Friday, 13 May 2016

Bringing Retro Back - 200th post! + Charlotte White Book Bundle Giveaway!

To help me celebrate 200 retro-tastic posts I've been chatting again to my Deliciously Decorated favourite cake designer, modern-day Fanny Cradock, Charlotte White, and she's only gone and dressed-up as Fanny for the occasion! 


Fanny Cradock Charlotte White
Photography - Jez Brown Styling - Sarah Dunn 

Fanny thought she was Bringing Retro Back in the 1950s-1970s, and now we look back at those times as 'retro' - what does 'retro' mean to you and why are we obsessed with bringing it back?

Funnily enough, when I think of retro food, I think of Findus Crispy Pancakes and Birdseye Potato Waffles! I think that the element of nostalgia is irresistible to us - it seems to be in our nature to look back to the recent past through rose-tinted glasses. We do this with fashion and music so why not with cuisine too? Fanny lived through a great deal of social change as well as the huge impact of rationing, which I genuinely believe is still felt in some generations - my own Father was born in 1954, the year that rationing ended, so it should have had no effect on him but his capacity for sugar makes me wonder if my Grandparents made up for the years of scarcity with plenty of sweet things in their house.

Fanny Cradock Charlotte White
Photography - Jez Brown Styling - Sarah Dunn 

You always dress so glamorously, and back in the day Fanny was renowned for her sense of style - how did it feel to dress as Fanny Cradock? Did you suddenly start to beat your assistants with perfectly ordinary spatulas? 

I was completely rubbish! I couldn't stop giggling! I am far too silly for this. I tried to channel Fanny's short shrift but would catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and corse up completely. My photographer, Jez Brown and stylist, Sarah Dunn, were no help either as this was the most bizarre thing we had ever done as a team! Jez is used to photographing pin-up girls and Sarah more often makes me up to pass as one, rather than a middle-aged woman. Plus, it didn't help that Sarah's German Shepherd, Suki, kept barking because she didn't like the look of me!

Fanny Cradock Charlotte White

Fanny loved cakes that were bright colours and looked over-the-top in the impressive stakes - there were always neighbours that she never really liked very much to impress - what makes a stand-out cake design for you? Fanny's golden rule was blue icing for cakes, green for potatoes - what are your signature colours?

I completely agree with Fanny that a cake should be impressive and I love a brightly coloured cake. Some of the ingredients and equipment that we have in the kitchen now would make her green with envy - as green as her potatoes! I'm not sure if I have a signature colours so much of what I do is bespoke and created for an occasion. I get through a lot of white sugarpaste! Funnily enough, I do use a great deal of blue! I use an airbrush from Squires Kitchen to create ombre effects on sugarpaste and their colours are so interesting and vibrant that the only limit we have is our imagination now. Also, because food colouring pastes are more intense and less chemical tasting, we can create rainbow coloured sponge cakes. Fanny would have loved a rainbow cake!

Fanny Cradock Charlotte White
Photography - Jez Brown Styling - Sarah Dunn 

We are seeing a lot of festivals, TV shows and so on Bringing Retro Back - which are your favourites and how do people relate to the retro themes? 

My favourite festival each year is the Twinwood Festival in Bedfordshire - it was part of the reason we moved here from London! It's three days of vintage shopping and music held on the air base where Glenn Millar took his last flight from. I've even been known to get involved in a Cockey Singalong in The Nag's Head pub on site... I was lucky enough to demonstrate for Kenwood in their kitchen theatre at The Goodwood Revival last September and can honestly say I've never felt more at home in my life. I loved working in the retro kitchen set with some of Kenwood's heritage products on display. Fanny would've loved to have access to the kitchen technology that we have now!

Fanny Cradock Charlotte White

Fanny never wore an apron when she did demo's, and never had a spot on her ballgowns afterwards. Is this a realistic ambition? 

I always end up with cornflour on my boobs. Every time. It's just the way I am built! I've learned never to wear black for demonstrations for this reason. I've had chocolate buttercream all over me and have done the stand-mixer-icing-sugar cloud too, but that's all part of the fun of live cookery! When I am in my won kitchen and baking for orders I am fully aproned up. You can always tell if I am getting cocky if you see me demonstrating in a white dress...

Fanny Cradock Charlotte White

So, if you were to style a cake à la Fanny how would it look?

I would want to create a cake that was glamorous and over the top. It would be adorned with pearls and diamonds and folds of taffeta in sugarpaste. It would be entirely fabulous and a little out of place in a modern setting, like Fanny. The icing would be blue.

Well, here's my go - it's Charlotte à la Fanny. I'm celebrating my 200th post with Charlotte's Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Icing. If you fancy winning a bundle of both her brilliant books, which will help you do a much better job than I have, just leave me a comment below telling me your favourite colour for icing and fill in the Raffelcopter thingy-ma-jig which will randomly select a winner. You must do both. The lovely folks at Ryland Peters and Small will send the books directly to the winner. Good luck! (UK Entrants only) 


Fanny Cradock Charlotte White

a Rafflecopter giveaway

30 comments:

  1. It would have to be pink, a really bright pink :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Teal, definitely Teal (fell in love with combination of that with red from the last book)x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely choice, very partial to Teal myself! Good luck!

      Delete
  3. Red of course as we know it is one of Charlotte's favourite colours

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be so striking - a red cake would be great! Good luck!

      Delete
  4. blue cos if i could everything would be blue

    ReplyDelete
  5. Charlotte is lovely but she looks terrifying as Fanny lol! Love this!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think it would have to be orange and a seventies theme!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, how appropriate! I don't think I've ever had an orange cake! Good luck!

      Delete
  7. Violet, it needs to be violet. Even the name is retro..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lovely choice, not only of colour but retro flavour too! Good luck!

      Delete
  8. I love Tiffany blue. It looks so timeless and elegant. Charlotte does a very good impression of Fanny, the last photo is spong on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Tiffany too... I have a wee collection of boxes! Great choice - good luck! I agree...

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Great choice - just love the colours of the 70s! Good luck!

      Delete
  10. Can we have your cake too, as the prize. I'd like it in green as my fav colour for icing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, I'll send you whatever is leftover... *wipes crumbs from mouth and icing from nose*

      Delete
  11. Excellent photographs. Also, congratulations on your 200th post. Soooo many colours to choose from. I would pick raspberry pink as my icing colour of choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I think Charlotte and the photographer had fun! Raspberry Pink would be cool, good luck!

      Delete
  12. Does chocolate count as a colour? Otherwise the last one I iced nicely was orange.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say 'chocolate' *could* be a colour, and even better if matched with orange! Good luck!

      Delete
  13. I would choose Pink you can't go wrong with a retro pink cake!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Definitely lime green. garish? Yes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love a bit of garish! Fab choice - good luck!

      Delete