Having worked with the likes of Mulberry, Lanvin, Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, House of Holland, and Fred Butler, Katie Franklin boasts a client list that would put some supermodels to shame.
What does she do for them, you ask? Well, as the baking genius behind Pomp de Franc Cake Society, the former fashion assistant is the person to call when a fashion label needs some sweet treats for a runway show, special event, or, you know, a series of custom gingerbread houses.
Franklin's studio just off Brick Lane houses her culinary arsenal (we've never seen so much icing and sprinkles) and puts the baker in close proximity to East London's coolest haunts. Though we had to peel ourselves away from the gooey, bright-blue cake she was whipping up at the time, we headed out with Franklin to a few of her favourite local spots. Click through to see what's cookin' in this baker's hood.
Photographed by Phill Taylor
How did you get involved with baking? Did you have formal training?
"I've always baked as a hobby. When I was making cakes for a few delis while assisting a fashion stylist, I realised I wanted to bake full time, not just for a bit of extra pocket money. But no, I have no formal training. In some ways I'm glad. It keeps me experimenting and uncovering obscure ways of making unique decorations."
Richard Nicoll jumper, vintage skirt, and Topshop booties.
Where do you get your baking supplies?
"Gill Wing in Islington and Labour and Wait on Redchurch Street."
What music do you listen to while you’re baking?
"Right this minute, I'm listening to Rodriguez, but it depends on the needs of the studio. If I need things to speed up a bit, then I put on something like The Four Brothers. It makes everyone move a little faster!"
You have quite the collection of cookbooks. Any favourites?
"A newly acquired one, You're All Invited by Margot Henderson. It's completely amazing."
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
"I want to do experiential events and introduce a new bespoke range of food for parties, not just cakes. I also want to try and keep things as experimental as possible, but also make my cakes available to more people by opening up my own very-over-the-top cake shop."
What do you love about Rochelle Canteen?
"It's a lovely and hidden-away with excellent food. I take my clients for meetings and lunches there."
Rochelle Canteen, Rochelle School Arnold Circus, E2 7ES, 020 7729 5677
Jaeger coat, Casa Mexico shirt, Burberry jeans, and Alexander McQueen heels.
How would you describe your personal style?
"I love well-made, simple, no-fuss clothing with an interesting edge."
What is your fashion background?
"I studied fashion and textiles. I worked for a costume designer and went to New York and interned for Marchesa. I had the best three months of my life in New York. Going into my business, I wanted to keep an element of what I learned in fashion. Pomp de Franc has allowed me to do that."
Emma Franklin Jewellery rings.
Tell us what you love about your neighborhood.
"The old Victorian council houses are full of Bangladeshi people, so when you walk to the shops at lunchtime, the smell of amazing homemade curries comes out of the windows. It's completely mouthwatering. There's loads of creative people around here, which is inspiring. You feel like you're part of something bigger. I guess it's becoming quite a wealthy area. I just hope all the small, more interesting businesses don't get pushed out."
What’s been the most ambitious baking project you’ve ever worked on?
"Making five giant Marie Antoinette cakes for Meadham Kirchhoff in one day, and making the giant gingerbread houses for Mulberry."
Who are your baking role models?
"My first and foremost is obviously who I have named my business after, Luc de France, Madame de Pompadour's own private patisserie chef. If I could make cakes like his, I would be very happy."
Casa Mexico is such a great find.
"It's where I get all
of my mum's presents. It's so
good for an authentic Mexican piece of art, and it's always a bargain."
Casa Mexico, 1 Winkley Street, E2 6PY, 020 7739 9349
Who are your personal style icons?
"Grimes, Daria Werbowy, and Penny from Dirty Dancing."
Paper London shirt, vintage skirts, jumper, and jacket, Topshop shoes.
What shops do you frequent?
"Honestly, eBay. But there are lots of vintage stores near my studio on Brick Lane. If I want to treat myself I go to Dover Street Market and then have a cuppa on the top floor in The Rose Bakery."
Are there any books or films that you’re loving right now?
"Prometheus and Papillon by Henri Charriere."
What has been your biggest fashion splurge?
"I just bought a Céline bag...oops!"
Tell us about The Bridge.
"An Aladdin's cave of trinkets and ornaments, this magical pub has a great balcony and delicious cocktails."
The Bridge, 15 Kingsland Road, E2 8AA, 020 3489 2216
Boyfriend's beanie, vintage jacket, Vivienne Westwood skirt, and Topshop shoes.
How do you implement your fashion background into designing cakes?
"It's fundamentally the same thing, just using edible materials. The process of design is very similar."
How do you eat so many sweets and stay slim?
"Errrr… I don't eat that many! I read once that Pamela Anderson cooks while chewing on gum to stop her from picking. It's a good trick."
Do you have a personal favourite cake or sweet?
"My favourite is banana and Dime Bar, but I like making rainbow cake for other people. It never fails to impress."
What projects are you working on right now?
"Right now I am making a cake for Secret Emporium's pop-up shop opening at the Boxpark on 15th March."