Lifestyle & Human Interest

Official Dessert for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Finally Chosen from Nearly 5,000 Entries


A party isn’t really a party without celebratory food, and if anyone knows how to really put on a show-stopping celebration, it’s the British royal family.

With the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee being held this year, Fortnum & Mason — known for its luxury line of teas and gifts — along with the Big Jubilee Lunch, the Eden Project and the Royal Household, decided to hold a competition to determine what the official dessert of the jubilee would be.

The celebration, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, commemorates the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne.

The tradition of having a special dessert for such an occasion started in 1897, when Queen Victoria was celebrating 60 years of rule and wanted a special sweet to mark the occasion. She got just that in a larger-than-life display of confection.

“A 10-foot cake was created by a London baker called Gunther,” said Regula Ysewijn, one of the judges of the platinum jubilee competition, according to NBC News.

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Elizabeth’s jubilee needed an equally celebratory dessert mascot, and so began the search for the “Platinum Pudding.” Home bakers prepared their finest for a panel of elite judges, all hoping to win the title and the bragging rights.

Out of nearly 5,000 entries, 150 were chosen as serious contenders. From there, five standouts were selected.

But there could be only one Platinum Pudding, and after lots of blind taste tests and deliberation, it was Jemma Melvin whose lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle stole the show.

In preparing for the competition, Melvin had many factors to consider.

Most people know of the queen’s affinity for chocolate, but the time of year begged for a different flavor.

After doing a bit of research, she discovered that the queen had served lemon posset at her wedding — so lemon it was.

“I wanted it to be easy to make,” the 31-year-old winner told NBC News. “I wanted it to be summery. I know the queen likes lemon flavor.”

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The English also like their traditions, and so the combination of an old favorite with a new twist was what set Melvin apart from the other contenders.

“We were looking for a new classic, something completely new,” Ysewijn said. “But then when we had the trifle in front of us, I think everyone got goosebumps because it’s such a traditional British dish. It is so old. It’s so significant. And then the flavors completely surprised us.”

“It’s a fantastic dessert,” judge Roger Pizey added, praising Melvin’s craftsmanship and attention to detail in preparing all elements of the cake on her own.

“Some people said that she’s very fond of chocolate,” he continued, speaking of Elizabeth. “And I think she does quite like a trifle.”

Shortly after the winner was announced, photos of the trifle and the recipe made their way to Buckingham Palace, where there’s a very good chance the queen will be doing her own taste test.

“I hope she does like it,” Melvin said.

The recipe has been shared online, and people near and far have been encouraged to whip up the dessert to serve during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations this week.

While many a home baker might be able to make the trifle completely from scratch, there are a daunting number of steps — the trifle does have seven layers, after all. Still, Melvin has included instructions for making the trifle from store-bought components so that even those who are not interested in slaving away in the kitchen can celebrate on their own.

Melvin will be making her now-famous trifle for the party she’s attending, and she hopes others will, too.

“Everyone brings food and drinks,” she said of the street parties being held in honor of the jubilee this week. “A lot of bring your own and put it in the middle. I think you call it a ‘potluck’ in America.

“I just want everyone to make it and if people make it around the world then that is amazing.”

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