire.com.