The 2018 Baking Roundup

Listen, I know it’s kind of late for a 2018 roundup. But let’s pretend that I picked this timing on purpose, ok? Let’s just say that I was intentionally giving you a break from all those other year-in-review pieces, and wanted to spread mine out a bit.

Playing along? Awesome. Thanks for that.

I’ve been writing personal annual reports for a while now and started doing baking roundups a few years ago. It’s fun to see my baking trends, and set baking goals for the following year. So let’s dig in, shall we?

What I made in 2018

I baked 34 times last year, and 76% of that was new recipes. As always, cookies, bars and brownies dominated my list. That’s pretty typical for me, because those kinds of things are much easier to carry around on public transit than a tray of warm cinnamon rolls or a towering layer cake. I really do love making layer cakes, and always declare that I’m going to make more the next year… but logistics tend to get in my way. Maybe this is the year!

New baking pic.png

I baked a pretty good mix of flavors last year. Chocolate tends to dominate every year, whether that’s brownies or chocolate chip cookies or M&M bars. In 2018, 50% of the things I baked last year included some kind of chocolate. But it wasn’t always the main flavor, and I tried lots of other things, too. I made 3 types of banana bread, 7 other recipes that included a different kind of fruit and 2 recipes that starred peanut butter.

The most intriguing recipe I made last year was these pea and vanilla cupcakes. They didn’t really taste like peas—you could tell there was something distinct going on in there, but I don’t think anyone would have guessed it was peas unless I told them. My absolute favorite thing I made last year (and didn’t blog about!) was this pistachio cake from Molly Yeh. It was perfectly nutty, perfectly fluffy and topped with this lovely, tart pomegranate frosting. I actually changed my mind at 9 PM the night before a party and switched from a different pistachio cake recipe to this one. It was definitely the right choice.

Who ate it?

hosted 3 events in 2018, accounting for 10 recipes. I took another 8 recipes to other people’s events, from birthdays to holiday potlucks to tea parties. The remaining 16 recipes went to work, where I leave things in the kitchen and beg people to eat them. They tend to happily oblige.

What did people read?

I published 12 new posts in 2018. That’s down from last year, but it correlates to a specific goal to spend less time on my computer than I used to. So, I can feel pretty good about 12 posts. I try to post a mix of things, from simple cookie recipes to complicated cakes. I think my absolute favorite recipe I posted in 2018 was these pumpkin cupcakes. It’s really just a standout recipe: Great texture, great flavor and lightyears ahead of lots of other pumpkin cakes out there.

Top New Posts on Sugarsmith for 2018

My Personal Favorites for 2018

Top Posts from Previous Years 

Looking ahead

I’ve baked a few times so far in 2019, and plan to rack up a few more recipes in the next couple weeks. My resolutions for 2019 are to bake more things with yeast, make more muffins and try to use all the random ingredients I’ve accumulated in my kitchen. Stay tuned to find out if I make it happen 🙂

 

 

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The 2017 Baking Roundup

Every January I write an annual report. I look at what I did, where I went and what I wrote. It’s a nice way to remember the good from the year before, and helps me look at how little moments in time add up.

I carried this tradition over to Sugarsmith a couple of years ago–because baking deserves reflection, too. I keep a detailed list of everything I bake, so it’s pretty easy to figure out patterns from the entire year. Here’s a look at my 2017 in baking:

What I made

I baked 54 times last year, including 51 new recipes (94%). That’s lower than 2016 when I baked 68 times, but still higher than 2015, so I feel good about it!baking report

Flavors

I covered a nice mix of flavors in 2017. 54% of recipes contained chocolate, but chocolate wasn’t always the dominant flavor. When I took a closer look I found that fruity recipes led the pack, from Lemon Cookies to Lemon Cucumber Cake. I also made a lot of herb-y recipes, like Lavender Cookies and Strawberry Basil Cupcakes. I made way fewer pumpkin recipes than originally planned for the fall, but managed to get three in there! And clearly I didn’t make enough s’mores treats in 2017…though the one I DID make was pretty killer.

Who ate it?

I hosted 6 events in 2017, accounting for 20 recipes (58%). Another 14 recipes went to other people’s birthdays, housewarmings, etc. And the remaining 37% of my baked goods went with me to work. You’re welcome, coworkers!

What did people read?

I published 27 posts to Sugarsmith in 2017. I feel pretty good about that given that I split my time between blogs and also write for work. Of course, I have tons of unfinished drafts just waiting for me to finish them. I also don’t write about every single thing I bake. And I rarely post in chronological order. So even if you eat a lot of my treats…you can never really know what I’ll post next!

Top Posts on Sugarsmith for 2017

Clearly you guys like gooey butter cake and salty/sweet combos. Noted for 2018!

Favorites That Didn’t Crack the Top 5

Best *New* Things I ate in 2017

As always, thanks for reading–I’ll be back with new recipes soon!

 

 

 

The 2015 Baking Roundup

Happy New Year, dear readers! I’m so glad I decided to start this blog last year. I used to post baking-related topics over on my other blog, but it’s been really nice to have a separate space dedicated to one of my favorite hobbies. Creating a second blog has let share more of my baking love with you, and I look forward to another year of yummy recipes, bakery reviews and musings about the state of food today.

2015 ended with lots of baked goods, which means I have many new recipes coming your way soon. But before I get to those, I’d like to do a year-end roundup of sorts. You see, on my other blog, I do an “annual report” that charts out how I spent my time the previous year. It’s become a tradition for me, and I’d like to start something similar here. Of course, the Sugarsmith annual report will be decidedly sweeter and tastier than most annual reports you’ll find. I’m also working on some “Baking Resolutions” that I’ll post soon.

Let’s take a look at last year’s “data,” shall we?

Baking SS

I made so many cookies this year! 2014 also skewed cookies but bars were pretty close. I’m aiming to round this out a bit more in the coming year with a little more baked good diversity. The ratio of new to old recipes doesn’t shock me in the least because I love trying out new recipes. I do have some perennial favorites, like the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars. And the Apple Crisp I posted is a family tradition. I actually love the idea of “go to” recipes for holidays and family gatherings… I just find myself itching to try something new whenever I get the time to bake.

Flavors SS

This breakdown doesn’t surprise me at all, but I do want to switch it up  in 2016 and make more savory baked goods. I end up making more dessert than anything else because it’s easy to bring places and share. Still, I am sure my friends and coworkers would also be happy to nibble on savory bites from time to time.

Top Posts on Sugarsmith for 2015 

Favorite New Recipes I Baked in 2015 That Aren’t on the Blog 

2015 Fun Facts

  • Number of bakery visits recorded in my personal journal: 22
  • Photos of me eating ice cream tagged on Facebook: 3
  • Baking-related events I hosted: 3 
  • Recipes on my “to bake” list at the end of 2015: 359!!!
  • Times I described a recipe as “delicious blobs” in my baking journal: (it was a pretzel recipe and while the pretzels didn’t form right, they sure were delicious blobs!)
  • Recipes I made that involved a sea salt sprinkling on top: 9 (no wonder I am feeling sea salt sprinkle fatigue!)

Web-Hopping Vol.1

Welcome to the first edition of Web-Hopping! I spend a lot of time scanning the web for recipes and food news. I love blogging about what I find, but I simply can’t cover everything in-depth. So: meet Web-Hopping! Every week I’ll share my newest food-related finds, whether that’s recipes, gadgets, or trends. Whatever piques my interest online, with some in-real-life mentions thrown in there, too. And without further ado: here comes Vol. 1!

My list skews a bit cake-y this week. I blame it the slice of cake I eyed, but didn’t purchase after a marvelous brunch last Sunday (bakery review coming soon). Guess I’ll need to get a good slice of cake this weekend!

Lamingtons pictured on the Food52 blog

Lamington Cakes: I’d never heard of Lamingtons until I saw them on Food52, which cites them as an Australian specialty. And now I simply must try some! Think a cake sandwich with a jam filling, enrobed in chocolate and topped with shredded coconut. Yum.

Cocoa Powder 411: I turn to Sally’s Baking Addiction for both recipes, and baking tips. Her recent post comparing types of cocoa powder was super helpful – especially since I wanted to bake brownies and didn’t have Dutch Process cocoa on hand!

Scoop n Cut Cookie Tool: If I ever win the lottery, I’m filling my kitchen with every imaginable kitchen gadget, from cookie slicers to cherry pitters (I already have one of those banana slicers, aren’t you jealous?). I saw this cookie tool pop up on Baking Bites this week. I actually prefer my cookies not uniform, so I don’t use a dough scooper. But I could use a dough slicer…

Honey Lemon Cupcakes from Gimme Some Oven

Honey Lemon Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:I love unusual cake combinations, so this recipe from Gimme Some Oven immediately caught my eye. Sounds light and refreshing, with a nice bit of flair.

Basil Mascarpone Buttercream: I am obsessed with the blog My Name is Yeh. Unique recipes, beautiful photos, plus her writing style is very endearing. Molly posts a lot of great cake recipes- I made her Cardamom Vanilla Cake for my birthday earlier this year. This particular chocolate cake recipe caught my eye because of its buttercream. I love herbs in desserts, and I love mascarpone in desserts, so how could this not be amazing? It has floated high on my “to bake” list!