We know that Meghan Markle spent her 38th birthday enjoying a quiet weekend at home with family, but what culinary delights did she indulge in? One of her beloved acai bowls? A steaming plate of deliciously forbidden pasta? Turns out, she rang in the milestone in the sweetest way possible.
First reported by Hello, the Duchess of Sussex was gifted a custom birthday cake on the special occasion. Royal expert Omid Scobie shared a mouth-watering shot of Meghan’s surprise: a three-layer carrot cake, iced with a happy birthday message to the royal.
Usually the icing is the best part of a carrot cake, but in typical Meghan fashion, there’s a heart-warming story behind the deliciousness. It was baked by Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise that helps disadvantaged women in London.
Watch: Harry pays tribute to his ‘amazing’ wife Meghan on her birthday. Story continues below.
Since 2014, the east London organization has helped 66 women who have survived violence and homelessness learn how to bake. Along the way, they’re equipped with hireable skills that will aid moving forward with their lives. Graduates of the training program are employed by the bakery or one of its partner organizations, with some even opening up their own businesses.
The bakery’s cause is one Markle has championed since she got involved with them earlier this year, earning Luminary a profile in the Vogue issue Markle guest-edited. For the Duchess, including her favourite bakery in the magazine was “non-negotiable.”
“The work you do, what you represent to the community, the spirit of the women there you all embody what it means to be “forces for change,” Markle wrote in a thank-you note to Luminary.
It’s a sentiment clearly returned by Luminary. Founder Alice Williams told Good Morning America that having the Duchess’ acknowledge is “incredible.”
“We’re really hoping it will enable us to grow. There are so many women who need opportunities,” Williams said.
Giving back is a piece of cake
If you’re in London, you too can try the royal-endorsed dessert. On its website, Luminary states that its spiced carrot sponge cake is iced with cream cheese buttercream. It’s usually garnished with cinnamon crumble, orange slices, pistachios and pumpkin seeds, as well as a few sprigs of rosemary. However, it looks like Meghan’s cake was also topped with two ripe cape gooseberries.
Before Meghan, the carrot deliciousness already gained a cult following, Williams telling Good And Proper Tea it has the reputation of being the “best carrot cake in London.”
Even higher praise: on Instagram, one customer said the carrot cake was “a spiritual culinary experience baked by angels.”
Be prepared to spend if you want a taste. The bakery’s cakes retail for as low as $72, going upwards of $96 for a large cake with a custom message.
While it doesn’t come cheap, the money goes towards a good cause. According to its website, the charity proceeds can stretch far for a woman in need. About $16 will cover a participant’s lunch and transportation fare. It takes around $1,204 to cover the cost for a woman to go through the full training program. Knowing the powerful sway of Markle Sparkle, it’s likely sales for this dessert will skyrocket.
Cakes get the royal treatment
For Canadians who can’t justify the trip across the pond for the dessert, a small consolation: at least carrot cake is easier to find than the spring-themed royal wedding cake the Duke and Duchess of Sussex served, flavoured by lemon and elderflower.
And Luminary’s bespoke style is probably more appetizing than the life-sized cake replica of Harry and Meghan created last year.
It may come as no surprise that even birthday cake is beholden to protocol. Royal etiquette dictates that if her grandmother-in-law was visiting Markle on her special day, the Duchess wouldn’t be taking first bite: Queen Elizabeth eats before everyone present.
The Queen would probably be pretty happy with this arrangement; according to her personal chef, she carries a slice of cake around all the time, in case her sweet cravings ever hit.
Also on HuffPost: