Sweet tribute: Montreal culinary school sells out of Queen Elizabeth cake

Click to play video: 'Let them eat cake! The story behind Quebec’s Queen Elizabeth II’s cake'
Let them eat cake! The story behind Quebec’s Queen Elizabeth II’s cake
WATCH: It is considered to be a very popular cake in Quebec — the Gateau Reine Elisabeth — but the origins behind this legendary dessert are somewhat of a mystery. Some say the cake was created in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. Others say it was created 20 years earlier for her father. No matter the history, Le Gateau Reine Elizabeth is still a popular dessert. Global's Olivia O'Malley brings us the story behind the cake. – Sep 9, 2022

Getting back in the kitchen Friday was exactly what English chef Oli Harding needed after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

“Its heartbreaking. It’s like losing a member of the family. It’s hard to talk about it a little bit to be honest,” said Harding.

The professional cooking teacher is honouring Queen Elizabeth II by making a Queen Elizabeth cake, something he coincidentally taught students at the Pearson School of Culinary Arts just last week.

The cake batter features dates soaked in coffee or tea.

“Being English I’m a little biased, I would always prefer to use tea,” he told Global News, along with a mixture of dry and wet ingredients.

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“We bake it and then afterwards we make a really nice glaze with cream, coconut, lots of sugar. So, yeah, it’s quite decadent. Delicious,” said Harding.

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One would assume the cake was made for the queen. However, its origins are disputed.

“One account has that it was for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. There was another account that it was actually created 20 years previously for her father,” said Harding.

Everything made in the Culinary Arts Program ends up in the school’s boutique. The store sells the dessert when it’s made three times throughout the year.

When the store opened after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the hottest item was the $8 Queen Elizabeth cake.

“We started the day with close to a hundred pieces of Queen Elizabeth cake, and by the end of the day, we had one left that had slipped behind some boxes of cakes that had been made,” said Christie Brown, Pearson’s vocational assistant director.

The cake won’t be on sale again until December, so Thursday’s customers are extremely lucky.

“We did have one little boy who came in with his mom and when he saw that we were selling the Queen Elizabeth cakes, he said, ‘Oh we definitely have to buy this cake so we can pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth tonight,'” said Brown.

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Harding says you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy the cake that pairs best with a cup of tea. But what better time to make it than to honour the late queen herself.


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