Vintage Entrepreneurs: Charlotte White of Restoration Cake
By Lena on July 24, 2012
Baking particularly lends itself to some vintage exploring – with so many classic and traditional recipes to try out, old-fashioned tea time making a come-back and plenty of old baking equipment available to buy. We have met up with vintage lover Charlotte White who has turned her passion for baking into a successful business by founding Restoration Cake. Her highlight so far? Being asked to bake Dame Vera Lynn’s birthday cake!
QoV: Tell us a little about Restoration Cake
Charlotte White (pictured left): I set up Restoration Cake in 2009 after making a friend’s wedding cake in 2007. After doing that cake, I was inspired to go to evening classes to learn some cake decorating techniques. It took me a while to get the confidence to sell my cakes and now, three years in, it feels as if the company is building a good reputation.
QoV: Where does your interest in vintage come from and does it spill over into your baking business?
Charlotte White: My father would make me watch old movies when I was growing up. My lifelong favourite is Some Like It Hot. I grew up thinking that Marilyn Monroe was everything that a grown-up woman should be! My love of vintage is really a love of vintage glamour and this is something that translates into my cake design. Both the cakes and I are rarely seen out without our pearls!
QoV: What do you enjoy about baking and how did you get into it?
Charlotte White: I have always baked. I baked with my nana when I was little, and I baked for friends when I was a student. It’s pretty much given that I come with cake! Baking is such a pleasure and I enjoy the process of baking as well as the giving of the cake at the end. I love the way the house smells if I have been baking at home (I am forever trying out new recipes on my nearest and dearest) and I love it when someone enjoys a cake that I have made for them.
Charlotte White: This was just the greatest honour ever. Dame Vera’s music holds such emotional weight – not only through its connection with the war but also a personal connection to my grandparents and their generation. The whole time I was making the cake, I was thinking how proud my grandad would have been. I kept her cake totally classic (see right), with tiers of fruitcake, lemon drizzle cake, and chocolate cake, all covered in baby blue icing (this being her favourite colour).
To make the cake extra special, I wrapped each tier in edible white sugar lace and embellished this with sugar pearls. At the party itself, Dame Vera thanked me for the cake and we had a picture taken together – I could have burst with pride!
QoV: What are your three favourite classic cakes?
Charlotte White: I cannot get enough of lemon drizzle cake. I make mine with ground almonds and lemon curd in the mix so it is extra sticky. Victoria Sponge never goes out of style, and I have a terrible weakness for chocolate cake. Sometimes I fill my chocolate cakes with Baileys buttercream and this is stupidly tasty!
QoV: Would you have any vintage or classic recipe books you could recommend?
Charlotte White: They probably don’t count as vintage yet but I learnt so much from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess and Feast, the latter having the best chocolate cakes ( the Malteaser Cake is delicious!).
QoV: What’s next? A Restoration Cake cafe?
Charlotte White: Maybe… There are a lot of exciting developments in the offing at the moment but they are all in the early stages so I don’t want to say too much yet. What I will say is that there are going to be some major changes to restorationcake.co.uk and then some big announcements following that. Keep an eye on the website in the coming weeks!
Image 1: Rockabetty Studios