Grandson of the Queen’s childhood chef has revealed secret ingredient used to make her birthday cakes (Image: Getty)

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The proud grandson of the Queen’s childhood chef has revealed the secret ingredient used to make her birthday cakes – elbow grease.

Charles Ballarin, 74, has unearthed the hand-written recipe his grandfather used to create the monarch’s annual treat until she was eight.

It includes 10 eggs, a pound of sugar and a tip on hand-whisking the mix to perfection over a bowl of hot water.

Jam made from fruit grown on the royal estates was used as a filler, with apricot a popular choice.

Charles’ grandfather Henri Cedard cooked for the Queen’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, for more than 30 years.

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And the King always insisted Henri bake Elizabeth a sponge cake fit for a princess
(Image: Getty)

Henri Cedard cooked for Queen’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, for more than 30 years
(Image: Getty)

And the King always insisted Henri bake Elizabeth a sponge cake fit for a princess – decorated with pink and white icing.

Retired teacher Charles said: “For the princess’s first birthday, King George asked my grandfather to make her a special cake, and he did so every year until he died in 1935.

“My grandmother Germaine said the whisking was the key to its success – if you or your aides have the patience to whisk as long as it takes!

Royal chef Henri Cedard cooking for a Balmoral Castle picnic
(Image: Archives Charles Ballarin)

“The last time I ate this cake at her house in London, she insisted you whisk by the rules. It makes all the difference.

“I do not suppose at the time they used electrical devices, but there’d be no shortage of hands at Windsor!”

Charles, who now lives in Paris, found the recipe in a box of old photographs and papers.

He had no idea just how valuable his grandfather was to the royals during 50 years of service.

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He presented the menu in French every day – a tradition the Queen continues.

Paperwork shows Henri was the only servant allowed to live outside the palace and he was chauffeur-driven to the King’s residence each day, where he managed 80 staff.

His family often accompanied him to Balmoral – and Charles also found a picture of his grandfather grilling fish at the Scottish hideaway.

The King's Chef Henri Cedard's hand-written sponge cake recipe fit for a Queen to be
(Image: Archives Charles Ballarin)

It is believed to have been taken by the Queen’s father George VI, when he was Prince Albert.

King George, like his father, never allowed royal menus to be published, for fear of being seen as extravagant.

But during the First World War, the monarch allowed Henri to release certain recipes – including Royal mince pies and a Christmas pudding – to the public to encourage Britons to make the best of limited food supplies.

Charles Ballarin, the grandson of former Royal chef Henri Cedard
(Image: Archives Charles Ballarin)

Two years ago, Charles wrote to the Queen asking if he could visit the Royal Archives, where he saw Henri’s menu books.

He also saw King George’s diaries in which he talked about visiting Henri when the chef got cancer in 1935. The monarch insisted Henri and his wife moved into a cottage on the Sandringham estate.

Charles said: “My grandfather had asked to retire but the King would not have it. He said to him, ‘We will stay together until the death of one of us’.”

Charles is now writing a book about his family and said: “No servant is ever a friend of a monarch, but I think Henri was someone the King could trust.”

Henri died in October 1935 and was buried in Streatham, South London. King George died three months later.