Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hello, you gorgeous lot! My name is Charlotte White and I run a cake decorating company called Restoration Cake, specialising in creating bespoke Wedding Cakes. I also teach cake decorating with a bit of a difference... the main one being my dedication to teaching whilst wearing stiletto heels! Believe me, this is no mean feat!
Tell us a bit about the book?
Burlesque Baking is all about bringing high glamour into your life, one cake and bake at a time. I have shared my very favourite recipes and the projects range from very simple but effective decorating tips to more advanced time consuming ones. The techniques used are all fairly simple (though remember that practice makes perfect!) and you will be able to use them in 100s of ways if you choose to go off and create your own cake designs.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Each bake in Burlesque Baking is named after and has been inspired by a Burlesque performer. The decoration is inspired by her costume, her performance, her persona, her name. I am such a huge fan of Burlesque and have always thought of much of that art form as being a heightened interpretation of retro glamour - which I adore in all areas of my life!
I do have a Pinterest board which shows each performer...
Which is your favourite project?
I am often asked this question and it seems that my answer is entirely dependent upon my mood! Today, I am feeling a lot of love for my Immodesty Blaize cake, which is the most stunning ruby red colour and adorned with brooch designs, created using royal icing and those little silver balls that every baker has somewhere!
My favourite cake recipe in the book is my Chocolate Mud Cake. It's an amazing cake and I have had some lovely messages from keen bakers who have already tried this bake and love it.
What is your craft space like?
My cooking space is less than glamorous as commercial kitchen space is rather more stainless steel than I would choose! However, I make up for this with my small office... this room is decorated in hot pink floral wallpaper with lots of turquoise and teal accessories. I have a turquoise typewriter from the 1950s on display as well as lots of photographs of family weddings. All of my history, fashion, and art books are in there for when I need a little inspiration and I have one of those little silly signs that says 'living the dream'. I can write for hours in there.
Have you always been creative?
Yes. And a dreamer too. I was raised by an actress Mother and a musician Father, dipping my toes into both of those worlds at some time or other. My Father got my hooked on old movies at a young age and this made me who I am - I decided that I wanted to study film (eventually resulting in a film degree) and dress like a starlet of Hollywood's golden age. I have always written and have always had some project or other on the go!
When did you first start crafting?
My Nana used to let me bake with her. I cannot remember how old I would have been so I honestly assume that I have been doing this for my whole life! I now have one of my Nana's Mary Berry cookbooks and in it is a recipe for butterfly cakes, which has been marked. These are the first thing I remember baking with her so I like to think that this book was open at the time.
Who are your crafty heroes?
My favourite author, in terms of cookery writing, is Nigella Lawson. I absolutely love reading her books and her recipes are so well explained that it is very much like having a guide in the kitchen with you. I read a lots of historical biographies too and love anything by Antonia Fraser.
As for Burlesque, I have to say how much I admire Dita Von Teese. Aside from being beautiful and talented, Dita has created an incredible brand, based on her personal style (which I adore) and quality products. My husband bought me a bottle of Dita's first perfume and, despite my initial reluctance to own a 'celebrity' fragrance, it is divine and now one of my favourites!
Where do you find inspiration?
History, fashion, and art are my mainstays for personal inspiration. Every now and then I will see something and instantly think of how this would translate to a cake design. Generally the things that inspire me are striking, elaborate, and a little over the top!
Day to day, when I am working with couples to create their wedding cakes, I look to every aspect of the wedding for inspiration. I honestly have the best job in the world because I get to talk about dresses, flowers, invitations, everything, and then design a cake that ties in with these.
What's next for you?
I have a busy year ahead with lots of exciting shows to demonstrate at - starting with The Cake & Bake Show in Manchester this April and followed by some wonderful foodie festivals to be announced. My diary is filling up with fantastic wedding bookings so my summer months will be very busy with wedding cakes. For all else, I would say 'watch this space'! I may just surprise you
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 Burlseque 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 Diamondback Cookies, before progressing to Minsky's Burlesque Theatre for a performance of Tempest Rose Cupcakes. Moulin Rouge offers up Passion Flower 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!