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A Food Blog Link We Really Love

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We're switching up our regular Link Love coverage this week to introduce you to a blogger whose recipes made us hungry.

Meet Sarah Kieffer, the mother of two, lover of English, and self-taught baking guru who writes the The Vanilla Bean Blog. She uses her virtual space to share baking recipes, explore photography, and offer "occasional musings" in the forms of poetry and prose. Here, she talks about finding inspiration for recipes in books (as with the recipe for Vanilla Lavender Cupcakes that caught our eye this week!), and what it's been like to write her own:

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Photos by Sarah Kieffer
Photo by Sarah Kieffer

I find inspiration in cookbooks: I love to go to the library and check out stacks of baking books and jot down ideas. I have been highly inspired by Kim Boyce's Good To The Grain and Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert books; both highlight "alternative" flours (spelt, buckwheat, oat, etc) as extra flavor, not just as a health benefit or replacement for all-purpose flour. I love this approach, and often play around with other flours in my baking. I took the Pulse Pledge this year, and so I've been trying to work pulses into some of my baking as well as my cooking. Lindsay Love's book, Chickpea Flour Does it All, features chickpea flour, and I was intrigued by her Vanilla Lavender Cupcakes.

Photos by Sarah Kieffer,

I went from baking full-time in a coffeehouse to being a stay-at-home mom, and began my site as a good excuse to make cakes and pies more frequently. My blog has slowly turned from a fun pastime into a soon-to-be released baking book, which has been wild. I have a BA in English and am a bit of a romantic, and I often include a poem or snippets of prose in my posts. These lines by D.H. Lawrence resonated with me enough to include it in my recent post:

And if, as we work, we can transmit life into our work, life, still more life, rushes into us to compensate, to be ready, and we ripple with life through the days. Even if it is a woman making an apple dumpling, or a man a stool, if life goes into the pudding, good is the pudding, good is the stool, content is the woman, with fresh life rippling in to her, content is the man.

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Throughout my day I put fragments of my life on social media, usually the best of my day; the prettiest cake, the most flattering angle, is front and center. But my daily routine—the folding of laundry, driving kids to the orthodontist, washing piles of dishes after recipe testing and photo shoots, chopping onions for dinner, those are the moments that matter. I want all of it, from the enjoyable to the mundane, to transfer some kind of life. And as I tuck into bed each evening, I want fall asleep content with the work I've done.

Photos by Sarah Kieffer,

A few other links we love by Sarah:

Sarah's forthcoming book is The Vanilla Bean Baking Book and her blog is The Vanilla Bean Blog. What food blogs did you love this week?


See more from the illustrated biographies of 16.5 global desserts

Tags: Link love, profiles, vanilla, baking, cake