Renowned cake chef Charlotte Ree has released her new cookbook “Just Desserts” showcasing 30 of her most popular recipes, presenting a treasure trove of sweet treats, each designed to be whipped up with ease.
LifeStyleQ: How does ‘Just Desserts’ differ from your first e-cookbook, ‘Bakeree’?
Charlotte: They are both dessert focused but for me a big part of baking is that it’s time to unwind and not be on my screen, and an e-book didn’t allow that. You can touch it and feel it and get cocoa powder all over it and not have to worry.
LQ: Is this for people who love sweets or who need a little encouragement?
CR: I think it’s both. It could be for the dessert lover in your life, even if that’s you. But it’s really for anyone who loves sweet treats and loves the idea of baking but who think it’s out of their reach. It’s there to inspire people to bake.
LQ: Why do you focus on ‘getting back to basics’?
CR: To show people how accessible baking can be. You pick up one bowl and a whisk and in 45 minutes you have a cake fresh out of the oven. One of the cakes for example, you just throw some chocolate covered pretzels on top and it looks beautiful, another one just a light dusting of icing sugar. They’re rustic but are the sort of cakes you think, “oh, man I want to eat that again.”
LQ: What is your no fail technique or ingredient?
CR: Having butter, eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla extract, you can bake anything with those things by your side. Always make sure your pan is greased! Having your ingredients room temperature will give you perfect whip. Cracking eggs into a bowl rather than into the batter and baking something that you like to eat. That’s key.
LQ: Is there an ingredient you would never use?
CR: I get messages from people all the time asking about my gluten free or vegan recipes. I have a recipe in the book for a dairy free olive oil cake, which is amazing but that’s as far as I’m going to go. I love butter, I love carbs. . I’m never going to not bake with dairy.
LQ: Do you have a dessert that you eat every day?
CR: I love ice cream, I eat it every day. I’ve tried to make it but there are some things that others do really well and you can get it for ten bucks.
LQ: What’s your favourite place to eat, in the world?
CR: Italy… if I’m going for savoury but Paris is where I go for desserts. The ingredients for croissants, like beautiful French butter, they do it so well. Paris is my magical city for sweets.
LQ: Do you have a baking process?
CR: I bake at two am with classical music playing because it helps me distress. There is something so beautiful about it that I feel like a new human when I’m finished. I love the style.
LQ: Your Instagram food shots are an absolute hit, what are your tricks for food styling?
CR: It’s about pairing it back. I don’t have plates, cutlery or napkins.Just the cake that I’ve made.
LQ: If you wanted to create a masterpiece for a special occasion, what would you present?
CR: I would make a layered pavlova, which is in the book. I love pavlova, it’s such a crowd pleaser. You can make that beautifully, no matter what the season of the fruit, and make it look really decadent and delicious.
WIN YOUR COPY OF ‘JUST DESSERTS’
Win a copy of Charlotte’s new book and bake her stunning Seasonal Fruit Tart featured on page 20. To enter, go to our website at lifestyleqld.com.au and submit an entry via the ‘Competitions’ page. Codeword ‘CAKE’.