4.11.15

The Competitive Landscape of Blogging & More

This blog was started over 9 years ago while I was trapped in my parent's small apartment in Hong Kong. They had moved there when I left for college and I was there for the summer, enduring the crowded transportation, smokey air & conversations which I could not understand, while my friends were enjoying their beautiful Southern California summers at the beach.

With our almost doll-house sized kitchen, I learned to re-fall in love with a dormant passion of mine - baking. I scoured the internet for food blogs and taught myself everything from my first marshmallow fondant to how to use what was available in the British/Chinese supermarkets for American recipes. I took a couple Wilton cake decorating classes while I was out there and quickly got hooked on the aesthetics of food. From there, I came back to school in San Diego and continued to fill my roommate's bellies and kitchen counters with cookies, bars, cakes & more. I loved food. I loved food with the passion that fills a naive college student who spends her money on flour, butter & sugar, instead of vodka and slinky dresses (although slightly dangerous trips to Tijuana to go clubbing and slinky dresses were not entirely avoided).

I blogged about what I made because I was in love with what I was doing. I loved the process, the sugar, and the delicious outcome. I joined the Daring Bakers (I'm not even sure if they are still active?) and proudly posted my rendition of each of the monthly challenges. Garnering a following, advertisers, and social media promotion were the last thing on my mind. I baked and baked until I graduated college. I came full circle, back to my parents house in Orange County, CA, and continued baking as I looked for a "real" job in the "real" world.

I slowly began to realize that the "real" world and the advent of social media, advertisers and increasing number of bloggers was creating a competitive blogging landscape. With the low barrier of entry and rising culture of the foodie, being a food blogger was almost trendy. And it was clear that the intention of many was to make money off of doing it. So like the hipster I was (am?!), I abruptly stopped blogging.

Fast forward to today, where I am sitting in my apartment with a full time job I used to love, a dying career in entertainment, a failed start-up, and a shiny new event planning company.  When I was younger, I thought the "right" path was to go to college, get a full time job like you see in the movies (no one tells you about all the entry level stuff you have to deal with), marry a good man and have a house and kids. While many of my friends have followed this path and are perfectly happy, I have come to realize that life is like walking through a paintball field in a white t-shirt and no protection. Although, I'm not a plain white t-shirt kind of girl anyway.

A photo of what isn't going to be happening, anytime soon.


Peanut butter filled dark chocolate cake with my favorite, not-too-sweet flour frosting

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I use non-fat when it’s all I have and it’s actually fine)
1/2 C real butter (I prefer salted, but you can use also unsalted and add salt to taste)
1/2 C sugar (that’s granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.
Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat.
Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring with a rubber spatula, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan.   Continue to cook until mixture has the consistency of thick pudding or paste.
Put  mixture in the fridge and let it cool completely, it’s fine if it stays in there long enough to get chilly, you just don’t want it warm at all. As it’s cooling, feel free to stir it occasionally to speed up the process and keep it from forming a crust on top.
It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You’ll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer if you have one, instead of the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Mixture will separate and look messy, keep beating!  Continue beating until mixture comes together and is light and fluffy, about 7-8 minutes, but time varies.  Take a sample of frosting between your fingers; frosting is done when light and fluffy and sugar granules are dissolved.

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