June is marching towards us with increasing pace, meaning only one thing to your friendly neighbourhood Cake Designer... it's Wedding Season!
I confess to being slightly terrified of my diary over the next few months and catching up on a little R&R ahead of the early baking mornings that approach with the warm summer days. So I thought I would take this opportunity to explain what it is that I actually do for a living.
All of my Wedding Cakes are bespoke, so I begin by meeting with the couple in the planning stages of their big day. We discuss their dreams for the day itself and they leave with a box of cake samples to enjoy at their leisure. I sketch out a cake design for them and we amend this as necessary before booking them into my aforementioned insane diary.
I am beyond thrilled to announce a new schedule of my popular Studio Session Cake Decorating classes to be held at The Higgins, Bedford!
Having moved to the area 2 months ago, I have fallen very much in love with the ecclectic collections and beautiful sun-drenched spaces of The Higgins and they have kindly agreed to let me hold some classes within their walls.
If you have ever wanted to learn how to create beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes, then these classes may be perfect for you! Here is a little run down of what is on offer...
Saturday 30th May 2pm-4pm
Rockabilly Rebel Cupcake Decorating
Forget pastel colours and 'shabby chic', learn how to create cupcakes that are big on attitude and high on sugar!
Click here for full class details and booking information
A huge thank you to everyone who braved the bracing sea air to visit Foodies Festival on Hove Lawns in Brighton on Saturday! I had the best time Burlesque Baking in the Tasting Theatre and whipping up a Carrot Cake with my darling John Whaite in the Chefs' Theatre.
As promised, I wanted to share the recipe for my Carrot Cake with you. The recipe is very similar to John's own recipe that you can watch me baking with Lorraine on ITV, but being a greedy soul, mine is a little bigger!
The reason for this is that the fashion for cakes at present is for deep tiers. That is my excuse...
So how was our long weekend, you gorgeous lot?
Mine was spent at the Foodies Festival in Brighton and those of you who follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and now Periscope*, will have seen all behind the scenes already. Get on those social media outlets now!
To begin our working week, I wanted to let you know that I have a wonderful three page In The Kitchen interview in the new issue of Cakes & Sugarcraft Magazine.
In this, I share my predictions for upcoming cake trends and my advice for getting a cake business off the ground, as well as talking about how I learned my craft and what I actually get up to on a typical day - though the social media following folk probably know what I get up to anyway!
Have a fabulous SHORT week...
*If you haven't discovered Periscope yet, it's fabulous! Download the app onto your phone and watch my live video broadcasts.
I was saving this one... I was waiting... we are all waiting, right? When are we going to meet that second lovely Royal Baby? When is Prince Gorgeous George going to be a big brother? When is Kensington Palace going to become something more akin to London Zoo?
*I am reliably told, by my own Mother, that having two small children around is lots of fun!*
John Whaite and I were tasked with creating the Ultimate Baby Shower Cake, suitable for royalty. Here is what we came up with...
Dress by Miss Candyfloss
And on a personal note, I would like to welcome my newest second cousin, Jacob Philip, to the family. We are a crazy bunch but we will love you always and you will never be short of cake - once you get teeth.
Nothing brings out the sunshine quite like a zesty slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake. Whether it rain or shine this Bank Holiday Weekend, there can be nothing nicer than this to enjoy over tea with friends, family, or just in front of the telly box!
Continuing this series of YouTube videos from the last two weeks on the #letthemtweetcake campaign for ITV's Lorraine, here we are baking up a citrus extravaganza...
Happy Hump Day, everybody!
As we reach the half way point of this fabulous week, I thought I should share with you the video for John and my Ultimate Cupcake masterclass taken from our appearance on Lorraine.
Why now? Well, if you fancy a simple weekend bake with a little light decoration, you have time to order in all of your equipment, which I have listed for you below.
Oh, and the dress... you will also need the dress!
Dress by Glamour Bunny
Equipment List (with links!)
You will also need a wine glass (I bet you have one!) and a small paintbrush
I cannot tell you how overwhelming the public response to our #letthemtweetcake campaign was! When we asked you to send in pictures of your cakes, I never anticipated to see so many of you getting involved. Seriously, the pictures were coming in thick and fast and they were really REALLY good.
Today, I fancy a slice of Chocolate Cake. Over to John for this bake and I'll give it a final flourish...
Dress by Miss Candyfloss
Those of you who wake up early in the morning - but find yourselves with time for a leisurely breakfast in front of the telly - may have caught John Whaite and I on Lorraine over the past two weeks.
For those of you who missed me baking up the winning cake in our quick poll on Friday, here is the video for you!
And let's just say that the cake did not stick around for long!
I'll be sharing the other videos from our #letthemtweetcake campaign over the rest of the week so come on back at your leisure and let's get baking!
Dress by The House of Foxy
Happy 4th Wedding Anniversary, Chris.
Thank you for being everything that you are. I love you and I still have confetti in my hair.
It's nice to have a wonderful excuse to indulge in our wedding video today...
And to put on a posh frock for dinner tonight.
Good afternoon, you gorgeous lot!
It's been crazy here of late and I am not going to even attempt to bring you up to speed on it all... suffice it to say that before 2015 got really busy, Chris and I took the decision to move house. We packed our worldly possessions into a truck and moved from West London to Bedford.
The move has allowed us a much bigger house and a much bigger kitchen (mmmmmmm!) and I can guarantee that you will probably see even more of me once we are properly settled. I will still be in London for work and will continue to deliver my cakes all over the country as I have always done.
... well, that's one thing I can tick off my bucket list!
I was honoured to be invited along to the launch of Macmillan Cancer Support's World's Biggest Coffee Morning Appeal 2014 in the opulent surroundings of The Horseguards Hotel in London.
It would seem that the nation has spoken and declared Stephen Fry the most eligible Coffee Morning guest and Chocolate Cake their preferred cake of choice! I can think of nothing nicer than sharing a slice of Chocolate Cake with Mr. Fry!
We are now on the final countdown to Macmillan's Coffee Morning on Friday 26th September and because I love you, I want to point you in the direction of the recipe for my Chocolate Mud Cake. Just click here to visit my Food Network UK chef page, and the recipe is waiting for you!
Though it may not be possible to send this national treasure to every single one of you on Friday, you can at least enjoy a little of the same cake!
Thank you to the wonderful JP Masclet for these glorious images.
I have some very exciting news to share...
I will be guesting with the wonderful Glenn Cosby (who you will remember from Series 4 of GBBO) in his stage show 'Bake It Big' on Tuesday 21st October!
Glenn is fresh back from the Edinburgh Fringe with his show, 'Food Junkie', which makes up a big part of this show. If you missed him in Edinburgh, you can now catch him in London!
7:30pm Tuesday 21st October
The Lost Theatre, 208 Wandsworth Rd, SW8 2JU
Tickets are available now at £16.50 (£14.50 concessions)
Click here to be directed to the booking page!
I must confess that I am stupidly excited to be a part of this fantastic show and I can promise you lots of laughs and some seriously big cakes. Stick the date in your diary now and book your tickets, as this is for one night only.
I am proud to be a proud supporter of equal marriage. As such, I am thrilled to share these pictures of a celebratory Wedding Cake that I produced for a wonderful event, organised by the amazing Mango Pie Events.
Building, stacking, doing my thing at The National Portrait Gallery.
The finished cake was brilliant white, ruffled, and tied with yellow ribbons. So far, so simple, right?
The cake was topped with a totally adorable Bride and Bride topper. I love these retro toppers. Still looking fairly standard for a Wedding Cake until...
On Friday 26th September I am hoping that loads of you will get involved in a coffee morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
I am so proud to be involved with Macmillan and their fundraising efforts. What better way could there be to collect money for charity than with cake? The idea here is simple - gather your friends, family, or colleagues (it is a work day after all!) for coffee and cake on Friday 26th September and make sure that everyone donates to Macmillan.
To help you make your coffee morning a huge success, you can register for a FREE coffee morning kit, which comes with all the bits and bobs that you will need - except the cakes, which you have to arrange yourself. This is where I come in...
Your coffee morning kit contains a recipe card for a traditional Victoria Sponge cake and a few ideas for how to 'pimp' it up a little, that I have shared with you. My thinking is, if you jazz your cake up a little, you may be able to extort a little more cash from your hungry friends!
To register for your kit, follow this link to www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee
or call 0845 602 1246
or text COFFEE to 70550
Harry (of Harry & Edna on the Wireless) and my 'Fancy' cake
I am sure that I do not need to tell you how important the work of Macmillan Cancer Support is. My family has seen first hand the amazing comfort that the Macmillan nurses can bring - supporting not only the patient but the family too. I know that many of you will be thinking now of a loved one. I am proud to work with Macmillan in memory of my fantastic Grandad Philip.
The great news is that last year's coffee morning raised £20 million. Over 5 million people took the time out for coffee and cake. Those are the numbers to beat, people! There are no rules other than coffee and cake and money in the pot for Macmillan - get inventive with your morning, maybe with a theme or throw in a few coffee cocktails!
I'll be chatting to Gaby Roslin on BBC Radio London 94.9 at 3:10pm tomorrow (Wednesday 6th August) so tune in to hear all about my plans for the coffee morning and my thoughts about The Great British Bake Off!
I have absolutely no desire to keep any secrets from you. I want to share all of my tips and tricks of the trade with you in the hope that you will all have a little go at making your cakes that little bit more glamorous.
For those of you who have bought a copy of Burlesque Baking, this is The Art of Covering Up in video form! Step by step, this video will show you how to get a perfect covering of sugarpaste icing on your cakes.
For those of you who have been to see me at any of the recent Foodies Festivals, this is essentially my cake covering demonstration for you to cut out and keep!
For those of you who have never seen me at work, this is what I do.
Wishing you all a fabulous week and sending loads of kisses from my desk... which I will be tied to for the foreseeable... because the book I am working on will not write itself! Mwah!
It's taken me a while to write about the weekend. To be honest, it's taken me a while to recover from the weekend! I managed to cram so much fun and excitement into three short days.
I have always said that I love the creative freedom that offering bespoke Wedding Cakes allows me and the two cakes that I delivered on Saturday illustrate this point perfectly.
Wedding #1 was a country, family orientated affair. Set in the rolling fields of Essex and celebrated in a garden marquee at the Groom's family home, this English Country Garden style needed an unfussy cake to match.
Cake #1 was tiers of Victoria Sponge and Salted Caramel cakes covered in buttercream, finished with an Organic Lines Ombre effect in shades of dusky pink. Crowned with fresh flowers arranged by the Groom's Mother, this cake was decorative enough to be special without being too formal.
Wedding #2 was a big, extravagent Indian wedding at a beautiful Mayfair hotel. The scale of this event was made clear when the live band, upon arriving and setting out their instruments, decided that the position of the stage was not right for the audience and moved the whole thing across the room! For the record, as a musician myself, I completely agreed with their decision! The new positioning was much better.
As for the positioning of Cake #2, it was set at the head of the dancefloor for all to admire. This Bollywood Brights cake was four tiers of airbrushed sunset shades, graduating from yellow through orange to pink, separated by fresh flowers in stunning colours.
On Saturday, I packed my little wheelie case full of copie of Burlesque Baking and headed over to Conway Hall for the London Burlesque Festival's Big Burlesque Day Out. I headed over with my head still covered in rollers, all snug beneath my ByFrankii turban in the pouring rain!
Beneath my raincoat, I was glammed up for the day in my blue velvet Julie dress from Glamour Bunny. I am completely obsessed with the Glamour Bunny website at the moment and have even made a wishlist of all the summer dresses that I want for when this weather clears up! My flower crown is also from ByFrankii.
The brainchild of show producer and star performer, Betty D'Light, the Day Out is a fabulous taster event for those new to the world of Burlesque - with daytime performances, a catwalk show, and even a taster session in Burlesque-a-cise - as well as being the perfect opportunity for friends to meet and catch up amidst the madness of the 2-week festival. The event is also a sale with stalls and many beautiful things to buy.
That's where I come in!
Every now and then, I get a really exciting commission that allows me to really challenge myself as a cake designer.
You may remember that I donated a cake to The Old Vic Theatre for their 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala back in November, so I was thrilled when the team got in touch to ask me to make a cake for the theatre's Birthday celebration.
I created a blood red cake, in the Old Vic's current colour scheme, topped with their rather beautiful crest. The cake itself was airbrushed by my incredibly talented airbrush technician, Chris, and I spent several hours handpiping the crest in royal icing before handpainting it with gold metallic food paint.
This cake was truly a labour of love and I loved every second of creating it!
OK, that's a bit of a fib as this design was a tough one.
At Restoration Cake, I pride myself on trying to be just that little bit different at all times...
As such, when I was asked to create a cake covered only in frosting and flowers, I wanted to do something a little Restoration with it.
Behold, this cake is covered with my new Marshmallow Meringue Frosting!
This frosting is made using the same techniques as making meringue but contains serious amounts of LittlePod Vanilla, which makes it taste (and smell!) divine. The texture of this meringue is soft and sticky, perfect for Wedding Cakes that will be served as dessert... not so clean to eat with fingers sadly! It tastes just like marshmallow and I'm so in love. It has a wonderful sheen to it that you cannot get with buttercream.
When the sun is shining and you are by the sea, it's only right to celebrate.
As it happens, this weekend we had good cause for a celebration.
My dear friend Kate Baxter writes the most beautiful interiors blog, Fabric of my Life, which has now reached the lofty grand old age of five... an incredible achievement of which I am super proud.
So we made a cake and a bit of a fuss.
Kate's cake (or 'Cake Baxter' as it became known) was a Red Velvet cake with the most glorious lime green and yellow ombre effect, created using an airbrush by my awesome airbrush technician (Chris is King of the airbrush!) to tie in with the new branding on the blog.
A huge thank you to everyone who came along to see my demonstrations at Foodies Festival Brighton over this glorious Bank Holiday weekend.
We decorated a stunning Polly Rae cake from Burlesque Baking together and I am so glad that you enjoyed sharing in the cake, which we devoured at the end of the demonstration! I ALWAYS share my cakes.
I've been a little quiet this week. Well, quiet by my standards! This has been due to the time that I have spent putting the finishing touches to my biggest Wedding Cake yet.
I have been lucky enough to have worked with Sanjana for a few years now and, when she told me that she was getting married, she booked straight onto one of my Wedding Cake 101 classes. Sanj intended to make her own cake and, as a keen chef and foodie blogger (if you love modern Indian food and filthy sweet treats, you need to check out her blog korasoi.com) I have no doubt that she would have done an amazing job.
However, sometimes time does not permit. Having a full-on Hindu wedding ceremony takes three days. There is no time to bake.
Honestly, I baked my own Wedding Cake and spent a few minutes of the Wednesday night before my wedding crying on my kitchen floor... we only had a civil ceremony and I was a professional Wedding Cake Designer!
So I was truly honoured when Sanj asked me to make her Wedding Cake. We started off by getting her and her gorgeous fiance (now hubby!) over for a cake tasting and consultation. This cake was going to need to be big. Really big!
If you love Burlesque, you have to subscribe to Burlesque Bible Magazine. It really is the most wonderful combination of the latest news from the world of Burlesque, reviews and show listings, you can even gather tips from performers on classic moves and beauty advice!
So I am chuffed as little mint balls to be included in the Spring 2014 issue, interviewed by the delightful Editor in Chief, Hélène Phillips.
We got together over a cup of tea and discussed all things Burlesque Baking. The feature even made the cover!
Thank you to Hélène for this wonderful mag. I already subscribe so can genuinely recommend this!
Last night, I was interviewed for the fantastic Harry & Edna on the Wireless radio show!
Well, it was more like the 'Harry & Charlotte' show as Edna was busy running her empire so Harry and I nattered for a good hour amongst some cracking vintage tunes. I even took in a little cake for Harry...
If you missed the show and fancy listening in, the player is right here for you.
Thank you so much to Harry for making me feel so welcome and for being a jolly nice chap to chat to!
Today, I get to be unashamedly personal and downright soppy... because it was three years ago today that I married my incredible Husband, Chris.
Never believe that I could do what I do alone.
Chris - thank you for lifting me up when I'm down, for believing in me, and for never letting me fall.
Oh, and thank you for being you. You rock my world.
Every year, I share this video of our wedding day, condensed into five minutes of awesomeness by the fantastic Mark Lenik. It really was the best day ever! It was a wedding full of music (including a little from the Father of the Bride... and the Bride!), Burlesque by Vicky Butterfly, a rather large red velvet cake, a white Cadillac, the most rock'n'roll Reverend you are likely to meet, dodgy dancing, and an awful lot of fun.
It was the perfect day for a White Wedding.
Last week I was a very busy lady. I was commissioned by the lovely people at ITV to create a cake for the wrap party of Dancing on Ice 2014.
Now, this was going to have to be something very special. Not only was this cake going to mark the end of the 2014 series of Dancing on Ice, but this was to be the final EVER final of this very successful and much loved show.
On Wednesday last week, I was lucky enough to be invited along to a meeting of Herts Belles WI in St Albans. This wasn't any ordinary meeting for Herts Belles; this was their extra-special 1st Birthday celebration and I was there to teach a cupcake decorating workshop.
So far so good, right? It gets even better.
This was my very first visit to a Women's Institute meeting and I was stupidly excited. Aside from the fact that I had been personally invited to speak to this amazing new group by two of its founding members, Lia Nelissen and Emma Golding (who run Vintage Vi and Oh Sew Vintage respectively), I was told that the fabulous Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Annie Brewster, was also going to be in attendance!
With Lia and Emma
It's going to be a big week here at Restoration Cake. Burlesque Baking is officially published on Thursday 13th February and I cannot wait to hear what you think of it! I've had some lovely messages from those of you who have received your copies early and am thrilled that some of you have already started baking your way through the book!
Now that the book is in stock, I am in a position to offer signed copies direct to those who would like personalised books for gifts.
The cost is £9.99 per book plus £2 for gift wrapping and UK postage. When you follow the links for payment, there is an option to "add a special instruction to the seller"... just write any details of the person that you would like me to address the book to and any personal message that you would like me to include and I will happily do so.
To order your signed copy of Burlesque Baking, just click the button below to be directed to PayPal.
Burlesque Baking Hardback (signed & gift-wrapped) UK
If you would like a copy signed, gift-wrapped and shipped to Europe, this is your PayPal link.
Burlesque Baking Hardback (signed & gift-wrapped) Europe
If you would like a copy signed, gift-wrapped and shipped to the US, this is your PayPal link.
Burlesque Baking Hardback (signed & gift-wrapped) USA
Wishing you all the most fabulous week ahead!
What a wonderful week! I have had so many lovely messages from those of you lucky enough to have received your copies of Burlesque Baking already!
The book is scheduled for publication on Thursday 13th February 2014, so as of this time next week, I will officially be a published author. I am beside myself with excitement and hoping that you will enjoy the book.
As a little pre-publication treat, I have created another TWO video tutorials for you! This time, I will show you how to create the Tempest Rose cupcakes featured in Burlesque Baking.
The video is divided into two parts. Part One will show you how to create a perfect sugarpaste covering on top of your cupcakes - which is a little more glam than buttercream and I think you will love.
Part Two will show you how to create sugarpaste roses, step-by-step, using only a document wallet! This is a fun technique and one that, once you get your fingers around it, will serve you well for cupcakes and cakes for the rest of your life! Everyone loves a delicious little rose.
I hope that you will enjoy these videos and send me any pictures of your own glamorous bakes.
Good morning, you gorgeous lot! I do hope that you are all feeling well on this Monday morning and looking forward to a fabulous week ahead.
I wanted to begin the week by sharing with you another bit of Burlesque Baking press. This one is a little bit special.
This month, I am interviewed in Issue 39 of Vintage Life Magazine.
My dear friends at Vintage Life asked me a few questions in the run up to publication date. Run out and grab your copy from WHSmith today (or order online here) to read all about my Burlesque inspirations, how I decided which performers to transform into edible treats, my advice for aspiring professional cake designers, and whether you can expect a second book from me!
I hope that you will indulge me sharing the fantastic press that I have been gathering ahead of the release of Burlesque Baking on 13th February. For me, the book represents a year of hard work and I am beyond excited to share it with you... and to hear your thoughts on it!
So this next article is actually the very first review of the book, by Leah Hyslop at The Telegraph. You can read Leah's thoughts and our interview together in full here.
And this is the essence of that very first review...
"White’s joy in burlesque is evident in her recipes. Some of them are easier than others – many require advanced decorating skills, and plenty of patience is required when it comes to sticking on the tiny gems or piping intricate patterns – but the finished bakes are always eye-catching."
As an extra treat, I also shared a few of the recipes from Burlesque Baking with The Telegraph. So click here to get ahead of the crowd next week and make your bakes sparkle and shine like the fabulous women who inspired them!
As 13th February draws ever closer, we are tantilisingly close to your pre-ordered copies of Burlesque Baking landing on your doorsteps!
If you haven't pre-ordered yet, you can pick up a copy here.
In the meantime, I have been doing interviews and spreading the word about the book far and wide. I am very proud to say that, this week, my local paper ran a feature about me. The Uxbridge Gazette team have always been incredibly supportive of Restoration Cake and I was thrilled to be invited in for an interview ahead of publication date.
For those of you who do not live in my little corner of West London, here is the feature in full!
And this is what it looked like in print.
There's more to come, you gorgeous lot!
While the greeting card companies gear up for Valentine's Day, I am sitting here looking at that date not so much as V-Day... but BB-Day!
Yes, Burlesque Baking officially hits the shelves on 13th February and in anticipation of this date, my wonderful publishers Ryland Peters & Small have commissioned a few little promo videos in which I share the secrets of glamorous baking with you.
Without further ado, please enjoy this first tutorial courtesy of RPS and The Food Network UK and learn how to create stunning glittered Heart Cookies!
There will be more videos to come and a few of my favourite Valentine's inspired bakes on The Food Network UK website very soon!
Happy weekend, you gorgeous lot!
The way I work is a little different to other wedding cake designers. Unless the couple ask me for a specific design that they have seen in my Gallery, every single cake is designed from scratch as a bespoke wedding cake.
I don't charge any extra for this. Why? Well, it's mainly because this is my favourite part of my job and I really love the challenge of creating something perfect for my couples.
Challenging myself in this way keeps me excited about cake decorating. My passion has gone from being my hobby to my profession and this excitement means that (honestly) I rarely feel that I have been 'working' in that grown-up sense of the word... I play in the kitchen for a living and love it!
As we start preparing for Wedding Season 2014, I thought I would share a little insight into my design process with you. If nothing else, you can giggle at my terrible drawings, but if you are thinking of contacting me for one of my free consultations and cake tastings, this is kind of what you can expect!
Back in November, whilst at The Ideal Home Show at Christmas, I was interviewed by the lovely Anna and Michael of What's On Magazine.
What's On is a complimentary magazine, which if you are lucky enough to live in Kent or East Sussex you will be familiar with. This is the front cover of January's edition...
Yes! That's my face on the front cover!
Inside, there are four pages devoted to our interview. If you live in the area, you can pick up a copy now. If not, you can read the interview online here (head for page 36).
Today marks the 'one calendar month to go' point until the release of Burlesque Baking. I cannot wait for you to see the book! Pre-order your copy today and have it delivered to your door as soon as is humanly possible!
As we slowly put 2013 to bed and start pouring ourselves a glass or two of bubbly, it's easy to feel a little too eager for the New Year to begin. I am beside myself with excitement as I scheme and dream of all that could be around the corner but want to savour this quiet moment to think about how fabulous 2013 has been.
Will you indulge me in this?
2013 was the year in which I signed my first book deal and wrote my very first book, Burlesque Baking. It transpires that this is a different discipline to writing individual articles and I loved every second of the challenge! From my initial meeting with the gorgeous people at Ryland Peters & Small on Valentine's Day, through the Spring spent writing, and the Summer photoshoots, I loved it all. The first copy of the book in glorious colour arrived just in time for Christmas and was the best present ever!
2013 was a year of wonderful Weddings. I met some truly amazing couples and was able to create some really exciting cakes. Thank you to each and every one of you beautiful Brides and Grooms who allowed me to be a tasty little part of your big day!
Bookings for 2014 Weddings are coming in thick and fast and I am so looking forward to creating even bigger and better cakes for you all. I should say that, if you are planning a 2014 Wedding, give me a shout now and let's get together to try cake flavours and talk bespoke design... don't pick your cake off the shelf!
I couldn't resist sharing this picture with you on a wet Monday morning...
The very first copy of my first ever book arrived on Saturday and I was more than a little thrilled to get my hands on it!
Burlesque Baking is a cake decorating book for those who want to add a little glamour to their cakes. You will be able to get your own copy on 13th February 2014.
Sorry to tease you all and make you wait for the big reveal! It will be worth it, I promise.
I knew that this was 'the big one' to write about, so have left it until last!
I feel very much like I have done Christmas already. That's it! I have heard the carols and seen the Christmas trees, I have drunk the mulled wines and ciders, sat on Santa's lap, and even seen it snow!
From 13th to 17th November, The Ideal Home Show at Christmas was a festive overload and I had so much fun being a part of it all.
I was invited to appear on stage in the Christmas Theatre to run a few cake decorating demonstrations. My demonstration was entitled 'Contemporary Christmas Cake Decorating' and what I focused on was showing the audience how to marzipan and ice a Christmas Cake, before decorating it with a modern twist. The inspiration for the designs came from the work of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and involved spraying vast amounts of gold lustre onto the cake (and, at the same time, into the front row of the audience!) and adorning it with black fondant flowers and edible glitter.
See, Christmas does not have to be red and green and designed for children, if you don't want it to be.
Here are a few pictures of me up on stage, doing my show!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those involved for supplying me with a comically low, wobbly table, which worked so well with my high heels and low-cut dresses! Cue the Carry On film references...
As my 2013 weddings come to an end and I look forward to the 2014 wedding season, I wanted to share a picture and a thought with you... small cakes can be stunning too!
This 3-tiered Ivory wedding cake with Navy satin ribbons is the ultimate example of 'small and perfectly formed' with it's 4", 6" and 8" tiers. This was a cake for a small number of guests at an intimate ceremony but it still had the wow-factor that the couple wanted.
Topped with a single hand-made sugar rose, the cake is given additional height an drama with a single separator tier beneath the top tier. This small gesture adds an extra 2" to the height of the cake and the rose adds an extra 3". With the same amount of cake, we are building something that will sit proudy within any stately home setting.
What a week it has been! I know that I have said this before but - my goodness - my feet have scarcely touched the ground, let alone afforded opportunity for honest reflection!
I'm working backwards so now telling you about the weekend that has just passed at Taste of London's Christmas show, Taste of Christmas. Billed as 'a Christmas less ordinary', this show was bound to be right up my street! It was. What a fabulous show.
Held in the East of town at Tobacco Dock, A Taste of Christmas was a warren of culinary delights, with room after room filled with the most incredible food and drink to sample and buy.
I was invited to run an express 30 minute version of my Rockabilly Rebel Tattoo Class on the Friday night and Saturday lunchtime. I'm not quite sure what I expected of the Intel Baking Theatre but the state of the art facility, equiped with an Intel powered tablet on each workstation, was more than I could have hoped for!
With my amazing compere, Richard Fox. We are so the alternative Paul & Mary!
It may take me a few blog posts and a few attempts to tell you absolutely everything that has been going on over the past few weeks. Hang on in there with me and I will do my utmost to share.
Let's start with a cake that I am very proud to have delivered this weekend...
Yesterday, several brave theatrical souls (Jaime Winstone, Anthony Head, Jack Whitehall and Zawe Ashton amongst them) gathered at The Old Vic Theatre to write, produce and perform a series of plays all within 24 hours.
That's 24 hours from concept to performance... in front of an actual live, breathing, real and PAYING audience.
Madness, right? That's why I think it's all rather fabulous.
In this 10th year of The Old Vic's 24 Hour Celebrity Gala, I was asked to donate a cake to the cause of feeding not only the (likely) flagging actors in need of a sugar rush, but also the generous audience. The cost of the tickets purchased goes directly back to The Old Vic and Old Vic New Voices, which mentors the next generation of theatrical talent, neither of which receives any public subsidy.
So I baked an enormous chocolate cake, the size of which can only be likened to the one that Roald Dahl's Miss Trunchbull serves to Bruce Bogtrotter.
And here it is...
But this is not even the best part. The whole 24 hours were documented in sketches created by the team at First Hand, a collective of stupidly talented artists, who even sketched the cake! How amazing is this?!
Picture by First Hand
Follow @firsthandinfo on Twitter to see their live feed from the event. It is amazing and you will thank me.
So as cast and crew (and artists) recover from the ordeal... and afterparty... here is a little something to make you giggle and perhaps, if you like it, you may buy a ticket to The OId Vic Theatre sometime soon and see something fantastic.
A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to come along to one of my demonstrations at The Ideal Home Show at Christmas!
Don't forget to check this page again later today for my Christmas Cake recipe and a recap of all of those tricks I shared with you.
I have found it very hard to start this particular news post. I am so proud to have been able to work with Macmillan Cancer Support over the last few weeks and wanted to express how much this means to me after the wonderful care that the Macmillan nurses gave to my beloved Grandad.
Nope... three years on and it's still sad.
Whenever I speak to people about Macmillan and their fabulous fundraising activities, the response I get is an overwhelming sense that every family has been touched by cancer and holds an incredible love and admiration for the Macmillan nurses.
I wholeheartedly believe that life is for living so, while the message is a serious one and the need for funding is constant, why be sad when we can bake cakes, brew coffee, and get people to empty their pockets for a good cause?
Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning on September 27th was its biggest and best to date, raising over £5million and counting, and I was lucky enough to be invited to a fabulous event at Sutra Kitchen hosted by the wonderful chef Jay Morjaria.
Of course, I wasn't going to turn up empty-handed. I took some little bites of chocolate cake. In my own experience, these are stupidly moreish and go so well with coffee!
I popped down to Macmillan HQ on perhaps one of the last sunny days of the summer and taught a little cake decorating masterclass. You can read the top tips that I gave them on the Macmillan blog!
Chef Tony Singh was on hand to whip up some delicious treats. Here he is, working on some raspberry mousse!
Which was so delicious! The equally delicious James Morton from GBBO Season 3 was kind enough to share his dessert with me. Really, there were so many cakes and treats to try that you had to start sharing things or risk exploding! Our host, Jay, was really spoiling us...
The lovely Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters visited for a well-earned coffee break after days of TV appearances, raising awareness of this cause. I think my chocolate cake bites went down well!
Thank you so much to Paul Cullen and everyone at Macmillan for all of your hard work raising loads of money for such an amazing cause. The work of the Macmillan nurses makes a huge difference to families all over the country and we are all here to help in any way that we can. At the very least, we will make coffee (cocktails!) and cakes AT LEAST once a year and empty our pockets too.
Thank you also to James McCauley at McCauley Photos for the pictures.
And here's me, raising a glass to Grandad Philip, who would have loved this post!
I am beyond thrilled to announce that my very first cake decorating book, Burlesque Baking, is available for pre-order online now!
Here is the link to the book on Amazon UK
If you are overseas in America or Mainland Europe, please check your local online retailers as the book is available internationally. Don't get stung on paying for shipping from the UK.
What they say: Burlesque is a celebration of beauty and decadence, which are incidentally the best qualities of a cake, too! Charlotte White understands this, and has paired these two artforms to create 25 tantalizing cakes and bakes, all inspired by the costumes of genuine burlesque performers and which openly push indulgence, teasing the tastebuds and widening the eyes - after all, the art of Burlesque is the art of putting on a show! This is a baking book for women who are unashamedly feminine but staunchly anti-twee. Starting with basic recipes for the cakes and cookies, these baking and sugar-crafting projects are arranged into four levels of complexity, and written in a clear step-by-step style. Start your burlesque career at the old fashioned Gaiety Theatre, with simple designs for Lady Alex Cookies, before progressing to Minsky's Burlesque Theatre for a performance of Tempest Rose Cupcakes. Moulin Rouge offers up Missy Malone Cupcakes, before, finally a fully fledged star, you are ready to try the treats of the Cafe de Paris! Charlotte has one rule by which she lives: indulgence and decadence should be encouraged at all times and in all places - especially the kitchen!
What I say: If you have ever wanted to learn the basics of cake decorating but felt a little alienated by row after row of pastel pink books, this is the book for you! Each project is inspired by an incredible shining star of the Burlesque world. These projects are far from twee and are entirely achievable at home with ingredients and kit that you can get hold of really easily. I wanted to make an entry level book that encourages you to be completely fabulous with your decoration - whatever your ambition, you will be able to create a perfectly covered cake or advance to intricate detailing using a handful of techniques. Plus, the book contains a select few of my favourite recipes, including my Chocolate Mud Cake AND Salted Caramel Cake, If your bookshelf is missing a book that blends cake with corsetry, pre-order today!
And for Burlesque lovers, I am thrilled to reveal that the foreword to my book has been penned by none other than Catherine D'Lish! I really couldn't have dreamed of a better introduction to Burlesque Baking and it has been an honour to have Catherine involved.
If you pre-order your copy today, it will be lovingly delivered on the release date of 13th February 2014, just in time for Valentine's Day! I can think of no more fabulous gift.
So the fabulous kitty cat is well and truly out of the rhinestone-encrusted bag... my very first cake decorating book is called Burlesque Baking. As with any big project, I wanted to keep a little under wraps while I was busy creating but, now that the final copy has gone off to the printers, I guess I can tell you a little more about it.
I love Burlesque. To me, Burlesque represents the epitome of glamour and those performers who take their inspiration from the 1940s and 1950s inspire me to groom myself a little better, and wear that huge necklace in the daytime, and match my gloves to my feathered hat.
So what I have done with Burlesque Baking is taken a cue from my very favourite performers and created cakes in their honour. I will tell you more about this process nearer publication day (in February 2014) but here is a little something to whet your appetites in the meantime.
This is Immodesty Blaize.
Immodesty is the most iconic of British Burlesque performers and, with more than a passing resemblance to the classic Hollywood beauty of Sophia Loren and her highly intelligent turn of phrase (her documentary film Burlesque Undressed is a must see) she is one woman that I would love to make cakes for!
I've been wanting to tell you all about the huge success that was the Cake & Bake Show ever since I got in on Sunday night... but my week has been no less crazy this week than last!
But then, that's another story...
From Friday 13th until Sunday 15th September, London's Earls Court was home to the most incredible show of the very best baking talent that the country has to offer. I am very proud to have been a little part of it all!
Here's just a little of what I got up to.
So now I am REALLY spoiling you... I am offering another chance to win a pair of tickets to The Cake & Bake Show, being held at London's Earl's Court 13-15th September!
What do you need to do to win? Well this post is going to be linked on Twitter and on Facebook, so all you need to do to enter the draw is retweet, like, share, shout from the rooftops, and your name will go into the retro raffle - called so because I actually use raffle tickets and pull names out of a hat!
If you retweet on Twitter AND share via Facebook, I will enter your name twice. I'm nice like that. AND if you entered the last draw a few weeks ago, I will honour your last entry so you could end up with quite a few chance to win.
When I announce the winner, I will ask you to let me have an address for you as the tickets are in hand and ready to come to you in the post - along with a couple of extra gifts from me too ;o)
Your free tickets will be valid on any of the three days of the show so you can come along on whichever day suits you best.
Don't forget that you will need to book any demonstrations that you wish to attend separately. I would love for you to come along to my own little show... Burlesque Baking is on at the following times:
You can book your space in my demonstration by clicking on the date that you prefer from the list above, and you can have a look at all the demonstrations on offer and book your tickets by clicking here.
Oh and if you haven't heard what I have in store for the show, you had better read my news post and catch up!
So good luck, you gorgeous lot! I hope to see lots of you at the show in September!
Happy Friday, you gorgeous lot!
I'm feeling all kinds of generous today so I am offering you the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Cake & Bake Show, being held at London's Earl's Court 13-15th September!
What do you need to do to win? Well this post is going to be linked on Twitter and on Facebook, so all you need to do to enter the draw is retweet, like, share, shout from the rooftops, and your name will go into some fabulous hat from my (stupidly large) collection.
If you retweet on Twitter AND share via Facebook, I will enter your name twice. I'm nice like that. Don't spam your friends though... I'm not going to put your name in the hat more than twice!
When I announce the winner, I will ask you to let me have an address for you as the tickets are in hand and ready to come to you in the post - along with a couple of extra gifts from me too ;o)
Your free tickets will be valid on any of the three days of the show so you can come along on whichever day suits you best.
Don't forget that you will need to book any demonstrations that you wish to attend separately. I would love for you to come along to my own little show... Burlesque Baking is on at the following times:
You can book your space in my demonstration by clicking on the date that you prefer from the list above, and you can have a look at all the demonstrations on offer and book your tickets by clicking here.
Oh and if you haven't heard what I have in store for the show, you had better read my last news post and catch up!
So go get lucky, have a fabulous weekend, and I will announce the winner next week!
It just feels like it's one exciting announcement after another at the moment!
I am thrilled to announce that I will be appearing at The Cake & Bake Show at Earl's Court from 13-15 September.
You will be able to see my demonstrations in Classroom 3 at the following times:
1pm Friday 13th September
2pm Saturday 14th September
2pm Sunday 15th September
But what can you expect for your £8 classroom ticket?
I am planning something that will be unlike anything else going on at the show... well, would you expect anything less from me?
My session is entitled 'Burlesque Baking' and what I will be demonstrating is how to take inspiration from a beautifully crafted costume, replete with ruching, ruffles, and rhinestones, and translate this into your cake design. Of course, you will be able to take the same principles and techniques that I will show you into your own designs and gather your own inspiration from whatever floats your boat!
It just so happens that my personal tastes lie in the slightly sexier side of vintage styling and the glamour of Burlesque. Let's call this 'vintage with an edge'. It's more Dita Von Teese and less Cath Kidston. Leave your muted pastel shades at the door and join me in my delicious world of Technicolor!
It's going to be hot... and I think that you are going to like it.
So by now you are probably gagging for a ticket so head on over to the Cake & Bake website to pick up a ticket now (because they will be limited) or click onto my events page for some quick links to the ticketing pages.
I will post more details of my demonstrations in advance of the show dates to whet your appetites a little more.
Until then, have a fabulous week, you gorgeous lot!
Where to start? The last few weeks have been insane.
When I first started Restoration Cake, I had a crazy dream about all the big things that I wanted to achieve and, last week especially, I have started to feel that these things are possible. In fact, they are happening.
Earlier this year, I signed my very first book deal. Ever since the moment I scrawled my (very neatest, using my posh pen!) signature on the dotted line, I have been working my hardest to make this book the very best.
I have created a selection of achievable cake decorating projects and even shared a few of my favourite recipes - including my Salted Caramel Cake! I won't say too much more now but don't expect this book to look like any other cake decorating book that you have seen...
This is a big week as my final deadline is on Friday and the first round of photography takes place on Wednesday and Thursday. So you might not get much noise out of me this week!
The book will be released in Spring 2014 and I dare say that I will find a lot more time to tell you all about it (and ask you to buy it!) in the run up to this date. If you follow me on Twitter, I will try to post some little sneaky peaks from the photoshoot to whet your appetite.
But for now, I must sign off again and get back to writing my last few projects for the book and preparing sugar flowers and dozens of cakes for the shoot.
And if you have a crazy dream, own it, admit that you want it, and go make it happen!
On Sunday 14th April, I was lucky enough to exhibit and speak at Zoe Lem's Vintage Wedding Fair at Bloomsbury Ballroom.
It was the most wonderful event. It was a real event - catwalk shows, live bands, Q&A sessions with a panel of experts (ahem... myself included!), and loads of fabulous wedding suppliers. Everything was there under one roof from dresses and accessories, to stationery, flowers, and cake!
What made this fair extra special for me was the good feeling that ran through the whole day. It certainly didn't feel like a day at the office as so many of the other exhibitors are dear friends of mine and I even made lots of new friends.
As you will see from the video below, by the incredible Union Videos, we didn't really stop giggling all day!
Roll on the next fair! Sunday 3rd November, stick that in your diaries now!
Hello there, you gorgeous lot!
It's been far too long since I updated you with the latest from Restoration Cake but I am hoping that you will forgive me... I do have a really good excuse... more on that soon.
To say that I was excited to have been asked to create a Wedding Cake for the wedding of a truly wonderful couple at Highclere Castle would be a massive understatement.
A wedding at Downton Abbey!!! I was going to be setting up a Wedding Cake at Downton Abbey!!!
When I first met with the Bride, she showed me a picture of the beautiful lace gown that she would be wearing and told me of the entrance that she would be making, gliding down that famous staircase to say her vows. I knew that the cake would have to be equally elegant for this setting.
The Bride had already fallen in love with my pearl-encrusted Gloria design so I adapted this for her big day. I used strips of lace to trim each tier and crowned the cake with large white sugar roses. All of this was the perfect complement to the pearl separators and hand-piped pearl motif.
Setting up the cake was an experience that I will never forget. We were ushered into the State Dining Room and shown to the cake table. The room is presided over by the enormous portrait of King Charles I by Anthony Van Dyck. I was beside myself with excitement to be in the presence of this amazing painting. We took a cheeky snap... it's not the most flattering shot but the emotion is entirely genuine.
As I worked to construct the three tiered cake, Tara's Theme from Gone With The Wind played for the Bride's rehearsal. It was all so romantic.
Pictures of the Bride and Groom cutting their Wedding Cake at the foot of the staircase have started to appear on Facebook and I hope that I will be able to share some of their professional shots with you soon. They are going to be epic... in the classic Hollywood movie sense of the word.
In the meantime, you shall have to make do with the pictures taken by my own photographer!
Can you think of anything more glorious than a wedding at Downton Abbey? I mean, Highclere Castle. It's every bit as beautiful but does not come with Carson the butler!
Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Dawson!
Oh and a big thank you to my handsome photographer, Chris!
I am so proud to have had the opportunity to work with Comic Relief in the run up to Red Nose Day 2013.
I wanted to share a few pictures of this adorable 1st Birthday Cake with you.
To celebrate 150 years of the London Underground, The Ideal Home Show has challenged both professional and amateur Cake Designers to create cakes inspired by this theme.
My own design, along with the designs of ten other professional Cake Designers, will be on display in the Seasonal Cookery Theatre at Earl's Court until 1st April.
As one of the expert judges of the Ideal Amateur Cake Decorating Competition, my design is not eligable to be included in the voting for the Professional Cake Decorator of the Year, but I wanted to try my hand at the same challenge as the entrants.
Firstly, I hoped that by putting my ideas out there and creating a cake inspired by the London Underground, I would be able to provide a little encouragement to the hopefuls bringing their own designs to be judged on Friday 22nd March. Secondly, this brief is fun! A cake inspired by the London Underground? Count me in!
Any amateur Cake Designers out there who fancy creating a cake on this brief should have a read of the details that you need on the Ideal Home website by clicking here. Basically, it all boils down to 'if you bring a cake to enter in the Ideal Amateur Cake Decorating Competition to Earl's Court on Friday 22nd March, before we judge the entries at 2pm, you get into the show that day for free'. Of course, there are also some fabulous prizes to be won in this competition, thanks to Kenwood!
So you have to know that, with a cake company named after a period in British history, I am something of a history geek, right? My cake design illustrates the most iconic moment in the London Underground's history.
I wanted to honour the thousands of Londoners who used the Underground platforms as communal air raid shelters during the blitz. I have always been moved by the idea of Londoners taking possession of the stations and gathering underground because they felt safe there. According to TFL, on one single night during World War II, 177,500 Londoners sheltered from the blitz in London Underground stations.
The cake itself is a four-tiered construction, each tier representing a layer further underground. The cake is crowned with the London Underground sign above a replica of Strand underground station. Below this are wartime posters and a photograph of the sleeping Londoners (which have all been printed on edible paper using edible ink). The bottom tier shows two 1938 design underground trains passing through tunnels.
Our last Ideal Amateur Cake Decorating winner won because she demonstrated an obvious passion for cake decorating. This is a trait that I can smell at 100 paces! If you love to decorate cakes, have a go at making something to enter. You have a few days left and I shall hope to see you in the Seasonal Cookery Theatre at The Ideal Home Show on Friday!
Get baking, you gorgeous lot!
My darling Chris and I have been married for two years today.
I wish I knew where the time had gone!
All I know is that I could not have made Restoration Cake into my full time proper, grown up, 24/7 job and career without the love and support of my Husband. I am beyond grateful to Chris for being my partner, my right-hand man, my artistic director, my airbrush technician, my driver, and my head cheerleader.
So I find myself lost for words. Thankfully, David Bowie came to my rescue.
I've nothing much to offer,
There's nothing much to take.
I'm an absolute beginner,
And I'm absolutely sane.
As long as we're together,
The rest can go to hell.
I absolutely love you,
But we're absolute beginners,
With eyes completely open,
But nervous all the same.
Nothing much could happen,
Nothing we can't shake.
Oh we're absolute beginners,
With nothing much at stake.
As long as you're still smiling,
There's nothing more I need.
I absolutely love you,
But we're absolute beginners.
But if my love is your love,
We're certain to succeed.
If our love song could fly over mountains,
Sail over heartaches, just like the films.
There's no reason to feel all the hard times,
To lay down the hard lines,
It's absolutely true.
I have far too many things to tell you about (those who follow the Twitter feed will know how much I have been running around town of late!) so I am going to start with an easy one...
The lovely people at Wedding Magazine have included my top tips for choosing your Wedding Cake in their 'Venue News' section this month! You can see my little contribution here.
Now if this little section has whet your appetite to hear more of my tips for choosing your Wedding Cake, you can read even more from me on the Wedding Magazine website. The online article has even more of my tips and suggestions.
Remember that this is YOUR cake and there are so many ways that you can make it fit perfectly into your big day. Choosing your cake should be the most fabulous and delicious item on your wedding planning to-do list. Have a read of my top tips and get enthusiastic about the biggest cake that you will probably ever commission!
I will be back later to catch you up with all the latest news from Restoration Cake...
As preparations are well under way for Red Nose Day on Friday 15th March, the staff at Comic Relief had decided to hold their very own Bake Off, with entrants donating to enter their best bakes and hungry office staff donating to eat up all of the delicious dishes on offer.
Well, they got to eat everything that was left after the judges had worked their way down the tables!
I was drafted in to judge the Showstopper Cake category (more on that later) along with Grace and Liam from All' Scone and Les O'Dea, the Operations Director at Comic Relief HQ who had been dragged away from his desk to eat cake... which I don't think he minded too much!
We began with a table full of Signature Bakes. There must have been 20 bakes to taste and our tasting portions got smaller as we went along and got increasingly full! Our winner was the most amazing ginger cake that I have ever tasted, with a little kick of black pepper.
Grace and Liam took the lead on the Technical Challenge round as we tasted different batches of Cherry & Almond Scones. Some entrants had even made their own jam and clotted cream!
But I still think that the Showstopper Cake round was the hardest round to judge. The entrants had really excelled themselves. We had pinstriped carnival cakes, harlequin cakes, and monster cakes! In the end, the winner had to be this amazing rainbow cake.
I have seen a lot of rainbow cakes over the last year. They are beautiful when done right but easy to get wrong. This cake won because, not only were the colours vivid and appetising but it tasted delicious too! The winner will be joining me in my next Wedding Cake 101 class as part of her prize!
IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED!
If you love to bake, please bake up a storm and raise some money for Comic Relief this Red Nose Day. Have a Bake Off competition at work or a Bake Sale at school. Bake whatever you can think of to sell and charge an entry fee for your Bake Off.
We even got into the spirit on Saturday at Wedding Cake 101! I hope that you will give this a go and raise some dough!
Yesterday, the very first Restoration Cake iBook went live on iTunes!
It's really there! CLICK HERE TO SEE IT!
The response that I have received has been truly overwhelming. I really cannot say thank you enough to everyone who sent me a lovely message on Twitter or Facebook. How rare it is that I find myself lost for words!
Favourite Cake Decorating Tricks and Simple Recipes from Restoration Cake is a collection of my various articles written over the last year or so, with glorious pictures by the fabulous Rockabetty Studios and gorgeous Laura Babb. All have been beautifully repackaged in an interactive iBook that swipes and moves and whizzes and bangs.
OK... it doesn't really whizz and bang but it's still pretty fabulous.
The iBook is priced at £2.99 which is the same cost as a packet of icing. I think this is a bit of a bargain but, if you want to get a little taste before parting with your hard-earned cash, there is a free sample chapter!
At present, the book is only available in the iBookstore for iPad (I'm a iPad user myself so am most comfortable in this format!) but I hope to cross over to other formats soon.
The process of formatting the iBook and getting it up on iTunes for sale has been a lengthy one. It has also been one that I have had a lot of help with.
Hey, I can write the thing but the technical side is not my thing at all!
So this is my chance to say the biggest THANK YOU to the person who made this possible.
To my darling friend, Clare - your hours upon HOURS of tireless work have made this little dream come true for me. You are phenomenally talented and the book is more amazing than I could have possibly hoped for. This would not have happened without your love and dedication and I am beyond grateful.
With any luck, this will be the first of many more publications from Restoration Cake and I look forward to getting started on the next one!
Good morning, you gorgeous lot!
It's been another crazy week here at Restoration Cake and, though I would love to share every single detail with you in 1,000 words, I will just tell you about one cake.
... But it's a good one!
Yesterday, I created a little treat for Valentines Day inspired by the beautiful Burlesque Artist, Miss Polly Rae.
Whilst leafing through the pages of the latest issue of Burlesque Bible Magazine, I found this picture of Miss Polly Rae in the most stunning pale pink and burgundy corset.
The design of the corset inspired me and I could see each of the various embellishments as recreated using various piping nozzles (OK, this is probably a Cake Designer thing!).
The cake that I created was covered in pale pink fondant icing, decorated with piped swags of burgundy beading, burgundy ruffles and a burgundy shell border. The cake was further embellished with fondant flowers made using my new cutters and veiners from Blossom Sugar Art and crowned with an oversized flower to match the one worn in Polly's hair.
Oh and the cake inside was Red Velvet... it had to be really!
So I think we should name this design 'Polly', what do you think?
Wishing you all the most fabulous weekend.
On Saturday 9th February, I will be appearing live on the Vivienne Lee Show on Meridian Radio!
Vivienne will be asking the questions and I will be picking six of my favourite songs to play out - and believe me, I have picked some really good tunes.
To listen live, you will need to tune in at 12pm by going to http://www.meridianradio.co.uk/ and clicking 'listen live'. There will be catch-up highlights available after the show.
You can even ask me a question live via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by text on 07535 370800.
I was fortunate enough to meet two of my heroines in the closing months of 2012; Nigella Lawson and Mich Turner.
Meeting these two influential women marked a bit of a turning point in the way that I view my business and my aspirations. Firstly, Nigella gave me a piece of valuable advice for any dreamer; she told me to go for it. I asked Nigella what advice she would give to an aspiring food writer (albeit one who wants to write pretty much exclusively about cake with disregard of all other necessary food groups!) and she told me to write. Just do it.
I felt about ten feet tall.
This advice came at the most fortuitous time as I had just finished my regular article in Vintage Life Magazine; after contributing articles for a year, I decided to stop and concentrate on writing my book. Any writer, when put on the spot to offer advice to aspiring writers seems to say the same thing; if you want to write a book, then just start writing it! Simple, no?
I designed Wedding Cake 101 to be the ultimate in express classes for busy DIY Brides. For only £90 and three hours of your time, I can show you how to create a simple yet stunning Wedding Cake that will be perfect for your big day.
The next class is being held on Saturday 23rd February at 2pm and there are still a few places left.
Click here for all the details and to snap your place because, with this fabulous mention, they are sure to go!
I am thrilled to say that I have been invited to judge the annual Ideal Amateur Cake Decorator of the Year 2013 at the Ideal Home Show this Spring!
You may remember that I judged this same competition back in November last year and awarded a whole host of prizes to our lucky winner - this year is set to be no different and the prize fund is mounting day by day!
Are you a keen cake decorator? Fancy entering the competition for yourself? Here are all the details that you will need:
The theme for this year's competition is a celebration of 150 years of the London Underground. Use your imagination to create a cake that commemorates the heritage of the Tube... whether you take your inspiration from the trains themselves, or the name of a station (Angel, Elephant & Castle, High Barnet... you have 270 to choose from!), we want to see your edible works of art.
What a night!
The You & Your Wedding Party last night marked the end of a very long few days of caking! There is far too much to tell in one post so I am just going to keep in brief (by my standards) and tell you about the cake that I created for this glamorous event.
The team at You & Your Wedding Magazine are blessed with the most gorgeous space in which to work, create, and party. When I was discussing this order with Chris, he said "so the party is just in their office?" but this was to be no ordinary office party...
No-one was photocopying their bottom at this do!
As we approach the final hours of 2012, I thought that I should say a massive THANK YOU to all of the wonderful couples who have made this such an amazing year for Restoration Cake.
I feel seriously blessed to have met such a fabulous bunch of loved-up people and shared in the excitement of planning your Weddings. Thank you for all the lovely feedback, and for allowing me to share your comments with future couples on my Testimonials page. Hearing that you enjoyed your cake and seeing the pictures of you with the cake MAKE MY JOB THE VERY BEST IN THE WORLD.
So I cannot really thank you enough.
One of my favourite cakes of 2012 was the Tattoo Heart that I created for Rachael and Aaron back in May. The Wedding was so gorgeous that it was featured as one of Kat Williams' Weddings of the year on RocknRoll Bride. The pictures by Lisa-Jane Brown are seriously gorgeous so if you have not checked out the Wedding, the full write-up by Kat is here.
OK, you gorgeous lot, it was a fabulous weekend and I want to share the whole crazy ride with you.
Because I know that we all need a giggle on a Tuesday afternoon, I am going to start with Saturday night and show you what happens when a group of Wedding industry professionals get together.
This is what happens...
Huge thanks to the wonderful Sassy of Assassynation who decided that, with Christmas well on the way, we all needed to get together and party after the hectic 2012 Wedding season.
I am so excited to have announced the first 2013 Studio Session Class dates. I am even more excited to be adding a new class to the schedule.
Over the past year as a full-time proper professional type Cake Designer (and it still feels bizarre that this is my actual job, after a lifetime of caking as a hobby) I have had the pleasure of meeting many Brides in the throws of Wedding planning. Of these Brides, some choose to book my services for their Wedding, some choose to go elsewhere, and some tell me that they will be making their own Wedding Cake or having their Mum/Nan/Aunt/Friend make it.
Having been the Friend/Cousin who made the cake on numerous ocassions and having been the crazy DIY Bride who made her own Wedding Cake (all, I might add, BEFORE I became a full-time proper professional type Cake Designer), I know something of the pressure involved in supplying cake for loved ones.
Of course, I would never have done any of this if I didn't enjoy it. I love baking cakes and I love decorating them too. Even more than this, I love designing a cake and I really REALLY love seeing people tucking in to something that I have poured all of this love into.
So I got to thinking (two news posts in one day and I'm channelling Carrie Bradshaw) how wonderful it would be to be able to teach a class that would prepare the DIY Bride or lovely friend/relative for the task of creating a traditional tiered Wedding Cake.
I have designed Wedding Cake 101 to be an express class walking students through the basic assembly of a Wedding Cake. We will cover two tiers in fondant icing and then stack one tier on top of the other. This is a matter of basic structural engineering and once you are shown how to by someone who has done this 100 times before, you will feel more confident to go home and create something beautiful.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that I have added some 2013 class dates to my schedule!
Cake decorating really is my passion and I love having the opportunity to share this with some likeminded individuals - some of whom I can say are the most amazing and talented individuals... many of whom have become good friends of mine.
So I have announced a January 2013 date for my All Tied Up Bow Cake Class and a February 2013 date for my hugely popular Rockabilly Rebel Cupcakes Class AND I have also added a new class to the schedule...
...Wedding Cake 101...
This class is for DIY Brides and aspiring Cake Decorators. You can read all of the details here and I will post again all about this class and what you can expect from it this afternoon.
My Studio Session Classes are all about getting together and decorating cakes over a cup of tea or a glass of wine. The students learn a few new techniques and all my tricks of the trade. We all have a giggle and the students leave with cakes that they can really be proud of.
What a week it was! The Ideal Home Show at Christmas pulled in the crowds and left me feeling a little festive after watching the ice skating and hearing the Salvation Army Band playing my favourite Christmas carols.
The highlight of the show for me was the Cake Decorator of the Year Competition, which I was asked to judge alongside the wonderful Shelly of Cakes by Shelly.
We deliberated a great deal over which of the entries should be crowned the winner. It was a very close call but we decided that one entry really reflected the love and time invested by the entrant. It was clear that the person who had made this cake really loved cake decorating - a passion that Shelly and I share and are keen to encourage in others.
On Wednesday night, I appeared on the wonderful radio programme that is Harry & Edna on the Wireless!
I had worried that it might be difficult to find enough to say in order to fill an hour long show... I really shouldn't have worried! In addition to talking all things cake, we chatted about vintage styling, the best places to buy genuine and repro vintage, and the growing trend for vintage-inspired Weddings.
I also discuss my love of all things Restoration era and reveal where I buy my most fabulous hats.
You can listen again here...
For those of you who are not familiar with the simply amazing vintage Bridal shop that is Fur Coat No Knickers, I bet this title grabbed your attention!
I have loved this little corner of Kingly Court for some time now and am lucky enough to have supplied cakes for a couple of FCNK Brides. These have been amongst my very favourite weddings as it tends to be that FCNK Brides assemble a 'dream team' of suppliers and I end up working with such awesome folks as Elbie Van Eeden, Lisa Jane Photography, and We Heart Pictures (to name just a few).
It is because I love FCNK Brides so much that I am happy to offer a very special discount of 15% off a bespoke Wedding Cake to these lovely ladies!
If you are booked in to have a fitting at FCNK this weekend, you will find a little slice of Red Velvet cake in the shop to go with your bubbly, from me with love. I hope that you enjoy your FCNK experience as much as I did...
I should start with an apology. I have had this McFly song buzzing around my head for days and you may just end up in a similar state of mild annoyance by the end of this post. Personally, I suggest that you click on the link above and don't try to fight it.
The Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza was created to be a Wedding Fair that was not a Wedding Fair. When I first spoke to Sassy of Assassynation about her ideas for the event, she was adamant that this was going to be something different. I signed up straight away to be a part of this!
Those of you who have been following the Twitter feed or Facebook updates will know that I am very excited to be designing a Christmas-themed cake for The Ideal Home Show at Christmas. This year's show will be held from 14-18 November at Earl's Court in London.
There is also an exciting opportunity for all of you aspiring Cake Designers out there - The Ideal Christmas Cake Decorator of the Year 2012 Competition!
The more you do something, the less scary it becomes...
This is me, terrified! The resulting pictures by Assassynation were awesome though.
I was interviewed for Meridian Radio at Destination Star Trek London as we waiting for the Klingon Wedding to commence and this is the first ever interview I have given where I don't sound petrified!
You can listen to my interview here. I am 51:33 minutes in if you want to skip straight to the cake chat but the show is a must-listen for any Star Trek fans as it features interviews with other people at the convention and loads of Star Trek theme music... which is wonderfully epic sounding!
After all the fun of Zoe Lem's Vintage Wedding Fair yesterday - and what fun it was, meeting so many lovely couples and suppliers as well as giving a little talk about vintage-inspiration in Wedding Cake design - it's time to look towards the coming weekend and The Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza!
Yes, I will be one of the 'Baad Ass Mother-Flockers' exhibiting at this unique Wedding event and Restoration Cake will be there with some of our designs on display and cakey samples for you to try.
OK, you gorgeous lot, it is so nearly the weekend that I think you can safely start shutting down and inching towards the door right about now...
Just tell the boss that you have a very urgent appointment and let's all get together somewhere warm for a cup of tea and some cake.
I'm guessing that both you and I need to put in a few more hours before quitting time so let's postpone until Sunday when I will be exhibiting at Zoe Lem's Vintage Wedding Fair at Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell.
Restoration Cake will be exhibiting a selection of Wedding Cake designs and handing out some tasty samples to wet your appetites.
Last night, a thousand souls braved the fenland mist and congregated in Ely Cathedral to hear a Domestic Goddess speak.
As Nigella Lawson took to the stage, she apologised and said that she would not be singing, in spite of appearances - the microphone that she was using did look suspiciously like it had come from a kareoke bar! Nigella was not in that hallowed space to sing; she was there to preach.
This is definitely the biggest and most complex Wedding Cake that I have ever created. I am not at all scared of a challenge and when tested to put my principles of giving a couple EXACTLY what they want on their big day, I am there with piping bag at the ready!
Those who have been following the Twitter feed will know that I provided the Wedding Cake for the first ever Klingon Wedding Ceremony to be held at the Destination Star Trek London convention last night. Whether this is something for you or not, I am sure that you will agree, this is one heck of a Wedding Cake!
When I launched my Studio Session classes in August, I hoped that people would want to come along and would have an amazing time.
Weeks later, I have hosted two classes - Rockabilly Rebel Tattoo Cupcakes and All Tied Up Bow Cake - and the response that I have had from my students has been truly wonderful. In much the same way as I get such a kick from hearing back from happy Brides and Grooms, to hear comments like these from students chokes me right up!
"I had a really great time and learnt a lot - you have certainly demystified the art of cake covering and I am no longer too scared to try it on my own."
Good afternoon, and Happy Thursday to you all!
It's so nearly the weekend...
I have had a tasty little mention in today's Thursday Treats on RocknRoll Bride.
We are settling into our new here at restorationcake.co.uk quite nicely after a few days!
The statistics show that lots of you have visited the new site and I do hope that you are liking what you find here. If you have any comments at all, you know that you can contact me any time.
Last weekend was the last of 'silly season' and I delivered two very different takes on a sugar lace wedding cake to two very different weddings.
You may have seen the pictures popping up on Facebook and Twitter but here they are again...
What do you think? Do you like it here?
This is the reason I have been so very anti-social over the last few weeks.
... well, that, and I had a Birthday and all...
I hope that you will all love this new website and will have no trouble finding your way around.
Here are my favourite new places of this new place...
I have gone into the shady world of merchandising! Have a look at the Shop. Ever since being totally blown away by Mary Portas' The Bottom Line on Channel 4, I have wanted to show my support for Great British manufacturing.
And what better way to do this than by actually manufacturing something!
I am so excited to launch the Restoration Cake Studio Sessions.
Since March of this year, I have enjoyed the opportunity to teach classes at The Make Lounge in Islington. Meeting so many wonderful, eager and talented students has been a constant source of inspiration to me throughout this incredible year and I have discovered a passion for teaching that I did not know I had.
When I found my new commercial kitchen came with a large table and ample workspace for several students, I decided to bite the bullet and throw the doors open to you to come and learn a few more tricks of the trade that I use on a daily basis.
I am not quite sure where the time is going. It seems like only yesterday that we were on Hop Farm, dressed in our 1940s finest and meeting with fellow enthusiasts and re-enactors.
One of the most wonderful aspects of The War & Peace Show is the presence of our veterans. These gentlemen are about the smartest dressed that you will ever see, sparkling with rows of gleaming medals, always gracious and eager to chat.
On the Sunday, I was lucky enough to meet a veteran of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. We spoke for some time and he offered to send me his memoirs to read.
There was absolutely no way that I could hope to fit all my stories about the War & Peace Show into one news post. My brain would not be able to handle this mammoth task and I fear that you would get very bored! Instead, I will attempt to serialise various bits of the event and share some fab pictures with you.
Today, I want to share some pictures of the fabulous people that I had the pleasure of meeting over the three days that I spent on the farm in Kent.
As the dust settles (literally, it was pretty dusty) after three days of excitement at this year's War & Peace Show and as I gather all of my photos and stories to share with you, I thought best to remind you all that this week is Vintage Life Magazine week!
This year's show is billed as the biggest and best military vehicle spectacular in its 25 year history - there will be loads going on, including tank rides for the adventurous amongst you and loads of vintage stalls for the less adventuring more shopping-types (like myself!). There will be music and dancing and loads of people dressed up to recreate the spirit of WW2.
Can you tell that I am just a little excited?
Today I was beaten by the machines. Sometimes, updating my website is a real struggle. I make no apologies for this because, though I am not brilliant at IT, I am quite good at making cakes.
The good news is that I have managed to add some more pictures to my Wedding Cake gallery AND update my events page with a couple more lovely classes at The Make Lounge for you to come along to!
In my defense and for being so rubbish with anything technical today, I am going to pop some pictures of my latest Wedding Cake creations below for you to look at. Keep Calm and Carry On, you gorgeous lot.
Claire: Ivory Embossed Lace with Sugar Pearls
Happy Monday to you all! It's set to be a very exciting week here at Restoration Cake... even more so with the little thump of magazines falling through the letterbox!
On Thursday 28th June, you can buy BOTH of these fabulous magazines with a contribution from your's truly.
... I’ve been to London, to look at the Queen!
What a weekend it was. For a Royalist, such as myself, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations have been like all of my Christmases come at once.
Ten years ago, watching all those people in the Mall, waving their flags for the Golden Jubilee celebrations, I knew that I wanted to be one of them someday. This weekend, I got my wish.
The weekend began slowly on Saturday. I had a visit from one of my 2011 Brides. It turned out that neither the Bride nor the Bridegroom got to eat any of their cake on their Wedding Day and this had upset them both greatly. I was commissioned to bake the same Chocolate Mud Cake again for them to enjoy on their first anniversary. I hope that they got to enjoy every single slice of the small cake I baked for just the two of them!
There is something about the sunshine that makes every day seem completely perfect. I say this even in spite of the fact that I spend most sunny days covered in factor 50 sunscreen and hiding in the shade because, though the sun may not like me, I like it when it shines. Suddenly, I find myself with a wardrobe bursting with colour and summer dresses that scream "isn't this just a LOVELY day?!"
So it was in this sunny state of mind that I headed on over to Maida Vale to deliver a Wedding Cake on Friday. Prepare for some serious Wedding envy because this Bride hired a dream team... her dress was from Fur Coat No Knickers, her make-uo by Elbie Van Eeden, her photographs by the wonderful Lisa-Jane, her entertainment provided by The Three Belles, and her cake by yours truly. Fabulous!
The brief for this cake was to tie the design in with the Bride's button bouquet. The buttons were in red, sky blue and white with quirky little details like little blue tea cups, polka dotted flowers and penny farthing bicycles.
Yesterday, the hubby and I travelled down to Portsmouth to set up my most Rock'n'Roll cake ever.
I made my very first Wedding Cake back in 2007 for the Wedding of two very dear friends.
This tower of 150 cupcakes was my Wedding gift to them and, though I did not imagine it at the time, it changed my life forever.
This is a post about Weddings. I am a massive advocate of a Wedding being a reflection of the couple getting married. This sounds a bit obvious, right? Of course a Wedding is all about the couple who say 'I do', right?
I am sure that we can all imagine the various external pressures that come into play when planning a Wedding but I am just going to talk about what I know and that is cake.
The cutting of the cake is one of those key Wedding moments. This picture will be one of those that you will keep forever but your cake is not just there to be photographed; your cake is there to be eaten and enjoyed! This is where I come in...
I want my couples to look forward to eating their Wedding cake. This is why I meet with each of my couples to discuss their Wedding plans and their cakey preferences and dietary requirements.
Here are some examples of what this looks like...
The couple told me that they did not like fondant icing on Wedding Cake. Their cake was buttercreamed and covered in White Chocolate Cigarillos and White Chocolate roses.
Gender stereotypes. Discuss. Sometimes they can be hard to escape, try as we may. So when I am asked to make cupcakes for a Gentleman's Birthday Celebration with the request that they 'not be too girly', I am in for a challenge.
Age stereotypes. Discuss. These are also tricky to navigate. Cupcakes for a boy would have been easy as boys tend to be 'into' something which gives me a motif to work with, be that a sport or character of some kind. In this instance, the cupcakes were for a Gentleman so I decided to stick with the classic sugar bows, opting for a palette of blue, chocolate brown, and yellow. These colours were chosen to complement the cupcake flavours of Victoria Sponge, Chocolate, and Lemon. I was particularly excited about the addition of a blue bow to my Victoria Sponge cupcakes - the blue of the bow against the white cupcake with the red strawberry jam centre made me feel all patriotic!
Those of you who follow my ramblings on Twitter (or who stay fairly on top of these equally rambling news posts) will know that last month my cake career hit a new high when I made a Birthday Cake for Dame Vera Lynn.
In this world of disposable celebrities (remember ‘whatsherface’ and ‘thingy’ off of Big Brother Celebrities in the Jungle on Ice?) meeting a star who can be truly celebrated for her achievements throughout a career spanning over seven decades comes with a certain gravity attached to it.
I will keep this short and sweet...
A year ago, we did this.
This is probably my most exciting booking ever. In fact, I am pretty certain that it is and I wonder if anything could ever hope to best it.
When I was asked by the wonderful Swingtime Sweethearts to make a Birthday Cake for Dame Vera Lynn, I was quite simply beside myself.
I was told that Dame Vera's favourite colour is baby blue so I created a three-tiered pale blue cake with a white sugarlace overlay, piped pearls, and blue ribbon separators. To feed the 150 guests at the 95th Birthday Celebrations, I baked the traditional combination of Chocolate, Lemon and Fruit Cake tiers.
So it's a mad week here at Restoration Cake. So mad, in fact, that this week has been blocked out in my diary under the title of 'mad week' for some time now!
I am not complaining in the slightest because I am so excited about the weekend that I could burst...
On Sunday, I packed up my dummy cakes, sample cakes, cupcakes, and bumpf and headed off to The Miss Vintage Wedding Affair.
In my head, I update this news page every day. I am always thinking of things that I want to tell you about and witty little anecdotes. Well, the last couple of weeks have been so busy (and, believe me, I am not complaining) that I have not had the time to sit and write anything down!
Thank God for Twitter! If you do want to keep completely up to date with the madness as it happens, you can sign up to follow me here.
I have been lucky enough to do some really fun things over the last few weeks. My modelling career has gone from strength to strength (insert giggles here) and I have delivered cakes to some fantastic people and to some gorgeous venues (I did my very first Wedding at the Savoy, which was completely beautiful).
I love making novelty cakes. I really love the challenge and problem-solving required to make cake look like something else.
In the past, I have made cakes that look coffee cups and dog bowls, boats and aeroplanes, severed hands and beefburgers. So when my dear friend Alexis (of OMG I'm Getting Married) asked for a dinosaur-themed Baby Shower cake for her friend, I was up for creating something super cute!
I have seen several Dinosaur cakes before. These mostly tended to go down the 'realistic' or scary route. What I wanted to create was a cute cuddly cartoony version; a Baby Dinosaur cake!
When I signed up to exhibit at The Alternative Wedding Fair, I thought that I would just be showing off my cakes... as it turned out, I was to do much more showing off than this! Check out my latest Vivien of Holloway fierce purchase...
I first saw the amazing dresses created by Elisabeth Armstrong at the first Alternative Wedding Fair, held very near to my family home in St Ives Cambridgeshire back in October last year. I was blown away by the beautiful and elaborate gowns as well as the unbelievably beautiful hats (because you KNOW I have a terrible hat addiction!). I emailed Elisabeth and very jokingly offered my services as a model, just in the hope that one day I would get a chance to wear one of these amazing outfits.
Yesterday, I was very proud to exhibit Restoration Cake at The Alternative Wedding Fair.
This was a Wedding Fair with a difference. The Brides who came along were all looking for something different for their big day. Though I love the glamour of a big traditional white Wedding, when Chris and I tied the knot, we knew that this would not be right for us.
We both live for music. I was literally raised in a music shop and Chris has toured the world (probably several times over) with bands. We met at a gig and Chris used to come to all of my gigs when I was in a band myself... a long time ago! We always have a few gigs lined up in the diary at any one time to look forward to.
So when we heard that Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush (a beautiful, intimate venue) was available for Wedding receptions, we knew that our Wedding would essentially be a civil service followed by a gig, with our favourite musician friends playing on the bill. My Dad headlined with his band and I got up to sing a few songs to close the night... ending with Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.
Of course. What else would we do? The people who know us individually and together as a couple really expected nothing less. This was not shocking. It was not intended to be. It was just us.
I wanted to tell you all about the fabulous service offered by my dear friend Lex, at Rockabetty Studios.
The pictures that I use most often on this website are the ones where I am posing like a retro pin-up girl. In my head, this is how I look all the time. I am always over-dressed for any given occasion and I pretty much live in red lipstick.
However, years and years of bad photographs have taught me to be camera shy.
... my close friends and those who have met me are laughing right now...