SO… a few months ago I did the totally AWESOME (and totally perved-on) Frosted Awesome cupcake photo shoot, and the insanely delectable cupcakes and their incredibly stunning creator are being exhibited in A Brush With Burleque: An Exhibition of Contemporary Burlesque Art.
The exhibition runs from the 3rd to the 13th of May at the East Gallery (214 Brick Lane, E1 6SA) so you must, must, simply must go and check it out.
Additionally, Miss Follies herself had a fantastic writeup on The West Londoner, which features a big fuck-off photo of yours truly, which is always good way to start off any article, yeah? Read the article HERE or here, even.
Cake Follies, run single-handedly by Amanda Whelan out of her Hanwell home, produces hand-painted delicacies influenced by retro glamour, tattoo art and cabaret.
Amanda, who ran a vintage clothing stall in Kensington Market as a teenager, says she has always had a strong connection with vintage, originating from her childhood.
She said: “My mother was a very strong, glamorous woman who wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without lipstick and high heels, and she had a very big impact on me.”
Memories of Ponds’ cold cream, ruby red lipstick blotted on tissue, pin curls, rollers, stockings and stiletto heels all fuel Amanda’s ideas for the elaborate Cake Follies designs.
While the former Toni & Guy hairstylist has had no formal culinary training, she has honed her skills through many years of entertaining friends and family.
The mother of one transformed her passion for baking into a business last year, after painting her first cake. This resulted in her decision to fuse her three loves of art, tattoos and burlesque with cooking.
She said: “I would hold dinner parties but the cakes, no matter how good they tasted, never lived up to my level of required glamour, until the day I decided to paint my cousin’s birthday cake in food colouring with a pin up girl.”
Although Cake Follies is relatively new, it has already gained popularity worldwide amongst the burlesque and tattoo scene, with Amanda gaining many orders through her ever growing Facebook following.
The exhibition, titled A Brush with Burlesque, invited Amanda to cater their exclusive viewing night at Brick Lane’s East Gallery on Wednesday, after seeing a painted version of burlesque performer Domino Burlesk on one of her baked creations.
Organisers Sarah and Mark Bell are big fans of the West London business and said that while many burlesque events offer cakes, they wanted to offer nibbles that were a little different.
Sarah explained: “We chose Cake Follies primarily because they are painted, which we hadn’t really seen before. We thought that a little edible piece of burlesque art would be perfect.
“I think the Cake Follies cakes look beautiful, we like their intricate details and their funky designs. Most ‘cakers’ use piping or modelling as decoration but these are very unusual.”
The exhibition, which is running from 3rd May until the 13th May, will coincide with London Burlesque Week and the World Burlesque Games this month. Exhibitors will include British artists, photographers and painters who are influenced by the fast growing burlesque genre.
Currently Amanda posts out her orders to customers or they will pick them up from her home. But with her motto ‘world domination, one cake at a time’, the ambitious entrepreneur hopes to one day expand by opening a shop.
Cake Follies has also been featured in retro lifestyle magazine Milkcow, and recently appeared in a photo-shoot with model Nikki Awesome at the George Bone Tattoo Studio in Hanwell.
Amanda said: “As a lot of my artwork is very tattoo style orientated I thought it would be wonderful to shoot my cakes there, and also to me it was an approval from a well respected tattoo artist to allow me to do so.”
In addition, the Songbird Tattoo Studio in Devon loved the Cake Follies artwork so much that they commissioned Amanda to produce a series of designs for their clientele last month.
Amanda added: “I’m very excited indeed to see if my designs are chosen by people. I would see it as a huge compliment to know that someone was wearing my design.”
Nic Garrod-Smith, owner of the tattoo studio says the Cake Follies designs are really individual with great colour combinations.
She said: “We like cake a lot and we’d never seen anything like these! We felt that Amanda’s designs would transfer really well as tattoo designs, as they are strong, striking images with the scope for a lot of colour. All the hallmarks of a great tattoo design, really!”