There are some changes happening at Under the Vintage Veil. I can’t say too much right now but it will involve a lot more interactive, fun stuff – and part of that will be one of us heading to a class or an activity that you might be interested in – and reporting back on it. The day this was all put into action, a potentially psychic Charlotte of Restoration Cake suggested I get out and about (I’ve been a little holed up lately) and visit one of her “All Tied Up Bow Cake” tutorials. Given that she’s starting a new bridal DIY class soon (see the bottom of the post for details) I thought it would be a good idea to go along and see if I’d recommend the class to my lovely DIY brides!
A bit of history here – I’ve been a fan of Restoration Cake since way before the blog was even a twinkle in my… erm… OK that metaphor doesn’t work, but you get the gist – a long time. I first saw Charlotte on Wedding TV and was immediately drawn to her very cool, retro style and her unique cake designs. In case you don’t know what I mean by “cool, retro style”, here are some pictures of the fabulous Charlotte:
Images © Rockabetty Studios
Charlotte has achieved something that’s extremely rare outside of the media world – she’s become her brand. Her fantastic personal image has earned her fans who haven’t even tasted her cake (I’ll get to that) and she appears on her branding materials – and her branded materials. Charlotte is a big supporter of Great British manufacturing and you can buy Restoration Cake merchandise on her website. Cool, huh?
So when I finally got the chance to meet Charlotte back at one of my first ever wedding fairs, I was really nervous. I have to admit I felt a bit like I was meeting a celebrity – the whole wedding world knew who she was and she was talked about for all the right reasons. I was also nervous for a bit of an odd reason: not only did I really want to like her as a person – but I really hoped her cake was as good as it looked.
I wasn’t disappointed.
I promise you I haven’t been paid to say this – when I tasted Charlotte’s red velvet cake for the first time it was a revelation. Charlotte doesn’t know this, but ever since I’ve been trying to make something that even tastes a little bit similar. And failing. Miserably.
So when I had the chance to learn from Charlotte at her bow cake tutorial, I was over the moon. When I arrived at her kitchen I was, again, struck with nerves. The closest I’d ever come to working with fondant icing was eating it – how could I expect to do anything but embarrass myself?
I needn’t have worried.
We started with a basic pound cake that Charlotte had baked earlier. Charlotte clearly explained how to prepare and split the cake, with careful instructions that even I could follow – and little tips and tricks I never would have found out on my own.
Images © Restoration Cake
The basic pound cake – in all its unphotoshopped, undecorated glory
Me successfully splitting said pound cake – after a little help from Charlotte due to my puny girl arms!
I was totally surprised when, just like the other students, I managed a perfectly decent split – and a totally functional crumb coating. At this point I noticed how utterly proud I felt. Yes, it was only splitting a cake – but look what I did! I was also struck by Charlotte’s charisma as a teacher. Not all professionals can teach their art, not even the best – but Charlotte was fantastic. I honestly felt like I was watching a baking show (one of my favourite things to do).
Then came the fondant icing, which was surprisingly easy to manage. For my first attempt, I was pretty proud of the result:
The whole process made me realise that even the most complicated looking of tasks can be achieved quite easily if someone gives you good instruction. I’m quite confident that if I were required to cover a cake with fondant now I could do so without difficulty.
The final step was decorating the cake with a pretty bow – and lots of glitter.
But not before Charlotte broke out her retro sweetie jar (I know right??).
So, with all the pride of a kindegarten kid who’s just been given a gold star, I very proudly finished my fondant bow and showered my cake with sparkles. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it looked like it was made by someone fairly competent! Score!
So what’s the verdict?
First of all, it’s a delight to be taught by Charlotte. She’s patient, fun and clear. When I say clear, I mean that anyone, regardless of their baking experience, could learn a skill for life from this class. It’s a great exercise in building self esteem, learning to do something that looks quite tricky and impressive, meeting new people and doing something awesomely retro. A big thumbs up from me.
And the really good news? For all you brave brides out there baking your own cake, Charlotte is doing a masterclass in bridal DIY this coming winter. Dates are TBC but if you’re interested, drop Charlotte an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll keep you updated on when the class is starting.
Review based on a PR sample