I would like to introduce you to Charlene, the wonderful face behind Cherry Tree Cakerie. We met during a Wedding Business coaching program earlier this year and it became apparent that we have lots in common, from our ideal clients to styles of weddings we love and of course ..... our love for cake! I recently visited Charlene in her most beautiful cottage to take some branding images for her business which I'd love share with you as well as a little Q & A to learn a little more about her. Hope you enjoy x
How did you get into baking?
Along with my sister-in-law I signed up for an evening course in cake decorating just for the hell of it! I've always loved art and being creative and it just seemed fun AND we got to eat cake. I really enjoyed it so I continued to make cakes for friends and family teaching myself as I went.
Do you like cooking things other than cake?
Er, not so much. My husband and I tend to cook dinner together and it's usually something quick and easy. I enjoy eating though!
Have you ever had any strange requests (cake related)?
I guess the strangest was a pair of boobs for a client's son who was turning 21. Making the boobs was...erm interesting! I finished it off with a leopard print bra. Classy!
What is your favourite cake?
Now that's a toughie, it's like asking a parent if they have a favourite child! If I was pushed though, I'd have to say lemon drizzle and my chocolate and hazelnut with Nutella (I could eat Nutella with a spoon straight from the jar!).
Do you watch GBBO?
OMG yes I love it! I binged watched three episodes in a row the other night. I have actually sat crouched in front of the oven door watching things bake before now so I feel their pain. How they can create a tiered cake in a matter of hours is beyond me!
How do you stay trim?
Haha I don't! I just manage a balancing act where I eat cake and then work it off at the gym. I do circuits three times a week, which I love and it's as much as mental escape as it is good exercise. I believe that your mental health and taking care of yourself is extremely important so my circuit classes are a non-negotiable in my weekly schedule.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs?
Everywhere. Raw beauty is as good as it gets so anything inspired by nature, plants, animals and the elements is a good basis for a beautiful cake I say. I love textures and colour too so look to things like pottery and art too. I always find it's better to not think too long and hard about a design or else I'll get a creative block. If I trust an idea to come to me naturally then it will more often than not.
Do you have a favourite baker?
When it comes to cake designers there are so many that are incredibly talented. I'm constantly amazed and in awe of the creations that fill my instagram feed on a daily basis. The top ones for me are Maggie Austin (her sugar flowers are insane!), Lima Cakes (the use of texture and colour is exquisite) and Don't Tell Charles (modern, edgy styles that just pop with colour!).
Is there a cake you are dying to make but no one has asked for yet?
I would love to make a black cake. I have made one for a styled shoot but to have a couple have the courage to go dark for a wedding cake would be amazing!
What issues are there with wedding cakes that people don't often consider?
Heatwaves! Buttercream cakes have really risen in popularity but in the height of summer, especially within the heat of a marquee, the poor blighters really do suffer. If you're having a summer wedding then please do think about how the heat might affect your cake and where its positioned!
Favourite bit of a wedding?
Cutting of the cake naturally! People always ask me if I get upset over the destruction of my cakes, but of course not, that's the main purpose after all and the beauty of the creation will have been captured by the photographer's lens.
One interesting fact about you that most people won't know.
Ooh not sure it's interesting but I speak a few languages. I studied French and Spanish at university and lived in each country for a while during uni. Both are incredibly rusty now though!
Tea of coffee?
Tea all day long (literally!). I've been drinking decaf tea for about a year now but that hasn't stopped the craving. I can't function without a cuppa first thing in the morning.
Milk chocolate Hobnob, no hesitation. It has everything, including the ability to be dunked in tea repeatedly without dissolving into a sorry mess.
Are you a fork cake eater or pick up with your fingers type of girl?
Depends who's company I'm in! If I'm being polite then it's a fork but if not, I'll shove it in my mouth with my fingers. Why waste time with the middle...fork!
Cat or dog?
Cat. We have a tabby cat called Marley, who is very dog-like actually. He's 'our boy' and I love him to bits.
Coke or Pepsi?
Coke for sure. I'm delighted with the new Coke Zero, full fat taste without the sugar!
Galaxy or Cadbury?
Galaxy any day of the week, any minute of the day. It's so damn creamy and don't get me started on the Galaxy Ripple....
Vacation or staycation?
Ooh this is another toughie. I adore the sun so somewhere warms always attracts me but then I do love a seaside break in the UK. Gorgeous coastlines, fish and chips, cosy pubs and long walks. Absolute bliss.
Crumble with custard or cream?
Custard! If it's rhubarb crumble then I'm a goner, I love it.
Trainers or heels?
I'm obviously getting old because 10 years ago it would have been heels but now I'm all about the comfort so trainers it is...begrudgingly.
Beer or wine?
Has to be wine. I'm a rose kinda girl. I'm a very cheap date though as I can only ever drink a couple of glasses.
Morning or evening?
Neither! I hate early mornings and I can never stay up late. I'm at my best right in the middle of the day. I'm like that saying you see on mugs...neither an early bird or a night owl but some kind of permanently exhausted pigeon!