Food blogs occupy cyber space like stars in outer space. Frankly, there are a ton. Some are small, some are massive. Some are bright and dynamic, some are dull and static. Some gain prominence, some float aimlessly in no-man’s land. Food blogs of all sorts dot the vast horizon of cyber space.
Unfortunately, a number of upstart food bloggers give up in the midst of feeling insignificant. Food blogging loses all priority and these wayward bloggers leave their website feeling like a desserted ghost town. I’ve come across many of these stunted blogs and wondered, What convinced the blogger to quit? Did life get in the way? Did they lose interest? Or were they too discouraged?
If life gets in the way, leaving one’s blog is completely understandable. But for those who are discouraged by the ballooning food blog niche, or feel that few people read their blogs, I encourage you to continue on. Endure. Persevere. A blog/website is a manifestation of your identity, a form of personal and potentially professional exploration. In a sense, this blog represents me. Each blog represents their writer much as a book represents its author. Food bloggers all have unique styles, tones, and photography. It’s simply a matter of developing that unique identity, giving personality and life to your posts, and taking a leap of faith.
Who am I to give advice on food blogging? While my blog is still in a “toddler stage” and I’m something of an upstart blogger myself, perhaps I can inspire fellow food bloggers with this perspective. If I could give advice to struggling or upstart food bloggers based on what I’ve learned thus far, it would be this…
*Edit: Mallory, an experienced blogger, has so wisely pointed out to me in the comments section that blogging comes with no “rules.” Neverthless, I’ve found the following guidelines to have helped me to this point in my blog.
Food bloggers should feel able to take risks. A risk can be one of two things: a success waiting to be realized or a failure providing great learning opportunity.
Food bloggers should admit their humanity. Even the best chefs and bakers make mistakes in the kitchen.
Food bloggers should be courteous to and thankful for their readers. When life permits, take time to respond to comments and make connections. The Internet can seem like an impersonal place, but food blogs provide a medium for a warmer, more personal experience.
Food bloggers must effectively balance reality and blogging. Real-life experiences enhance the quality of blog posts and give one things to write about.
Food bloggers shouldn’t post too frequently or too infrequently. Consistency and quality trump quantity.
Food bloggers should invest time and effort in proportion to the success they want to achieve. Success doesn’t come without hard work.
And lastly, food bloggers are encouraged to learn the basic elements of photography. While photography is subjective to some extent, every photo should exhibit thoughtful composition, relative clarity, and food item(s) that make you think, Dang. If I could eat two-dimensional objects, I’d eat that. Also, avoid using the camera’s flash function. Flash makes appetizing food appear flat and discolored; an indirect light source is the best light source (see picture below).
Speaking (or typing?) of delicious photos, I made Honey Bee Cornmeal Cupcakes. In making these, I adhered to my own advice by taking a risk. These cupcakes consist of a honey cornmeal base covered with a sweet corn frosting. Keep an open mind! Apparently, the intriguing combination of sweet corn and frosting is a delicious one.
Necessitating the use of sweet corn, cornmeal, corn starch, and masa harina, a mere batch might hike ethanol prices.
Are they worth paying a little more at the gas pump?
Honey Bee Cornmeal Cupcakes
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/8 teapspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Stevia (0r other sugar substitute)
- 3 large eggs
- 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 6 Tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Sweet Corn Frosting
- 1 can (15.25 ounces) whole kernel sweet corn, drained (about 1-3/4 cups)*
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons masa harina
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup cupcake tin or line with paper cupcake liners.
- Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, and Stevia. Add eggs one at a time. Add greek yogurt, honey, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
- Fill each cupcake mold half- to two-thirds-full. Bake 28-32 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Let cool completely before frosting cupcakes.
- To prepare frosting, purée sweet corn in a blender. Purée until there are few to no whole corn kernels. Stir together milk and corn purée.
- In a medium pot over medium stovetop heat, whisk together granulated sugar, masa harina, corn starch, salt, and corn purée mixture. Cook 5-7 minutes, whisking continuously, until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Let cool completely.
- Pour corn mixture into electric mixer bowl. Beat together butter and corn mixture, adding butter one Tablespoon at a time. Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy (1-2 minutes).
- Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired.
*Note: Be sure to use sweet corn, not regular corn. Regular corn will not yield the same effect.