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The Empress Cake Story

The Fairmont Empress debuts the signature Empress Cake. The rich chocolate torte features a cassis centre and Fairmont Empress’ new custom chocolate developed in France by Executive Pastry Chef AJ Thalakkat.

The Empress Cake is topped with a chocolate crown – a replica of the one worn by Queen Elizabeth II. Served by the slice in the Lobby Lounge and Q at the Empress Restaurant, the torte can also be taken to go in a beautiful traditional cake box designed to travel without refrigeration for up to four days. A full Empress Cake will serve 10 people and is $100 plus tax.

Order the Empress Cake by calling 250-389-2727 or emailing

The Process

“I wanted to use a unique chocolate for the cake so I visited OR NOIR™ laboratory in France where artist pastry chefs and chocolatiers can prepare their own custom chocolate recipes. At the lab I had access to many different cocoa pastes from various beans from around the world to find out their properties and understand their aromatic profiles,” explains Chef. “With OR NOIR’S method of analysis, I got to be the architect of our unique chocolate recipe. The recipe then gets produced in the Cocoa Barry factory in France.”

The Cake

“The cake is a decadent, gluten-free chocolate cake that reflects the flavours of the Pacific Northwest. It is made with honey from our own garden, hazelnuts from Oregon and B.C. grown blackcurrants. It’s a 2-day process; a labour of love.”

“I used cocoa paste from beans out of Madagascar and Haiti for our dark chocolate. To sweeten the milk chocolate, I use honey from our own bee hives here at the Empress (part of Fairmont’s Bee Sustainable Program). Both chocolates are used in the torte which makes this cake even more unique,” says Chef. “And finally, a made in-house cassis (a kind of black currant jam), gives the torte a great finish.”