Based in Sydney, Charlotte Ree is a full time publicity manager for a book publisher, moonlighting as a baking blogger-extraordinaire.
Not only does she find the time to develop and photograph recipes for her blog, she has also become somewhat famous for her clever Instagram puns, and is about to release her first eBook, BAKEREE.
Charlotte believes strongly in scratch baking, going back to basics with the classic flavours and techniques that our grandparents perfected. Read on to discover Charlotte’s inspiration behind her new eBook and her tips for discovering the subtle art of baking, minus the fuss!
Q: Charlotte, we know you work full time as a book publicist, with baking as a side project. How do you find the time to develop recipes, bake, style, photograph AND come up with all those great puns?
To be honest, I have no idea! I think it is really down to a lack of sleep and unrelenting determination. Weekends are when I do my baking. I bake, test and edit 4-5 recipes over one weekend. I love it because it enables me to shoot them in natural light as well as edit and draft my posts without any time pressures.
Q: Walk us through the recipe development process – where does that first spark of inspiration come from? Do you start from a photograph you’ve spotted on Instagram, an old written recipe, a fond memory? Or just make it up as you go along?
Most of my inspiration comes from cookbooks that I have bought or worked on (you should see my collection!) as well as Instagram and Pinterest. My cookbook is a mixture of new creations like a Vanilla Cake with Ricotta Icing and Whole Roasted Peaches and old recipes, handed down, like my Nanny’s Jam Drops.
Q: We bet you have a pretty fantastic kitchen set up! Are there any essential tools that you absolutely can’t live without?
All of my money is spent on homewares, kitchen goods and ingredients.I swear by baking with a stand mixer (it saves you so much time!), a set of digital kitchen scales (they are so much more accurate) and good quality ingredients – especially vanilla.
Q: This is a tough question… Can you describe what your ULTIMATE birthday cake would be?
My ultimate birthday cake would be a pavlova. I love the flavour combo of the light and fluffy meringue layered with whipped cream and berries. Subtle hint to all of my friends… the recipe is in my book and my birthday is March 7.
Q: We love that you’re a fully self-taught baker and photographer. Do you have any tips for aspiring bakers and food stylists trying to learn the craft?
Shoot in natural light, and shoot using a good quality camera. iPhones are great but a DSLR makes a huge difference! I use a Nikon 1 J5 which wirelessly transfers images to my phone. Start to build your own set of props. Everything I shoot with I own and some of my favourites are from Marimekko, Williams-Sonoma, Kaz Morton, Bison and Bridget Bodenham.
Q: We hear you’re working on a really exciting cookbook – congratulations! Can you tell us about your inspiration behind the book? Are there any must-bake recipes that we should look out for?
Yes! It’s called BAKEREE and it’s available for pre-order now from my website.
My inspiration was to make recipes that taste amazing, more than just look pretty. My recipes are easy and user friendly. There won’t be any layer cakes, icing masterpieces or hours of preparation seen inside my book. Instead you’ll discover the subtle art of baking, from scratch, just like our grandparents used to.
My must try recipe? The Vanilla Cake with Ricotta Icing and Whole Roasted Peaches. Peaches make my mouth water.
Q: We love to stay ahead of the baking and decorating trends here at Queen, so we always appreciate a little inside intel! What do you think will be the next big thing in 2018?
I hope a trend will be seeing people go back to basics, baking from scratch and savouring every moment.
Q: Finally, we have to ask… What Queen products are in your pantry right now? Do you have a favourite Queen product?
I simply adore baking with Queen. My absolute favourites are the Vanilla Bean Paste and Natural Vanilla Concentrated Extract. My latest discovery is the Cinnamon Baking Paste which I have used for delicious cinnamon buns.