I decided to take a tour in the dessert blogging community and select the top 10 dessert blogs for you for the Memorial Day Holiday. The criteria for inclusion in this list, include the following:
- I hit the site and I yell out: Wow!
- The first photograph I see takes my breath away
- The date on the top post is not older than one week
- I start to read the top post and I find myself interested to click on the “continue to read”
- The recipe is written clearly with enough details to follow
- The blog is at least 80% about desserts
- Easy to read
- There are no ready-made mixes, cans, jars (except jams), gums, or ingredients that I cannot pronounce in the recipes
- The recipes are not straight copies from cookbooks or from other authors
- Contains limited number of comments (I’d like to promote bloggers that work hard to create great blogs, but for whatever reason ignored or missed.)
Little did I realize that I am asking nearly the impossible. This tour was a real education. No blog matched all ten criteria and after surfing for a half-a-day I still only had 7 blogs on my list.
I think it should be a real eye opener for all of us dessert bloggers (and perhaps food bloggers, as well) and try to work together to enhance and upgrade our blogs to be a better value to our readers. I discussed earlier in my posts about the benefits of multiple brains vs. a single one. I still think it is a good idea.
I’d like to start a “Dessert-Genius-GroupR” that will tour the dessert blogs and select a blog for our weekly meeting to dissect, analyze and recommend improvements. I realize that not everyone can be a star photographer, or a genius recipe developer, but that does not mean that the only desserts we can make and post that is written by someone else, published in cookbooks or put together with the help of artificial ingredients. Recipes handed down from moms and grandmas are fine; but still the best ones are those that we develop from scratch on our own. The only way we will be able to develop great recipes, if we understand the characteristics of the ingredients and how to use them. It also means that we need more educational blogs to help those of us who are great writers, but lack professional and/or scientific education.
If you are interested in joining me in developing this centrally leading Genius-GroupR, please contact me at your earliest.
The first blog on my list is:
As much as I wanted to select bakers that are relatively unknown, but doing a great job as dessert blog developers and writers, I could not leave Dorie Greenspan off this list. Although, Dorie’s blog cannot be classified as a dessert blog by a strict interpretation, nevertheless there are enough dessert recipes on her site that we can overlook the formalities. In addition, I own five of her cookbooks; all of them are about desserts. I believe Dorie is secretly a dessert lover and blogger. She has contributed significantly over the years toward the enhancement of creative pastries and the enrichment of creative desserts.
Dorie’s reputation as a great cookbook writer/author, a professional recipe developer, mentor and friend is mile high and not without merit. It is, therefore, not surprising that I have selected her as one of the top dessert bloggers in our time. With all her knowledge and experience, she is always open to new ideas, not embarrassed to learn from others (even if those may not be near to her level) and not afraid to ask questions, when something is not clear. These qualities can only be assigned to a giant, such as Dorie Greenspan.
Whether it is Tuesdays with Dorie, or French Fridays with Dorie, we always want to be next to Dorie with the hope that something will rub off on us. We also like Rainy Days and Mondays with Dorie, Super Wednesday with Dorie, but Never on Sundays with Dorie (please people, she needs a day to rest).
Another giant that I am including in this list is Rose Levy Beranbaum. Rose is a genius pastry chef that all rely on for learning and understanding baking. Baking is not at all like cooking – it requires a great deal in understanding the characteristics of the ingredients we use in baking and the various methods used in the preparation of well-designed and well-conceived classical and modern desserts. We also need to know a lot about bake ware and ovens, appreciating measuring techniques and temperature control and handle unexpected errors and mishaps. All these knowledge can be learned by visiting Rose’s blog often, subscribe to her site and own her books.
People always like to look for a recipe that is easy to follow, simple to prepare, yet looks and taste as if it was created with many hours of work and lots of know-how. Resources that meet these criteria can be found in such cookbooks as the Cake Bible, Pie and Pastry Bible or Heavenly Cakes, all written by Rose. The recipes in these books are fool-proof; even the least experienced home baker can follow it and present to her family and friends a masterpiece that will get plenty of Ohs! and Ahs!.
I often wondered, how this petite, always smiling star baker could keep all this data in her brain? People can ask her questions from every angle of baking, like a young budding baker may ask her about what he/she ingredient should she use in her cakes to prevent the cake to fall apart after taking it out of the oven; an experienced baker will turn to Rose with such complex question as how to match ingredients with different chemical properties in the same cake? – she will have a response to both with equal attention to details and she will add a bit of a support for confidence building.
Without a doubt, Rose not only belongs to this group, she is the leader of this group.
Not long ago I was surfing the Internet for resources for certain ingredients and I landed on a blog named “Joe Pastry.” I immediately liked what I saw and I have a feeling you will too. The blog is informative, educational, fun and an excellent resource. For instance, take a look at the recipe for Rigo Jancsi, a Hungarian chocolate cake. First, the photograph of the cake is perfect, then the way he presents the recipe with detailed instructions and clear photographs is the best I have seen on blogs. Even a novice baker should be able to follow it and prepare a great dessert in this Memorial Day Weekend. But this is not the only pastry recipe, the archive is full of delectable cakes, waffles, scones, pies and more; all recipes include detailed instruction for the method of preparation. The blog is a great resource for learning about the ingredients in baking, the history of many pastries and for how to develop a well-stocked book shelve with cookbooks that are loaded with information and with tested and re-tested recipes.
You should bookmark Joe’s site and visit him often. Joe Pastry definitely belongs to a list of the top tens.
Zoe’s blog is loved by Saveur, the highly respected food magazine, is considered one of the favorites of the Circle of Moms group, and she is a publisher in FoodBuzz. She is the author of multiple bread books: 1. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, 2. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and 3. Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. However, what caught my attention on her site is her ability to convey a recipe to be so easy that anyone can make it and come out with the same results. To teach techniques in baking and photograph each step to a minute detail you need to have a special talent and a strong love and passion for what you do. Zoe appears to have all this and more.
I recommend her blog highly for both the novice as well as the more advanced baker. Zoe will always provide you with a recipe that you want to read from the beginning to the end, with photographs that you cannot stop to enjoy and she will boost your confidence in your abilities, because you will be able to recreate her recipes that will look and feel nearly as great as if Zoe’s herself made it.
Julie, the blogger at Willow Bird is a self-thought baker. Congratulations Julie, you are doing a wonderful job. Your recipes are truly inspiring and your creativity in presentations is stimulating. When I first landed on your site, I was sure you are a professional pastry chef.
You are certainly lucky to have an aunt that can supply you with such classical recipes, like the flaky strawberry pie on your home page; but you also needed to be good at what you do, in order to present it in such an inviting fashion that I had to run to get a napkin to wipe off my drooling. Only a talented baker can create the emotions your recipes and photographs generate in the readers.
Those adorable cake balls are a genius idea. I wonder how did you come up with their creations? The dedicated post to Mike with that coffee cookie dough fudge cheesecake shines the light on your talent as well as your dedication and passion to create the best.
Julie’s blog is and A+ and I am positive that bakers of all levels will enjoy it.
I do not know why the name Alejandra? Alejandra the creator of this blog, crafts all her desserts in her kitchen, and based on my limited review, she does not write about “ordering” desserts. Alejandra Ramos appears to be a budding, fun-loving pastry chef that I hope to meet one day. Her dessert recipes (mostly cakes) are all based on fresh, unadulterated ingredients that she shops for at markets.
In addition to baking and satisfying her father’s sweet tooth she came up with a very innovative idea of developing workshops where she teaches people how to shop for ingredients, how to store the items in pantries and in refrigerators once they arrive home and how to prepare the ingredients to be ready to be used in the meals that she has pre-arranged with complete recipes for the entire week. You need to visit the site to understand better what she delivers in these workshops.
She has studied the development and design of pastry in Italy (obviously she likes Italian desserts) and when she returned home she immediately started to perfect her training.
It is quite refreshing to read how she admits using ingredients that she never used before, but since these are mostly developed by farmers, she is ready to experiment with them. She likes to use lots of fresh fruits and nuts and what strikes me as a wonderful idea how she uses a variety of “natural” flours, like almond flour and other flours made from nuts, or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour which she started while dieting. I am a convert. I will start to experiment with these various flours.
Well, this is 50%; the next five dessert blogs will be posted soon. Until then, please let me know which dessert blog or blogs you are visiting the most, which one’s recipes you are using the most, and which blog(s) you are stopping by only to enjoy their photographs. This list is definitely expandable