‘Downton Abbey’: Tom Branson and Lucy’s Wedding Cake Was 2/3 Fake

The new Downton Abbey movie fulfilled one of the dreams of the series. Downton Abbey: A New Era begins with the wedding of Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Lucy (Tuppence Middleton). They even have a wedding cake, part of which was edible, but the majority of which was movie magic. 

'Downton Abbey: A New Era': Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Lucy Branson (Tuppence Middleton) lean on a car after their wedding
Allen Leech and Tuppence Middleton | Ben Blackall/Focus Features LLC

Downton Abbey: A New Era is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD. If you already saw Highclere Castle in 4K with the first movie, A New Era gives you new French locations at which to marvel. The bonus features reveal more secrets of the Branson wedding.

The 1 real part of the ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ wedding cake

Home Economist Debi Lindsay demonstrates Lucy and Tom’s wedding cake on the set. Lindsay shows how the top two portions of cake are props. However, the bottom layer is a real fruit cake as needed in the scene. Tom and Lucy cut the cake on screen in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

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“This is the beautiful but subtle cake for Tom and Lucy’s wedding,” Lindsay said. “And it’s mostly fake because we have to do that on a film because obviously this is going to be incredibly heavy and you have to move it around. It’s been moved about 20 times in the last two days but the bottom is a fruit cake so when they actually cut it with a sword, it goes through and it’s real.”

Tom Branson and Lucy’s ‘Downton Abbey’ wedding cake took 11 hours to bake 

Since the bottom portion was a real cake, it had to be baked. Downton Abbey: A New Era would’ve had to begun baking the night before to have it ready for the wedding scene. 

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“That bottom took 11 hours to cook because it’s completely solid fruit cake which, of the day, that’s how it would have been,” Lindsay said. “Smaller versions up here are made of polystyrene but they are iced and decorated with real icing obviously.”

Other tricks in the wedding scene

The cake wasn’t the only illusion in the Downton Abbey: A New Era wedding scene. The opening of the film looks like a single shot, flying over and into the wedding reception, where fans can see all the regulars are in attendance. Visual Effects Supervisor Patricia Llaguno revealed how that is made up of three shots, blended together. 

“Most people don’t expect visual effects to be a thing that you necessarily need in a period drama or costume drama,” Llaguno said. “The opening scene at the wedding reception, [director] Simon [Curtis] wanted to have a very, very seamless takeover between three different cameras, a drone to a drone establishing at the wedding reception and that flying into the window of the church. So that was something we had to plan out.”

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