Natalie Paull (aka Beatrix Bakes) was born to bake. Her first solo cooking adventure was a butter cake she made from scratch when she was seven years old. It was her sweet thunderbolt. By eighteen she was an apprentice chef that kept gravitating towards the pastry section…besotted by all things sweet. Nat is inspired by the honest cakes of Australian rural bakeries, classic European cakes and sweet American traditions. She loves tarts and nuts and seasonal fruit. If it’s sweet, then she’s into it.
In 2011, Nat found a very small shop on a sunny corner of the suburb that she lives in. The logo she chose is two upright old-fashioned rotary beaters, which represent the call to arms baking has been for her all her life. In 2020, she released a bakebook Beatrix Bakes that gives away all the cakehouse secrets. If you teach someone to bake, they will cake forever.
If we were to peer into your pantry and fridge, what are 5 things we would find?
Westmont pickles and Boulder Canyon crisps, eight + types of sugar (seriously), at minimum four blocks of butter (always good, cultured and unsalted), white chocolate magnums (my weakness), and leafy greens (salad is second best food friend).
What are your favourite songs to cook to?
I love music to feel like I’m surrounded by melted chocolate when I bake. These songs make me feel good things and shimmy an offset spatula with extra flourish.
My Island Home Warumpi Band
The Tide is High The Paragons
Little Green Apples Dionne Warwick
Drivin’ on 9 The Breeders
Gassenhauser Carl Orff (I rolled a lot of Beatrix doughnuts to this track. The most uplifting pump-up track. How great are marimbas!)
Describe your cooking style in 3 words.
Abundant, honest, thoughtful.
How do you like to shop for food?
Farmers markets are top tier shopping to me. Talking to a grower about potato varieties or asking when my favourite pears will be ready (doyenne du comice, for the record). I love to let the season or availability tell me what to cook or bake. If it is grown with care and cooked with care it will always taste so dang good.
What food did you eat growing up?
I was born inside a loaf of white sandwich bread. We ate fairly plain food but all from scratch – lamb chops and three veg. Garlic usually deteriorated before it was used and the most exotic meal we had was apricot chicken. But we always had cake after dinner and pikelets on Sunday nights. Thursdays were the greatest because I got to choose a cake with my Pa at our local cake shop – gingerspice swiss rolls, palmiers, or Neapolitan sponge sandwiches were my favourites.
Above Images - Annika Kafcaloudis
For Nat, she was always first in line, holding up a plate, right in front of a billowy pavlova adorned with sweet fruits. Her recipe introduces the complexity of coconut sugar – bringing a deep, malted savoury flavour and tilting it from basic vanilla towards tropical.
Shop the poster here