The most stunning royal wedding cakes

While you'd probably never want to fork over $500 for a dessert, wedding cakes are a different story. In the United States, most couples spend anywhere from $300 to nearly $700 on the elaborate confection, Wedding Wire reported. Why so much? Unlike a simple sheet cake, wedding cakes take a lot of work and are all about decadence. From multiple tiers to fondant and fresh florals, wedding cakes are essentially edible centerpieces. 

Although $700 may be hard for you to stomach, that's really chump change compared to what the royal family spends on their wedding cakes. In fact, just one slice of wedding cake from Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding would've cost you $2,000 — in 2015. That's right. You could've bought a slice of the couple's cake from July 29, 1981 at auction. It's probably not a good idea to taste a decades-old dessert, but, if you won the auction, you'd be able to literally have your cake and eat it too. 

If you think two grand is a lot for a slice of cake, get ready to be blown away by just how amazing these royal desserts can be. 

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips' wedding cake took an army

The oldest slice of wedding cake that went up for auction in 2015 was from Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips' wedding all the way back in November 1973. Gross! CNBC reported that Julien's Auctions, the auction house responsible for this particularly interesting bake sale, named this one "not suitable for consumption." That may go without saying, but better safe than sorry? 

Although it sounds pretty disgusting now, back in its day, the cake (which can be seen here) was probably pretty yummy. According to News-Press, a Florida-based newspaper from the '70s, the princess' cake took a total of eight weeks to configure — four of which were used to soak the fruitcake in brandy.

By the end, it stood at 5 feet 8 inches tall with its five icing-covered tiers and weighed a whopping 145 pounds. Surely a world-class baker was responsible for this confection, right? Actually, it was none other than the British Army, a branch called the Royal Army Catering Corps — arguably the sweetest offshoot of the military.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's 500-pound masterpiece

Princess Anne's cake was cool and all, but her mom's cake, well, took the cake. The royal family's official website explained that although Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip received 11 wedding cakes in total, only one was considered "official."

First, imagine having 11 wedding cakes on your big day. Now, imagine just one of those cakes being so big it weighed 500 pounds! The "official" cake of the 1947 wedding was made by McVitie and Price, and ingredients were used from all across the globe, earning the dessert a nickname: "The 10,000 Mile Cake." 

The then-princess' four-tiered cake was approximately nine feet tall. Incredibly elaborate, the cake featured icing versions of the monograms for both Elizabeth II and Philip, military badges, and even some of the couple's favorite hobbies. 

If that wasn't extra enough, when it came time to cut the cake, Philip's sword — a present from his father-in-law, the King — was used as opposed to a knife. Talk about dramatic!

Prince William and Kate Middleton's cake was baked "months in advance"

You'd probably never eat a 35-year-old cake — we hope — but would you eat one that's a year old? What about one that was baked a few months ago? Well, if you were lucky enough to be a guest at Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in 2011, that's exactly what you did. Before you get too grossed out, it's actually pretty standard practice when it comes to fruitcakes.

Fiona Cairns, the pastry chef who was responsible for crafting the pièce de résistance that was the royal couple's wedding cake, explained the process to Town & Country. "We were commissioned on February 18 and the wedding was April 29, so we baked all the cakes at the beginning of March, so [they had] two months to mature," she said.

A few days before the royal wedding, Cairns, along with her team, came to Buckingham Palace to assemble her creation. The finished product was a 220-pound, eight-tier, three-foot-tall wedding cake. The assembly alone took two and a half days!

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's 12-foot fruitcake

Keeping with the age-old fruitcake wedding cake tradition, Prince Andrew and Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson chose an elaborate six-tiered design. The baker, David MacCarfrae of David's Cake Craft, looked to nineteenth century weddings for his inspiration.

After aging the fruitcake, he assembled the tiers and prepared them for icing. MacCarfrae ended up piping — by hand—  all 12 feet of the confection. When the cake was finally finished, it featured an incredible 10 layers of royal icing patterns and was topped with fresh flowers.

MacCarfrae then had the task of delivering the enormous dessert to Buckingham Palace where it was eventually presented to the newlywed royal couple, as well as the Queen, Prince Philip, and other members of the royal family and their guests. That's only slightly nerve-wracking. Thankfully for MacCarfrae, his amazing creation was well received. After the wedding, the Master of the Household at Buckingham Palace sent him a letter of appreciation and an official photograph of his cake. Well done!

Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake "will never get old"

Just as Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips employed the armed forces to make their wedding cake, so did Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The 200-pound fruitcake was made to serve over a thousand wedding guests. 

Fleet Chief Petty Officer Kenneth Fraser, the man in charge of the British naval bakery school, elaborated on some details of the cake to The New York Times, saying, "It has selected candied fruits and nuts. It will be bound with marzipan and coated with royal icing, predominately white.”

After soaking in rum, the cake took about nine hours to fully bake. Petty Officer David Avery had the honor of designing the cake, but we wasn't nervous. "Once you get into the kitchen your nerves go and you get on with the job," he explained. He did such a good job, in fact, that it still holds up today. John Hoatson, who is arguably the biggest royal family fan in America, owns a slice of the epic fruitcake. "It will never get old," he explained to Tampa Bay Times, "it's preserved by air." 

Thanks, but hard pass!

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones' devilishly delicious wedding cake

Although Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones' wedding in June 1999 was, by royal standards, a fairly simple affair, the couple's wedding cake was anything but. Linda Fripp, the pastry chef who designed the cake, explained to BBC News that it took her and her staff a whopping 515 hours to create. It was so big that most of it had to be made on site at Windsor Castle.

The base alone stood at 56 inches tall and featured seven tiers. On its stand, it was 10 feet tall. When cut, the cake appeared to be the typical fruitcake, as is tradition for royal weddings. However, the dark color was actually because it was chocolate — Devil's Food cake to be exact. Sneaky, sneaky!

"Every single bit of it was eaten at the wedding — though there were a few pieces saved for the staff," Fripp explained. Perhaps dreading the run-of-the-mill fruitcake, guests were likely pleasantly surprised by the flavor.

The mother, er, Queen Mother, of all wedding cakes

When Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, now the late Queen Mother, and King George VI married April 1923, they didn't choose just any old cake, as you can imagine. According to The Guardian, they chose an elaborate multi-tiered confection that towered at an impressive 2.75 meters (over 9 feet) tall.

Fruitcake is extremely dense, often laden with nuts and alcohol. This means the Queen Mother's cake was essentially made out of edible bricks. It's actually the heaviest of all of the royal wedding cakes of the past and present by a landslide — at 360 kilograms (nearly 800 pounds)! The structures used to reinforce the tiers must've been incredible to support all of the cake — not to mention the elaborate layers of icing and all of the floral decorations.

If only we could go back in time and see what it was like for the bride and groom to cut into a nearly 9-foot tall fruitcake. 

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones' 20 wedding cakes

Who would have one wedding cake if you can afford multiples? When Princess Margaret wed Antony Armstrong-Jones back in 1960, she opted for not one or two additional cakes to serve to her guests, but 20 wedding cakes total. Nevertheless, her most elaborate cake wasn't nearly as extravagant as past royal weddings. It weighed about 150 pounds, according to Express, which of course pales in comparison to the Queen Mother's 800-pound dessert or the Queen's 500-pound fruitcake. Of course, a wedding cake's weight is not necessarily an indication to how beautiful — or delicious — it is.

Instead of choosing square or circular tiers as was the standard, the princess opted for hexagonal-shaped ones (seen here). And, although it wasn't large for a member of the royal family, it was plenty big, at least looking at it from the eyes of a commoner. She, too, chose some florals for the embellishments and proved that less can definitely be more.

Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's take the cake?

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle cut into their wedding cake on May 19, 2018, no one will be able to spot a trace of fruitcake. That's because the couple has decided to forgo the tradition for a — let's be honest — much better flavor. According to statement posted on Twitter by Kensington Palace, Harry and Meghan have already selected a "lemon elderflower cake" to be created by Claire Ptak, a pastry chef and owner of Violet Cakes. Ptak will cover the outside of the cake with buttercream and embellish the dessert with an assortment of fresh flowers. 

Ptak uses both seasonal and organic ingredients in her desserts, according to another statement from Kensington Palace, so we can expect the same for the royal wedding.

Neither Ptak nor Kensington Palace has dropped any hints as to how many tiers this royal cake will be, but you can just about guarantee it'll be amazing. If it looks anything like other lemon cakes Ptak has shared on Instagram, Harry and Meghan's royal wedding cake will be stunning.