When the housing bubble burst a few years back, realtor and Charlotte native Frankie White found himself in a tough position. He could either keep trying to sell something that, for the most part, people had stopped buying, or he could go back to the retail management industry he'd left years earlier. Instead, White took a totally different approach. In 2008, he opened B.W. Sweets Bakery (www.bwsweetsbakery.com), and he hasn't looked back. His bakery is a veritable cornucopia of desserts that range from fall-spirited pumpkin pies to alcohol-infused "Grown & Sexy" cupcakes. For a break away from the traditional, he takes custom cake orders that give customers the chance to choose flavors and design shapes — be it a car, a shoe or even a hamburger and fries. Yet, as personalized as the experience can be, one thing remains standard: every dish will be homemade, and every bite will be sweet.
Creative Loafing: What made you take the plunge into baking full-time?
Frankie White: Well, I was completely self-taught. I was a latchkey child, so when I would come home in the afternoons, I would just experiment around with different flavors and different textures, simply because I would be hungry. I didn't always want sandwiches or whatever my mother may have cooked the night before and left for me. When the real estate market kind of took a downturn, it got to the point where I was baking cakes so much for family and friends that they became a source of income. I saw a way that I could make money selling them, so I kind of jumped in headfirst.
Do you have a favorite cake?
Of all the things that I make, I would have to say the sweet cream butter cake. It's a very old-fashioned flavor, and it's very buttery and it's very dense. It just reminds me of cakes that your grandmother would make back in the day before Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines came along.
Why would someone want to try one of your creations?
I would say it's because everything is handmade. Like with my sweet potato pie, I go to the farmers market and buy the sweet potatoes. I bake them and skin them, and then I make the pie from there. I try to use as little pre-made ingredients as possible, and I taste everything that I make before it goes out. I kinda have a motto: 'Good going in is good coming out,' so if it tastes good going into the oven to be baked, then it will taste good when it comes out.