The Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series is a way for you and I to get to know and support the wonderful Food Bloggers who share their delicious recipes at Kitchen Thyme.
Meet Becky and Jen from Flaky Bakers!
Becky and Jen As School Friends
Becky and Jen today!
Check out their collection of recipes at Kitchen Thyme!
Kitchen Thyme: Hi Becky and Jen! Thank you for being part of our Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series! Tell us where you’re from and how you got into blogging?
Becky: Thank you for inviting us! I’m from Chicago, Illinois. Originally I got into blogging as a way to help others while telling the story of the work I’m doing on my home. Jen and I joked for years we should start a baking blog and we finally went for it.
Jen: It was either the baking blog or opening a bakery together, and since I live in New York state, the bakery wasn’t entirely practical. I’ve been blogging since 2011, when I started writing and publishing novels.
KT: How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Becky: It was a flurry of emails back and forth, several days worth of pondering our feelings about baking, and about who we are. We wanted to reflect a sense of humor and be less-than-serious.
Jen: Yup, because there’s already more than enough serious in this world, and baking doesn’t have to be. We wanted this blog to represent our silly, fun, adventurous baking spirits, and Flaky Bakers was a perfect fit for us.
KT: How long have you been blogging?
Becky: Our Flaky Bakers blog is a year and two months old but I’ve been working on my house blog for over five years.
Jen: And my author blog has been going for eight years.
KT: Where do you find inspiration to create new recipes?
Becky: Sadly, I’m not as well-versed in the realm of recipe creation as Jen is but at times I can tweak recipes just enough to make taste buds happy with not too many failures.
Jen: New recipes are born of flavor combinations I love or want to try, or necessity. If it doesn’t already exist—or not in the way I’m imagining it—I’ll keep trying until I get it right. It sometimes takes a LOT of fails to get to perfection.
KT: What are your top 3 favorite recipes on your blog?
Becky: Oh boy, it is seriously tough to narrow it down to three! Just three? Hmm….In no particular order, here are some of my favorites.
Jen: Oh, man. That’s a tough one because we have SO many great recipes. But these are definitely *some* of my favorites.
KT: What camera and lens do you usually use for your food photos? Do you edit on Photo Shop or another Photo Editing site?
Becky: I have a Fuji X-A1 and use the lens that came with it (aka, not super photographer fancy). Mostly I use the app FotoJet but I also use PhotoShop.
Jen: I use a Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with a 55-250mm lens or a Canon EOS 7d with a 24-70mm lens. I don’t tend to use any photo editing software simply because I don’t have the skills.
KT: What advice would you give to new food bloggers when it comes to taking photos of food?
Becky: Natural lighting is your best friend! Take several shots from different angles, even weird ones; you might surprise yourself with what works. You can always toss the ones that don’t. I’m a minimalist at heart, the focus is the food, so I’d suggest keeping distractions to a minimum.
KT: Do you have great lighting in your house for photos or do you need to use artificial lighting and filters?
Becky: Most often I rely on a strange arrangement of sunlight bouncing off our garage into our dining room through a former window into the otherwise darker kitchen. Sometimes I do bake after sunset and unfortunately have to rely on a daylight bulb in a work light but that’s when I really exercise photo editing software.
Jen: My house doesn’t have the best lighting, but there is a window right next to my baking counter, and I try to photograph on bright days. Any photos I’ve tried to take with artificial light have been less than stellar.
KT: Are you a part-time or full-time blogger?
Becky: Part time. It’d be fun to be full time but life demands otherwise.
Jen: Same for me. I’m not a full-time anything—I’ve got waaaay too many balls in the air for that.
KT: Do you have a Virtual Assistant that helps you, and if so, what does that person do to help? What tasks do you like to do yourself and which ones do you prefer to outsource?
Becky: We don’t. Jen handles the code stuff which is great because I’m a code idiot. I pick up in the social media department. No doubt a virtual assistant would be a time saver!
KT: What does a typical week look like for you? Do you create recipes and blog posts on certain days of the week? What are some of your daily tasks or routines? Do you have a good blog/life balance? Do you unplug at night or on the weekends?
Becky: My schedule is day by day depending on work or blog or life needs. As I’m a two blog blogger, I’m usually involved in a bake or a house destruction project if work allows. If I’m not in the thick of those, I’m usually at the grocery store or the hardware store. While I love baking and redoing our house, I consider both unplugging to a degree. Everything-down-time whenever the moment presents itself is key.
Jen: There’s no such thing as a typical week for me. My life is a happy mess between homeschooling, teaching, writing, baking, nature-ing, blogging, and creating that I do in a myriad of ways (knitting, pottery, sewing, drawing, etc). Bec and I trade off weeks posting recipes so we only each have to post twice a month. One recipe a week may be an ultra light load for other food bloggers, but for our busy lives, it was the only doable way.
KT: How much time do you spend on Social Media each day?
Becky: It depends and not nearly as much as I maybe should. If one of us has posted a recipe, I’ll spend about two to three hours promoting it. Otherwise it’s not much as I’ve got a lot of balls to juggle. Our blog is really about the baking love and the joy of giving.
Jen: I’m not on much, either. It feels like such a time suck for me, and I have too many other things I want/need to do, and children I want to spend time with.
KT: What tools/Apps help you to stay organized with your blogging business?
Becky: I use Out of Milk to create shopping lists and Paprika for recipes and meal planning. Being painfully old school, I’ll hand write to do lists if my schedule is busier than usual.
KT: Do you use any schedulers for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? If so, which ones do you use and how to you organize all of the scheduling?
Becky: I’ve used a scheduler for my home blog, a couple different ones but most recently I used Ahalogy. It’s hard to keep up with though and it felt like scheduling took as much time as posting live, if not more so, so I threw in the towel. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference in page views either, to be honest.
KT: What are some Word Press plug-ins you find helpful?
Becky: Oh gosh, that’ll be a Jen question! I’m not terribly versed in WordPress. I did connect us with Sumo for social media sharing buttons and that was a huge accomplishment for me!
Jen: Our absolute favorite and most useful one is our recipe plug-in, WP Recipe Maker. It’s super user-friendly and easy to use. It has a great layout, includes a printable version, and, best of all, it includes a conversion function for weights, which we really wanted to have so our recipes would be easy for international bakers as well.
KT: What are the main sources of income from your blog? Sponsored Posts? Advertisements? Affiliate Links?
Becky: Currently we’re not rolling in cash at all. We’re part of Amazon and Viglink affiliate programs but I think we’ve only gotten maybe three clicks.
KT: Do you have a long relationship with any particular Brands?
Becky: No, we’re still pretty fresh faced in the world of food blogging.
KT: Do you enjoy going to Blogging Conferences? If so, which ones do you recommend for Food Bloggers?
Becky: I haven’t been to a blogging conference but I hear great things about them. Haven is the one I hear most about that bloggers like.
Jen: I’ve never been to one either. My introverted self is most happy at home. 🙂
KT: Do you have any advice for someone starting a food blog?
Becky: Go ahead and do it, push your fears aside, and share with the world. Start small, don’t try to do everything all at once.
KT: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Becky: Surprisingly, I don’t have a vast library. Recent purchases include One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti and Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. My copy of Biscuits and Scones by Elizabeth Alston is well-loved. Most often I check out books from the library through an app or run through the internet.
Jen: I don’t really have a favorite cookbook, though I do have a small collection and have found at least one trusted recipe in most of them. I do love Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet because I have a deep, undying devotion to rich, dark chocolate. But I tend to scour the internet rather than open a cookbook when I’m looking for a recipe these days, so I have favorite food blogs like Serious Eats, Smitten Kitchen, and of course, Flaky Bakers. Bec has put up some amazing recipes and she’s a serious frosting expert, so I trust what she posts. AllRecipes is also my go-to site for finding recipes.
KT: If you could cook with a famous chef or celebrity cook, who would it be and why?
Becky: Wow, great question! Hmm. Julia Child, to be in the presence of her mastery; Jaques Pepin, ditto; Jaques Torres, because chocolate.
Jen: Alice Medrich, because she had me at Bittersweet.
KT: Did you get your love for baking from someone special in your family?
Becky: I inherited the baking gene from my great grandma who gave it to my grandma who in turn gave it to my mom who graciously gave it to me.
Jen: The baking gene can absolutely be traced back through my mom to my grandma. She made the best apple pie on the planet.
KT: You are constantly working with food. What are a few ingredients you cannot live without?
Becky: Butter. Not enough butter in the world. Chocolate, sugar, heavy cream, and cinnamon would follow up right close behind. And, well, flour too and I’m good to go!
Jen: Yup. Butter, sugar, flour, and chocolate. Also dried cranberries, ground flaxmeal and ground walnuts are my nutrition boosters that I like to put in as many things as I can.
KT: Becky and Jen, thank you so much for joining us at Kitchen Thyme! Where can our readers find you?
Jen: Thanks so much! It was a pleasure to be here! This is where you can find us!
BLOG: FLAKY BAKERS