Aloha, and welcome to 2018. Hope you all had a fantastic New Year’s Eve, doing whatever it is you wanted to be doing. I finally managed to win our annual board game night, after 5 years of trying!
Bit of a weird one today, as there’s absolutely no new recipe for you. Sad face. But, if you missed it, there’s always the birthday cake sundae I shared yesterday to celebrate this blog’s 2nd birthday! Homemade birthday cake batter ice cream always goes down well, right?
So instead of posting something new, I thought I’d look back over the past twelve months and let you all know what’s been a hit here on What Charlotte Baked. And I will also set out some blogging goals I have for the year ahead, because writing targets down on a public blog means I have all the more impetus to meet them. Yay!
What you’ve loved in 2017
Let’s check out the top five posts I’ve shared this year – some of them might just surprise you.
This was my first ever Swiss roll. Yep, I’d never made one at all before I created the one you see before you now. No practice needed – that’s how deceptively easy rolling up a cake can be. As long as you don’t panic, and follow my instructions, then you too can create a beautiful cake roll from scratch. It doesn’t even need to be patterned – but it makes it all the cuter if it is, right?
Next up, it’s just me sharing my two-cents on how to create big batch cocktails for a wedding. We got married in 2016, and we pretty much catered the whole thing ourselves. I even made the cake (and yes, I’ll never stop going on about it). And when it came to welcome drinks, we filled up some big ol’ drinks dispensers with cocktails and ice, and let people help themselves. It’s not hard, and you can totally do it yourself too.
The post also shares the recipes for the the three alcoholic cocktails we had on the big day – Sea Breeze, Pimm’s N0.1 Cup, and Moscow Mule. These are super easy to scale up or down if needed, and are perfect for large pitchers or dispensers. And who doesn’t love a Pimm’s at a wedding.
I went through a bit of a cheesecake binge over the summer, but the runaway success was the simplest of them all: the Maltesers Cheesecake. This cheesecake has a buttery biscuit base, and is topped with a creamy malty cheesecake topping. And of course, there are Maltesers (or Whoppers if you’re in the USA) inside, underneath, and on top of the cheesecake too. Can’t get enough of those delicious malty balls.
Congress Tarts are a weird success story that shows that sometimes that niche recipe that your Grandma used to make can actually turn into a recipe that people want to read. You’ve probably never even heard of a congress tart, but they are cute little sweet almond tarts, with a raspberry jam filling. Top them with little pastry crosses if you want to be old school, or flaked almonds if you want something a little more crunchy. You can’t really go wrong.
Every single day in the past six months when I have logged into WordPress and checked by stats, the most popular recipe has been my super white buttercream tutorial. In fact, it has brought in about one sixth of my whole traffic for the year. Yep, one whole sixth. It seems that everyone wants to know how I get my buttercream so white, and hopefully I have helped some of them with my tips.
Spoiler alert: don’t use shortening. Yucky.
What about 2018?
This year is going to be a mad one for me personally. There’s a potential house move on the cards, a mega two week family holiday in the summer, as well as plenty of other trips on the horizon. I’m hoping to finally get myself a new car, as well as that small matter of both me and Katie turning 30 in February. So yeah, it’s going to be full on.
This means that I am going to be putting way less pressure on myself to post multiple times a week. I will commit to one post per week in 2018, which means I can put all my care and attention into getting each week’s recipe perfect, without stressing myself out or messing up our small little kitchen too much. That doesn’t mean that this blog is not important to me – designing recipes and baking sweet treats is my number two priority in life (after Katie). But, sometimes you need to scale down your responsibilities and just enjoy spending some time lying on the sofa and watching TV.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have goals and ambitions though – I wouldn’t be me without a list after all. My five goals for 2018 are:
- I want to hit 25,000 views per month by the end of December 2018.
- I want to conquer my fear of French macarons. I will make them, and they will be good.
- I want to post once per week for all of 2018 – that’s 52 new recipes for you all to love.
- I want to try and make some more videos.
- I want to get better at my social media strategy – actually tweeting and pinning my new posts.
So there they are, out there in the big wide world. It’s going to be great to look back on these this time next year and see how I’ve measured up. Yeah, I might fail some of them (French macarons, I’m looking at you) but I’m going to give them all my best shot. Pinky promise.
Right, I’m going to head off and enjoy the last day of the Christmas holidays (boooo) before I head back to my real life job tomorrow. The snack table isn’t going to know what’s hit it when I’m finished with it.
Many thanks for reading – you don’t know how much I appreciate each and every one of you.