Your 5 step how-to guide to start creating your own recipes (and open your dream cake biz!) this year!
Hello bakers and welcome to January, the month to make your resolutions and plan exciting adventures for your Blog or Biz this coming year. Whilst I started my blog last June (just to buck the trend), the start of the New Year is the perfect time to start new adventures, one of which could be blogging.
I’m a firm believer that your new year’s resolutions shouldn’t only be about giving things up. They should be about enriching this year and making it as brilliant as possible, so make sure you take things up in equal measure.
To give you a hand if you choose to start out on a new blogging adventure, or if you’re simply curious, here are my tips for one of the biggest assets your blog can have: original recipes. Creating a recipe from scratch sounds daunting, but it’s actually far easier than you think.
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1.Choose your flavours
Deciding on a flavour profile will define your recipe. You can do some tweaking later to get the balance just right, but take some time to really think about what flavours will compliment each other. What ingredients could you bring together to offer something a little different? I paired gentle vanilla with fragrant lavender for a slightly different shortbread flavour, for example.
If you reach a block, you have several options. Think back to some of the tastiest things you’ve tried. What flavours come up most often? You could take one as a starting point for your next recipe. Alternatively, have a browse on food sharing sites like Tasteologie or Pinterest or foodie blogs for recipes that get your mouth watering and inspiration running.
2.Find the golden ratio
When it comes to recipe creation, the trick is to keep things in balance. I learned this myself when reading about the ratio of ingredients in a cookie on Baker Bettie’s website. A quick online search will usually bring up different ratios of ingredients commonly used for different recipes. You’ll probably know some already – think shortbread 1:2:3 and shortcrust pastry 2:1.
Once you’ve got the base to make your bake work scientifically, it’s down to you! Add in those exciting flavours and test test test to create the recipe you want, whether it’s the chewiest cookie, the most gooey brownie, or the fluffiest cake. Experiment with added extras like chopped nuts and fruits, or a shot of alcohol.
3.Work out your instructions
If you’re an avid reader of food blogs like me, you’ll have seen lots of different recipe writing styles. It’s time to choose yours. Not all recipes have to look the same, as long as it’s provided in a functional, easy to use, informative way, it will work perfectly.
I started out sharing step-by-step photos to go along with each instruction in my recipes, but switched to a more concise numbered list. I did this because I found it was easier to use when I went back to bake my own recipes again, rather than scrolling through and being interrupted by images.
You’ll also want to think about how you word your recipe directions and how you’ll put the bake together. Will you cream the butter and sugar together first or throw everything in a bowl and mix? Will you delicately rub in with your fingertips or use a food processor? The decisions are all yours – go with what works for you!
I like to take a pencil and notebook into the kitchen with me to scribble down adjustments as I go.
4. Tweak those ingredients
Sometimes, you’ll try out your new recipe and it won’t quite hit the spot. That was the case with my Coffee, Maple, and Pecan Cookies. The first batch came out too cakey for my liking, so it was back to the drawing board and with the help of a little less flour, an extra egg yolk, and brown sugar I achieved my desired cookie.
Don’t worry when things don’t work out first time. Just try again with small adjustments until your flavours/textures/appearance hit the spot. I can’t remember where, but I once read a tip that said to bake cookies one at a time when making a new dough. That way you can keep tweaking what’s left in the ingredients bowl without making 500 cookies in the process! Thank you to whoever’s wise words those were, you’ve saved me many many cookie calories.
5. Eat with your eyes
Blogging is an extremely visual medium. I often will choose which recipe to use based on the quality of the images that go with it and I know I’m not the only one. So once you’ve nailed your recipe and want to share it with the world, make sure you take some good photos to go with it. I always like to see a picture of the end result before starting a recipe and good quality images will attract you lots of readers – especially if you promote your blog on Instagram.
The book From Plate to Pixel explains everything from camera settings to food styling and props in an accessible manner – thank you to the wonderful Elle of Ninny’s Pinny for recommending it to me last summer. If you want to brush up on your food photography skills, I’d really recommend it.
These are the 5 tips that I needed the most when I started out on a recipe creating adventure so I really hope they help you with yours too! Want access to even more free resources like this? Click here to sign up for my mailing list – I promise I’ll only ever send you useful posts for your blog or biz – I don’t like spam either 🙂
What do you find most helpful when creating a recipe? What’s your go-to strategy? I would love to hear from you in the comments below or on my Facebook page!
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