My Response to a Very Upset Reader | Cupcake Project

My Response to a Very Upset Reader

lisa email

Here’s my very public response to the above email that I received from former reader Lisa:

I started Cupcake Project back in 2007.  It was literally a project to master the cupcake.  I had a full-time job and never dreamed that one day my blog would be more than just a joyful, creative outlet.  Today, I’m fortunate that it allows me to work from home and spend time with my family while I earn a respectable income.

For almost six years, I only posted cupcake recipes on this site.  If I baked something that wasn’t a cupcake, I always turned it into a cupcake.  If I made a pumpkin chili, you could bet that the next post would be a pumpkin chili cupcake.  Thus, there are well over 200 cupcake recipes on Cupcake Project.  After developing a recipe for the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake, which is now used in bakeries all over the country, I spent most of 2013 perfecting the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake - which receives equally rave reviews.  There is always more to learn about cupcakes and there are always new cupcake recipes to create, but at this point I think it’s fair to say that I’ve mastered the cupcake.

Once I master something, I start to get antsy.

Although cupcakes are my first love, I began to dream of other desserts.  I want to master baking, not just cupcakes.  I wondered, “Did my readers really just like cupcakes?”  So, I started sneaking in more cookie recipes, pie recipes, and custards.  I played with homemade ice cream and homemade breads.  In 2014, I’ve shared just a handful of cupcakes and not a single reader (the one above notwithstanding) said anything about it.  Either you guys are really shy, or my suspicions are right and you like other baked goods, too.  :)

While you were in implicit agreement with my change in direction, brands were more vocal.  When all I posted was cupcakes, it limited the number of brands that I could work with.  This was especially true because I was – and still am – extremely picky about which brands I will partner with.  I have turned down sponsored work time and again for cake mix and canned frosting brands since this is a from-scratch baking site.  I have also turned down work from companies whose ethics I don’t agree with or whose products I can’t comfortably recommend to you.  More opportunities to work with brands I love have come about every day since I opened my blog up to a greater variety of baked goods.

It sounds like attracting brands was a calculated plan.  It wasn’t.  It was simply a side effect of me getting excited about learning new baking skills.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  Prior to 2013, I had a great advertising contract for the ads on the sidebar of my blog and I was able to make a nice living just from those ads.  When that contract ended, I truly needed the money from sponsored posts to avoid a huge pay cut.

So, yes, my blog now has much more sponsored content than ever before.  I can understand if that turns some of you off, but please hear me out about the care that I take with sponsored posts.

I already told you that I only work with brands that I love, but I should also tell you that I don’t work with any brands that tell me what to write.  When I work with a brand, I’ll use their product, ingredient, or service, tell you why I love it, and give you a fun recipe (typically one that is very original – that’s my style).  I see it as a win-win: I make the money that I need to keep this blog going while you get exposure to brands you might not know about – often with a discount or giveaway.

One of my largest brand partners this year has been Craftsy.  I’m sure regular readers know about this because I write about Craftsy almost twice a month.  That partnership couldn’t have been a better fit for me at a time when I was ready to branch out to other baked goods.  I was yearning to learn and they offered to pay me to do so with incredible instructors and lessons that I can review again and again.  I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about their classes and the resulting baked goods as much as I’ve enjoyed taking the classes.  It would make me so happy to hear that I’ve inspired some of you to push yourselves to learn something new!

I’ve made a small change to the banner at the top of this blog.  It’s always read “an experimental cupcake blog” and this will always be a home for cupcake lovers around the world.  Today, I have changed my tagline to reflect what this blog has become over the past year: “an experimental baking blog.”

I’d like to also address Lisa’s comment about click bait posts.  I assume she is referring to some of the top ten list posts that I’ve done recently, like 10 things only cupcake bakers will understand.  I know clicking through a top ten list can be annoying – especially on a mobile device.  So, I tried to make it worth your while with quality content.  I’ve received very positive feedback from those who did click through.  One of the great things about being a blogger is that I get to play with this blog’s content – I have no boss.  I adore baking, but I love creative writing just as much and it’s fun for me to write humor or list posts from time to time.   Through this process, I am always open to your feedback.  I’d appreciate it if the feedback were presented more gently than above, but just the fact that Lisa took the time to write at all shows me that people care.

To address Lisa’s last point,  I know my responsive design (page design for mobile phones) is lacking.  I haven’t had the time or money to invest into fixing that.  I’m sorry to anyone who has struggled with it – improving my mobile design is on my wish list.

It would mean SO much to me if you would comment on this post.

I want to know…

  • Have you noticed the shift away from cupcakes?  What have you thought of it?
  • How do you feel about the sponsored content?
  • Why do you read this blog?
  • What is your favorite type of post on this blog?
  • Is there something that you’d like to see more or less of?

I don’t expect you to answer everything, but I’d love to hear something from you.  I write this blog both for me and for you and while I know that no one can make everyone happy, I’d like to try.

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134 Responses to My Response to a Very Upset Reader

  1. Jenny August 19, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    I’m a newer reader so the change in content doesn’t affect me. There have been other blogs I’ve stopped reading because they start feeling too sponsored. I don’t feel like that with yours. I would say to keep doing the regular posts along with sponsored posts. More regular than sponsored. I like the posts where you talk about cooking and your life. Homemade hamburger buns was a good example of that.

    • Stef August 19, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Jenny, and thanks for being a new reader! I’m so glad to hear you liked the hamburger post. I’m never sure if people enjoy the posts about my life. Good to know.

  2. Jessica August 19, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    I have been a follower since early 2010. The shift towards other baked goods has been refreshing and (in my opinion) needed. I have no complaints in terms of that or even the sponsored posts. Regardless of what bloggers post, I always do my research before using a product. It is super helpful to have new ones brought in to the spot light (I’m looking at you Craftsy). My only complaint is the way you’ve changed your layout. I cannot figure it out for the life of me. That has been the only thing that has deterred me from being more avid of a reader.

    In the end, it’s your business and you write (and run) it the way you feel is best. Keep doing your thing.

    • Stef August 19, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

      Thanks and I’m glad that you’ve discovered Craftsy! I’d love to know what aspect of my layout confuses you.

  3. Linda August 19, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    I have been following your blog for about 3 years, and I must say, I enjoyed and pinned most of your posts. You have many wonderful bakes, be it cupcakes, cookies or bread. Whether the posts are sponsored or otherwise, it never did bother me. Please keep the posts coming!! Thanks so much for your hard work!!

    • Stef August 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

      Thanks you for reading, enjoying, and pinning. That’s why I love my job!

  4. Kelly August 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    I’ve been a regular reader for awhile now. One thing I appreciate about your content is that it is original, and just as you said “experimental”. That’s such a refreshing thing. I enjoy waiting to see what new and fun ideas will come up on my feed…regardless of what kind of dessert/s it may be! We all know the cupcake is King, but there are plenty of other treats to be enjoyed as well!

    I would say that I’m not necessarily a huge fan of having to click through multiple pictures and pages just for one post. Other than that, it’s golden.

    I consider myself a passionate baker and encourage you to keep up the baking experiments and creative content!

  5. Stef August 19, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    Yay! I’m so glad that you like my crazy experiments. That’s what I love to do most. I’ll try to keep those multi-page posts to a minimum.

  6. Libby August 19, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    I have noticed a slight change in direction, but your suspicions about cupcake lovers also loving other baked goods is right on. As a cupcake business owner, I very much appreciate a change of pace! :) The top ten lists are fun too, but could you do them in a scrolling down fashion instead of clicking through? Just a thought. You are awesome and it is even more inspiring to see you address conflict with such grace and openness!

    • Stef August 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

      Thanks so much, Libby. I really appreciate your feedback and I’m glad you enjoy the other baked goods. I’m going to try to keep the clicking through type posts to a minimum.

  7. mary harden August 19, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    I have read your blog for a long time. I have noticed that you have been posting recipes that are not cupcakes, but I read your blog because I feel that you have great ideas, and creativity that inspires me. I love all of the recipes that you post, and I think about ways to tweak them to fit what I like to bake. The ads and endorsements never upset me, but I will admit that I skip them on your facebook.

    • Stef August 19, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

      Thanks, Mary. I totally understand skipping over things on Facebook. There is a lot of content on there. Hopefully you find some content you like on Facebook, but it’s most important to me that you enjoy the blog itself. That’s my baby!

  8. AmyW August 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    I am also a newer reader, and stumbled on your site looking to be inspired with cupcakes(which has happened many times). I have a gluten allergy and can not actually bake your recipes, but that doesn’t stop me from loving the flavor combinations and getting inspiration to convert them in my own way. I haven’t noticed an obvious change in your posts. Just remember you can’t please everyone :) Keep posting and baking what you love.

    • Stef August 19, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

      Thanks for being a new readers, Amy, and for your sweet comment! I try to throw in gluten-free recipes from time to time. I hope you’ve found some that work for you!

  9. Cindy August 20, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    I too am a newer reader of your blog and generally enjoy your posts, not to mention being inspired by all your unique recipes! I will echo several other commenters though, and say the paginated list posts, while entertaining in content, are irritating in format.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks for the feedback, Cindy, and for reading! I’m getting the picture with the paginated posts. I’ll try to keep those to a minimum.

  10. Kate N August 20, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    Good things are not for free. I have enjoyed and benefit from your work without any cost over the years. So I don’t mind that you are getting pay for your work. The ads don’t bother me and if I am not in the mood, I just don’t click on anything….

    Cupcakes are the main reason I come here but I also enjoy reading about other recipes.
    I know that you tested most of your recipe gave them your honest opinion.

    Example, the post on over mixing your batter: I always wondered about that but never tried it out. Now, I don’t have too ;)

    SO… keep up the good work :)

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks, Kathy! So glad you enjoyed my over mixing the batter post. I love writing posts like that one. It’s the ultimate experimentation post. :)

  11. Monique @ The Sugar Coated Spatula August 20, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    I’ve only been reading your blog for a very short time and all I keep thinking was ‘why wasn’t I reading this for the last few years?!’ I love everything about it. Keep up the solid work!!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks so much, Monique! I’m so glad you found it and you’re enjoying it! Keep in touch!

  12. E. Murphy August 20, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    I really enjoy your website. I love the cupcakes, but have very much enjoyed the other baking too. Even though lots of people follow it, this is still your blog and you should get to write about what you like. I don’t mind ads unless they’re pop-up ads. Some drive me a little nuts. I respect, and am envious, that you have found a way to make a living doing this. And if ads are how I get to have FREE, obviously high quality recipes for yummy treats, that seems fair to me.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      I don’t typically have popup ads on this site. If you see one, let me know. It shouldn’t be there. I hate them too! Thanks for reading and for your encouragement!

  13. Michelle Keith August 20, 2014 at 1:24 am #

    I enjoy your site, when I get a chance to sit down and have a look with 2 littlies. If having some ads is how you get to keep doing what you love, so be it, at the end of the day you can always either not go there (the site) or unsubscribe…pretty simple really :-)

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      It’s so hard to find time with kids. Thanks for taking some of the little that you have to check out this site.

  14. marquisha turner August 20, 2014 at 1:24 am #

    I found your blog while looking for the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. Although it was just a few months ago, that recipe made me a loyal reader. I feel that anyone who devotes as much time to perfecting a (absolutely perfect) cupcake must have high standards and a love for baking. The fact that you journal it all and share with us shows the love that you also have for baking. I don’t mind the sponsored content at all. I love reading the other recipes because I know they will be good. I don’t care for reading certain posts one page at a time, but it doesn’t stop me from reading them. Your blog is the first that I have ever had any personal reaction with. I love it and I want to thank you for your time and tell you that I admire you for doing what you love and getting paid for it.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      Thanks so much! I’m so glad you found this blog. Please keep in touch and let me know if there is ever anything you’d love to see here. I’ll try to keep those multi-page posts to a minimum.

  15. Jeanette August 20, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    First off, full disclosure, I am your Pinterest Intern. However, you and I have not discussed this post at all.

    I’ve been avid reader for years. You’re weird and wonderful cupcake creations drew me in, inspired me to try my hand at them and start blogging.

    I’m not going to lie, I do think you have many, many more experimental cupcakes to make (rugelach, please, I’m stumped). However, I enjoy you applying that same creativity to other things.

    I play in your content on nearly a daily basis and I always find something new and wonderful.

    I say move in the direction which inspires you. Stay true to you. You may lose some followers, but you’llgain some, too.  

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      Thanks a million times over, Jeanette – for everything. The rugelach cupcake is on my list. It will happen some day.

  16. jonea August 20, 2014 at 3:38 am #

    I came to your blog last year when I googled “the best moist vanilla cupcake” because I was sick of all the recipes for the classic cupcake being super dry. And I’ve followed you ever since, because it was simply the best recipe for a vanilla cuppy I’ve come across.
    I will admit, it would be nice if your blog was mobile friendly, but I love your recipes, I’ve even downloaded some craftsy classes!
    Carry on!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:40 am #

      Thanks Jonea! I’ll fix the mobile problem eventually. Sorry you have to deal with it.

  17. Deauna August 20, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    A very classy response to negative feedback. I like baking so when you included more desserts, I was actually happy (seeing as baking cupcakes at home for two never seems to work out for our waistlines) to see you add more desserts on the blog. You’re one of three blogs that I still read on a regular basis after a massive purging.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Thanks so much Deauna! Out of curiosity, what are the other two? I want to make sure that I’m reading them too. :)

  18. Elle S. August 20, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    I’ve followed your blog for a few years now and although I’ve noticed the changes, I REALLY like them! I’ve always been the shy type and wouldn’t comment, so I’m a lurker (until now). Keep up the good work! I’ve tried a little over 100 of your recipes and they were all amazing!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      WOW!! Thank you so much for coming out of hiding! I’m in awe that you have tried so many of my recipes. You just made my day! Please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear from you again!

  19. Lesley August 20, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    As a reader from the UK – the only thing I’d dearly love to see would be metric measurements in addition to the US cups. Incidentally, despite the old adage that a pint is a pound the whole world round – it’s not in the UK, Australia and other countries – we have 20 oz to a pint and 16oz to a pound. Change nothing else, I don’t look at advertising if I don’t want to.

    I don’t know if you follow the Pinch of Yum website – its a great one, great recipes and great look and feel to their site. They do a monthly income report on their blog – it’s fascinating reading as to how to maximise your earnings from the position of advertising, etc. It must be my CRM/Marketing/Finance background that finds stuff like that so interesting but you might as well if you’re concerned as to how advertising etc is affecting your readership.

    Love your site and love the Vanilla Cupcakes!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 9:58 am #

      Lesley – I know that I would make a lot of people happy if I added the metric measurements. And, I really have no good excuse for not doing it. I just haven’t taken the time. Maybe someday.

      Yes.. I have seen those reports on Pinch of Yum, but I hadn’t seen them in a while. I can’t believe they are make over 20K a month. I make nowhere near that. I guess I need an ebook. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  20. Alison August 20, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Iv’e only been following your blog for a short time, but really enjoy what you have. I think creative, different cupcakes are fun and wish more people shared your willingness to try something new. I get emails telling me when you have a new post and if it doesn’t interest me then I don’t look at it. Easy enough. You can’t please everyone all the time and should not feel that you have to. Keep up the good work, your posts are fantastic!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Thanks so much, Alison! I really appreciate it! I’m so glad you found Cupcake Project. Hope to hear from you again!

  21. Catharine August 20, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    I have been reading your posts for a very long time. I am a baker and like you love to be inspired. You do that, not only for cupcakes, but on all you post. I for one want to thank you. As for the person that wasn’t happy with your posts, it is so easy to stop following. There is enough negativity in the world. Please keep posting and inspiring others. Thank you

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Aww.. thanks so much Catharine! That means a lot to me!

  22. Lori Connors August 20, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    Have never been a fan of click through….98% of the time I completely avoid. In this ever busy world of ours, if it isn’t right in my face, I am not going to spend extra time to click and wait for a page to load. As far as ads, it is the nature of the beast. Yes they are annoying but completely understandable that you have to make money. I have learned to ignore them, your site and all the others that I read.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      I wish there was a way to avoid the ads, but it’s just the nature of this job. Thanks for reading and I’ll try to keep the click through posts to a minimum.

  23. TJ Lubrano August 20, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Hello hello!

    I’ll never understand why someone will take the time to write a negative comment like that. I absolutely love cupcakes, but there’s a whole world of gorgeous baked goodies out there. It’s a common fact that if you start out with something (blogging, business etc.) you need a focus point. Who knows what would have happened if you just randomly posted your cooking adventures. You had a passion, a focus and you stuck to it and created a marvelous world where cupcakes were the main characters. You perfected your skills and now you take us all on different foodie adventures. What’s not to love? I love it to see people grow and capture their dreams.

    Keep on doing what you do best and never lose sight of how it could benefit you as well. You’ve worked hard to be where you are now. Your site is just fabulous. ^_^ I do have to say that cupcakes are magical. Two years ago, they threw my illustration career to a new level as well, haha.

    Ciao ciao! xo

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      Just checked out your art – love it!!! Maybe we could collaborate on something some time. Thanks for reading and for leaving your nice comment. And, it’s true, cupcakes are magical!

      • TJ Lubrano August 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

        Oh my goodness. I did a happy dance when I saw you followed me on Twitter (followed you back, obviously) and then I almost fell off my chair from exitement when I read your comment!! I’ve been visiting your site ever since I started blogging myself and well…oh my gosh. It would be absolutely awesome to do a collaboration. So you can count me in! ^_^

        I don’t think I have the cupcakes in my portfolio, but my site is highly due for a re-arrangement. :)

        And, you’re absolutely welcome. I meant every single word.

  24. Angie M August 20, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    I’ve got to admit, I don’t care for the new content. If I see that it’s not cupcake related, I delete it without opening it. It seems that you’ve strayed too far from the original topic.

    I understand that you need to keep working & sponsors are important. I’ll give this a short time longer but predict that I’ll be asking to have my name removed from your email list by Thanksgiving. I’m so sorry, but this website is becoming something that no longer applies to the topic I’m interested in. Best wishes to you.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      Hi Angie, so sorry to hear that I may be losing you. I feared that I would lose some cupcake lovers with my switch, but I just have to hope that there are just as many people who are happy with a broader range of content. Thanks for the well wishes.

  25. Saratoga Pixie August 20, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    I have been a subscriber for a little over a year now and I have to say that I have no complaints. The beauty of the Internet is that if you come across something you are not interested in or that you don’t like, you can delete it, unsubscribe or let it go. I enjoyed the change into other bakery items. Would it be great to have a mobile interface, sure, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Thanks for reading, Saratoga! And, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the change. Fixing the mobile interface is definitely on my to-do list.

  26. Farmgirl August 20, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Great website! I have used so many of your recipes with great success! Sponsors or no sponsors, I go for your recipes and ideas! If I am interested in the sponsor, I may click on it to take a peek. Always open to new ideas and changes. Thanks for your great website!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:12 am #

      Thanks! And, I’m glad your open to change. I appreciate it.

  27. Nancy C August 20, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    I enjoy your blog. Keep on keeping on. By the way I really like, as well as my friends, the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Yum Yum

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:12 am #

      Thanks! That recipe is one of my favorites. It better be after working on it for a full year. :)

  28. Mitzie Smith August 20, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    I love reading your interesting blog. Creativity is a gift.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      Thanks so much, Mitzie!

  29. Cari August 20, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    I noticed the shift away from cupcakes, and I was a little disappointed, but I’ve found your other posts interesting as well.

    The sponsored content is fine. I don’t think that you overdo it, and many of the featured stuff has interested me.

    I read this blog because I like the personality of the posts. I’m not always interested in the specific recipe, but it’s usually an interesting read nonetheless.

    My favorite type of post on this blog is one featuring cake or frosting. I also really liked the ones about chocolate, like making the chocolate cups. The homemade versions of store bought stuff like honey nut cheerios are also really fun.

    I’d like to see an ultimate carrot cake recipe.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I haven’t given up on cupcakes entirely. Don’t worry, there are more to come! Thanks for letting me know that types of posts you enjoy. That’s great information. Have you tried the carrot cupcake recipes on this site? I have a few really good ones.

  30. Wendy August 20, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    I found your website in 2012, when my son (who loves Cupcake Wars) wanted to have a cupcake dessert for his bar mitzvah party. I was so pleased to find your site with its great recipes and all the tricks for creating 100+ cupcake displays. Since then I have made several of your cupcakes and the ultimate chocolate and vanilla cupcakes are mainstays in my house. I have noticed the shift from cupcakes to general baking, and while I do bake other things we have found that cupcakes work best in our family — easy to eat, easy to transport and less likely to go to waist (or my waistline). So I’ve kind of ignored your shift and I just go on your site and search for old cupcake posts when that’s what I want. I have also noticed your shift to more advertising — something else I just ignore. I understand that you need to make money in order to keep this site running. As to the top ten click through posts – I have to ignore them because I just can’t click through — it makes me nuts. But if you were to have them as scroll down posts instead of click through I would look at those that interest me.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:20 am #

      Hi Wendy, I’m so glad to hear that you make use of my archive. I do still post cupcakes and frostings periodically, so be on the lookout. I’m glad you are able to just ignore the ads. Thanks for sticking with me. :)

  31. Donna August 20, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    I’m so sorry that some readers (and some people in general) find it necessary to be so unkind. The anonymity of the Internet has brought out a false bravado in people of spewing whatever their frustration feeds without the need for restraint or consideration. As I can see from the responses, your upset reader’s feelings are not mirrored by others.

    Interestingly enough, if your blog was “just” about cupcakes, I likely wouldn’t have subscribed. Don’t get me wrong … I love cupcakes as much as the next person, but I just never seem to get around to actually baking them. However, your many other tips, tricks, recipes, etc. have kept me a subscriber for some time now.

    Will I always be a subscriber? Perhaps, perhaps not. You, your site, and my needs … we’re changing all the time. For now, our interests connect, and I will continue to enjoy our time together. If the day ever comes when that is no longer the case, I will quietly unsubscribe with the comment “No longer relevant to my needs, but wishing you continued success in your future endeavours.”

    It’s just too easy to be polite and appreciative of the talents you offer so freely. Thanks.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Thanks Donna! It’s so true about interests intersecting for short periods and then changing. That’s life. I’m glad that our paths have crossed today.

  32. Olivia August 20, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    I have followed your blog for a few years now, I started when I found my love of baking, especially cupcakes. I as well have branched from cupcakes and now am learning and trying new things such as bread and working with healthy alternative ingredients. I have always found your blog interesting and have tried some of your recipes, which have always come out great, and pinned most of them to try later. I enjoy your posts about cupcakes and other baked goods alike.
    The sponsored content and ads do not bother me, I understand that that is part of how you make your money as a blogger but mainly because you do not let them tell you how to write or what to write.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks, Olivia! I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed the posts and recipes. I truly appreciate you reading and commenting.

  33. LexLaura August 20, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    I have enjoyed your blog for several years. I always enjoyed cooking, but never like baking because there were too many rules. I didn’t bake at all, but I enjoyed reading your blog until the post about the Hot Wings cupcakes. That turned me from someone who liked reading about baked goods to someone who had to try to make this crazy thing. From then, I periodically make things you post. I think my favorite thing about your blog is that I don’t feel constrained by rules, rather I feel free to bake. So thank you.

    You expanding to things besides cupcakes is not a problem. When I made the Frozen Mango Margarita Pie this weekend, and I had extra filling, I put it in a cupcake wrapper… ergo still a cupcake. You expanding has never been a problem for me. I did enjoy in the past when you would make something new (i.e. Baileys, Ritz Crackers, Chickpeas), and then later tie it to a cupcake with some sort of fun twist. Not necessary, but fun.

    In terms of layout, yes, you have a lot more advertising now. In general that does not bother me. Right now it is Staples, Modcloth, and tampons on the right side advertising, which I assume is not your choosing, but rather the cookies from my computer suggesting ads through whatever service you use.

    What does sort of feel like link bait is not your actual posts, but the section of articles beneath each post. The “You may also like” section. I think that area used to be related recipes from your site, which was fun to explore. But that section now contains links to other sites, probably not evaluated by you, with headlines like “Drink this to change your life” or “4 foods to shrink your waistline.” I think it would be better if there was a way to show that those links are not from you. I think it is fine if you have ad links like that, but maybe if there was a way to show the source before any of your readers click through?

    Thank you for the time and energy you pour into this. I am very thankful and i enjoy what you do!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      LexLaura – Thanks for taking the time to write such well thought out comments. You crack me up about the frozen mango pie in the cupcake wrapper. :)

      Yes, the ads are based on cookies (not the yummy kind) so I don’t have much control over what you see. You make a valid point about the “you might also like section” though. I’m going to look into changing my wording there. Thanks for the input.

  34. Leah August 20, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    I am a relativly new reader. I found your blog a little over a year ago while looking for a good vanilla cupcake recipe. Which of course led me to the Ultimatr Vanilla Cupcake recipe. Which by the way is now the only vanilla cupcake recipe I use. I browsed a bit and added the blog to my rss reader, and not once have I regretted that decision. I can’t say I noticed any shift away from cupcake recipes, but then I guess I just considered it more a baking blog with roots in cupcakes than strictly a cupcake blog.

    I write two blogs of my own, one that is a personal anything goes blog, and a beauty blog. I can relate to the shift to more general content. When I started the beauty blog, I wrote strictly about nail polish. After a while though I wanted to write about other beauty products. Now after a few years of gradually integrating other beauty products, my blog is known as that: a beauty blog, not just a nail polish blog. I still write about nail polish but it is no longer the sole or even main focus. I lost a few readers in the process but hey, it is my blog, if I want to switch up the content I will. It is still called The Nail Polish Addict. By the time I shifted the focus to a more general spectrum of beauty it was already established with a fair amount of readers. (It still is not a huge, well known blog but I adore my small-as-far-as-internet-goes circle of readers.) I had already moved from one blogging site to another once and did nit want to go and change the name, thus changing things on my readers again. So I let it be.

    As far as sponsored content and ads – again as a fellow blog author I can relate. I try to maintain a balance of sponsored posts and my own posts but I am otherwisise unemployed and need the financial help. I make very, very little from the ads on my blog and to date all my sponsored posts have been in the form of free product with no monetary imbursment. It works for me. I am also quite picky about who I will work with and I refuse to write a glowing review if I didn’t really love the product. Again I have lost some readers due to the sponsored posts. They feel I have “sold out”. But most of my readers are awesome and understand the genuine need to do such posts and have some ads on the blog.

    Non bloggers and casual bloggers do not seem to understand what a full time job serious blogging really is. Between photographing products, prepping photos for the web, writing, maintaining the behind the scenes aspects of the blog, reading and replying to comments and emails, additional social media accounts…. it adds up to a LOT of time and effort. It is only fair that if you have the opportunity to be paid for your time, you take advantage of that opportunity.

    Phew. Sorry for the long comment. Lol Short version: It is your blog, run it as you see fit. There will always be people who don’t like it for one reason or another – but there will also be others who will love it.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Don’t be sorry for the long comment. I loved hearing your story and how you’ve faced similar struggles with completely different content. Good for you for doing what you love and finding a supportive community of readers. Thanks for being a part of mine. I truly appreciate it!

  35. Donna August 20, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Just wanted to add that I would absolutely love to see some recipes for Gluten-Free. Unless you know someone who requires this, it is not likely an area you have explored, but if the opportunity ever presents itself, I would love to know your take on it.

    Until now, I have had to try to adapt your wonderful recipes to GF for my daughter … with varying levels of success. I’m afraid I haven’t mastered this GF baking process yet and would love to know if you have tried it.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Donna – Have you looked in my archives? I do have a bunch of gluten-free recipes. But, the good news is next month I’m reviewing the gluten-free baking class for Craftsy so I’ll definitely have more to say about gluten-free baking then.

      • Donna August 20, 2014 at 10:59 am #

        I’ll check out those archives and I’ll definitely be watching for your review. I’m thrilled! You’ve made my day!! And to think I was struggling alone, needlessly!!

  36. Olivia August 20, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    I would also like to tell you that your recent posts about Craftsy have brought something new to my life. I have heard of it before but didn’t know much about it but when you posted about the croissants and learning how to make them, which is actually something I have been very interested in I signed up for the sites emails and I plan to take some of the classes. Thank you for introducing another great site into my life!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:37 am #

      Yay! So glad you’ve enjoying Craftsy. I’m totally hooked on it! Let me know how your croissants turn out!

  37. Avra August 20, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    I typically don’t have time to read all of the blogs I follow or enjoy. I am attracted by Facebook posts, and get directed to the blog from there if it looks like a recipe (or craft project, etc) I am interested in. And I love discovering new recipes for just about anything – cupcakes, other baked goods, dinner ideas…who couldn’t use new inspiration in the kitchen?! AND-if I am looking specifically for a cupcake recipe, I know where I can look first :)

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      :) This is definitely still the source for cupcake recipes. But, I’m glad you’re enjoying my other recipes as well. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  38. sara August 20, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    I want to preface this by saying I would normally never write to someone about the direction their blog is taking — there are so many amazing blogs out there that I generally think it is my responsibility to seek out the blogs I enjoy and appreciate and ignore/stop visiting the ones I don’t. It is never a blogger’s responsibility to produce what I want on demand! :) However, since you specifically asked for feedback, I will say that I do think the blog has become less “unique.” I happened to click on this post in my RSS feed because I was curious about the title, but when I went to lok at your recent posts on the front page, I have to be honest that I don’t think I even remember any of the other ones popping up on my RSS reader (much less being things I clicked through to). Of the last 10 posts (other than this one), it looks like 2 are content-less GIF pages that one is expected to click through (I did not bother, but I assume there is an ad or something at the end?), 7 that are full of ads for random stuff like makeup brushes on Amazon and where it seems like they are probably sponsored (althogh you don’t make that totally clear, which I think is a real problem), and 1 that I actually do remember reading and liking (the double decker hi hat cupcake – very cool idea).

    Again — I think this is your blog and it is 100% up to you what you decide to do with it…honestly, if what you are doing now works for you and readers are liking it, then you do you. :) But for me personally, I would prefer to see something more in the range of 5 or 6 “real” posts that are you being creative and doing cool recipes for each sponsored post. And, whatever you do, I think any post that is going to include sponsorship or ads should state so very clearly so that readers are aware. And, for the love of God, please put everything on the same page! Whether on the phone or on the computer, no one wants to click through 5000 things to see your content.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Sara – Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do always give full disclosure when a post is sponsored. I not only think that it is the right thing to do, but it’s also the law. Re: the makeup brushes. That wasn’t random, I was talking about how to use those brushes to successfully make one of my recipes.

      Glad that you liked the double decker hi hats. I’ll try to keep more posts like that coming!

      And, I’m hearing you loud and clear about the posts that make you click through. I plan to keep those to a minimum.

  39. Rebecca August 20, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    Yes, I’ve noticed the shift away from cupcakes from your Facebook posts, enough so for me to remark more than once that I wondered what happened to the cupcakes. Your post with that note made me curious to click through and read the answer. I’ve no problem with other baked stuff besides cupcakes so no complaints from me. Hey, it’s your blog, do what you want with it! :) As it happens, I’ve been avoiding baking for months in favor of roasting vegetables, so my motivation to visit ANY sweet site is down. It’s not that I’m avoiding your blog in protest, I’m just otherwise occupied. You just keep doing what you do, and I’ll keep drooling over my keyboard when I spot the eye candy in my FB feed :D

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Hah! I’m all about roasted vegetables (you’d never know it from my blog). :) I love all the fresh summer fruits and veggies! Anyway, glad you’re enjoying seeing the posts on your feed. Make sure to click “Like” once in a while or FB will stop showing them to you. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment!

  40. Amanda August 20, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    I love everything that you post and I have made a few of your posts. If there is something that doesn’t interest me I not going to send you a nasty email about it. Everyone has their own opinions and most of them need to keep it to themselves. Not everything we do it meant to please everyone out there.

    You just need to keep doing what you love and that’s all that matters!!!

    Good luck!!!!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 11:13 am #

      Thanks so much, Amanda! Glad you like the posts. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.

  41. Christine August 20, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Hi there! I’ve been a reader for a long time. I was attracted for the cupcake content. I have made several of your recipes. Yum.
    I liked the change, frankly, because you can realistically only go so far with cupcakes. I’m all for pushing boundaries, but I will never make a pumpkin chili cupcake… So I FULLY SUPPORT your transition. I love the idea of experimental baking, as I want recipes that will intrigue me and challenge me, but not like a freak show… So if you hadnt changed, I probably would have dropped you at some point.

    Keep up the good work! Thank you for some awesome recipes.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      Hah! I get it. Some of my cupcake recipes do push things a bit past the the comfort zone. Thanks for sticking with me!

  42. H August 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    I’ve been reading your blog for several years. Overall, I think it was a good idea to expand beyond cupcakes, as sometimes the cupcake posts felt a little bit forced – and I’m glad you’re clarifying the overall intent of the site (i.e. baking vs. cupcakes only).

    The only change that I’ve struggled with is the way that the affiliate links for ingredients and tools are embedded into the posts. I totally get the need for advertising, but I find that the pictures and Amazon links really disrupt the reading experience when they’re in the middle of a post (both in terms of content and in terms of visual distraction). I’d happily click on one if it was at the bottom, in a sort of “By the way…” box, but when it’s smack in the middle of an article I’m reading, I’m less likely to do so – not least because I want to finish reading the recipe before making any kind of purchasing decision. (Also, for the record, I don’t click through on slideshows. But that’s just me.)

    That having been said, I really admire how you’ve responded to these critiques and to every comment – it makes me want to read more regularly than I have been. So good work. :)

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

      Thanks H. I could see how the Amazon links could be distracting. I’ve tried to weave them into the text, but I know that they are still in your face. I appreciate the feedback and thanks for reading!

  43. Amy August 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    Stef, I am SO proud of you for doing what you personally love. It’s hard to change after we feel like we’ve made a name for ourselves in one area, when really that was just a passion that expanded into something even bigger. You do no deserve such negative emails; you shouldn’t have to defend your interests. They’re part of you, no explanation needed. I’m really happy that you stood up for yourself and your blog in a positive way, and I hope that only good things will come from this in the future. Sending lots of love and thoughts your way today!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks so much Amy for supporting me now and always. I truly value your comments! Sending love right back at ya!

  44. Diane August 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    I enjoy whatever is posted. I would hope people would be open to new avenues. Tell them if they dont like it go elsewhere and quit complaining.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks, Diane. I figure that people are entitled to their opinions.

  45. Rena August 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    reader of a few years. have to agree that the amount of ads are almost alarming, can barely read through a recipe bc every single item is linked up. dont mind the switch away from cupcakes so much and I appreciate your need for revenue, but to keep some integrity to your blog….I do keep coming back bc your ideas are definitely revolutionary and creative and inspire me. Agree w the commenter above that Id never offer this offhand but since you asked. good luck!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback, Rena. I’ve always thought of the Amazon links as helpful since they are always weaved into the text and completely related to the recipe. But, I can now see your perspective about them being too adsy. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  46. Kyndra August 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I am a regular reader of your blog, and I look forward to read fun and exciting new things to try. I understand why you want to make things other than cupcakes. (Been there!) Cupcakes are my number-one go-to item to make of the week, I have recurring dreams about them…but I also love pandowdies! I think that it is great that you changed it to an ‘experimental baking blog’, because it isn’t just about cupcakes now.

    I don’t mind all the advertising….as long as it is cooking/baking/recipe related. I also think that the advertising should be at the end of posts, not in the middle of your article (or in the middle of a recipe!).

    I found this blog by accident…numerous years ago. My close friend is a lover of licorice. I am a cupcake baker who loves to play with my food. I made her my black licorice teacakes with a honey-vanilla buttercream frosting. I was stoked to find someone with a blog that loves cupcakes as much as I do!

    My favorite type of post on this blog are the cupcakes with heavy photos embedded. Cupcakes with not-as-popular ingredients and the flavors just meld and pop in your mouth like a bag of microwaveable popcorn. I also love the cultural cupcakes. But I have to admit, I really enjoyed reading about watermelon butter….and the posts on homeade SPAM. I have not tried it yet because SPAM scares me, but SPAM cupcakes are enticing…

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Kyndra. I’m glad you found this blog and I’ll continue to come up with unique cupcakes from time to time. It’s been interesting to hear the last few commenters (you included) mention the Amazon links. I’ve always thought of it as helpful to call-out the products that I use, but I can see where you are coming from so I appreciate your comment.
      Try the SPAM! It’s an adventure! :)

  47. Ali August 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    I do not like the shift away from cupcakes as there are many baking blogs. Don’t mind the sponsor stuff, it’s a reality. I especially like baking tips and new product info. Love the comparison of three minutes extra mixing, etc.

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

      Yes, I know it’s less unique to have a more well-rounded baking blog. I think what makes mine different is that I take huge risks with my recipes and always try create recipes that have never been made before. I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed the tips. I’ll keep them coming!

  48. Stef August 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback, Kyndra. I’m glad you found this blog and I’ll continue to come up with unique cupcakes from time to time. It’s been interesting to hear the last few commenters (you included) mention the Amazon links. I’ve always thought of it as helpful to call-out the products that I use, but I can see where you are coming from so I appreciate your comment.

    Try the SPAM! It’s an adventure! :)

  49. Michelle August 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Dear Stefani,

    I subscribed to your site via email quite a long time ago, but admit I have not been on in a while. However, this is ONLY due to a lack of time; I rarely do Facebook anymore myself.

    I have ALWAYS enjoyed reading about the wildly creative cupcake ideas you would present us with! When you had the Biscoff one quite some time ago, it made me seek out what it was, as it sounded so scrumptious, and I dare say it’s dangerous stuff; I can eat almost half a jar before I know what’s gotten into me! Luckily, I have a good metabolism :)

    I don’t know why anyone would complain about your site. Personally, if I’m uninterested in an ad, I just won’t read it. Since I have not been on in a while, I will check it out again, and if anything seems like it is confusing I will either:
    A) Just think you’re keeping us on our toes by making things fresh and new, use my brain, and figure it out myself!
    B) Send you a nice, informative email about the issue If I still feel confused and NEED help!

    Thank you for all of your great ideas :)

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time in your busy life to read and write this comment. I hope you continue to enjoy my posts!

  50. Dylan August 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    I’m a fairly new reader, having joined towards the end of last year, however, I’ve read almost all of your posts and archives since then. I have noticed the shift from cupcakes to general baking, and I am 100% okay with it! I imagine it would get boring and difficult to have to concoct new cupcakes several times a week or month, even if you love them, and I am always looking for more baking recipes besides cupcakes. As far as the sponsored posting goes, I do think it can get a bit annoying sometimes when there’s multiple in a row, but I think you’ve done a very good job of keeping things balanced. I am happy that you have the opportunity to work with and test so many brands and companies, and that you are able to do what you love for a living. I am excited to see what lies ahead for this blog!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

      Thanks Dylan! I’m excited too. I still have no idea where this experiment is going to go, but thanks for coming along for the ride. I really appreciate your comment!

  51. Debbie Cantwell August 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Yes, I noticed the change, but I always felt change is good! If I open your blog and I don’t care for what your blogging about, I close it. Simple as that. One is not forced to read your blog. I think it’s fine the way it is.

    What I like about your blog is that everything is from scratch. I don’t really care for boxed cake mixes. Anything from scratch tastes much better, and it reminds me of my childhood when my mom used to bake from scratch.

    I make your recipes mostly for my co-workers and believe me, they enjoy every bite! I say “Keep up the good work!”. I have shared many of your recipes and look forward to sharing even more.

  52. Heidi August 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    As a new business owner or a “well seasoned” blogger, we cannot make everyone happy no matter how hard we try. There will always be someone with an opinion. There are also so many people out there who don’t understand advertising-how it works or how expensive it is. Especially for small business owners. I will remain in the group that truly appreciates your hard work, creativity and dedication. As well as all of your fabulous recipes. I know you have inspired many of my creations as well. Always anxious to open my emails from you. Keep doing what you do!

    • Stef August 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

      Thanks so much Heidi!! I really appreciate you reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  53. Trudi Verrico August 20, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    I love your blog and you have to make a living somehow and if you can do it by doing something you love, all the better. If that means that you need to have ads on your blog then so be it.
    I sometimes wonder what was going through your mind when I see the stuff you put in cupcakes but then I live in a house that likes plain vanilla or chocolate cuppies. On day there are several recipes that I would like to try, but i need to find someone who will eat them with me.

    If people don’t like the click trough stuff then they don’t have to click on it. I try to read all the blogs that come through to my email but I don’t always have to click through to what they have written about.

    Keep up the good work

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Thanks Trudi! I know that not everyone likes the crazy flavors that I make, but I hope they inspire you to try something new from time to time. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  54. Kittish August 20, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    On the whole, I enjoy the recipes and other stuff you post. I’ve used a number of your recipes in my own baking (OMG rugelach… that stuff is SOOOOOO good! I loved it with chopped chocolate but everyone else said it was too dry.). I don’t have a problem with you branching out beyond cupcakes, why limit your imagination? Some of the flavor combinations you experiment with aren’t to my taste. Others are. It would be a boring world, though, if we all liked exactly the same things.

    Every now and then a post feels rushed, like you said to yourself “Eek, I need to post something! Quick, what can I come up with?” I didn’t care for the click through list, would rather have it all on one page. The actual content of the list I found amusing. Not every post has to be a new recipe.

    As long as the sponsored content doesn’t get too pushy I don’t mind it. It’s paying you a decent living wage to do something you love to do. We should all be so lucky. =D

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Thanks for understanding the need for ads. I really appreciate it. And, I know, isn’t rugelach amazing!! Interesting feedback about posts feeling rushed. I do feel like “Eek I better post something, sometimes”, but I try to take care with each post. I’ll be even more aware of not posting anything not post worthy in the future. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  55. Anne August 21, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    To a certain extent, I agree. I have been reading this site since… I don’t know, I think there was talk of groom #2 or something? I used to always click through on my RSS reader to the posts, because they were original, and something I wouldn’t see everywhere else.

    Advertising is ok.

    I don’t mind the baking other things, your blog, you decide what you want to make. However, the last recipe I clicked through to get to from Feedly was the Jammin’ Jaffa cupcakes. The other recipes between then and now read like they could be from anywhere, and frankly didn’t sound that interesting, so I didn’t click.

    Now, I think I click through on some of your lists – the 8 Back to school snacks post sounded interesting, as have a couple of other lists done. But the minute I realize that I have to keep clicking and clicking to get there, I am done. As a reader I want all the content in one post on one page. I don’t mind if there are more ads then, but the constant clicking is driving me mad.

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Anne – Sorry about driving you mad with clicking. I won’t do that too often. So much feedback about that on this post! Glad you liked the Jaffa cakes and thanks for sticking with me for so many years. I hope that I continue to have posts here and there that spark your interest. I’ll certainly try!

  56. Cathryn August 21, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    I’m a long-time reader (since 2007 or 2008) and have been inspired by your blog since the early years! I was the local cupcake maven at college and still come back here for recipes for special events. While I do agree with other commenters that there are still more experimental cupcake opportunities, I think that the shift away from “all cupcakes” to “experimental baking” has felt quite natural and has pretty much aligned with how my life has gone (now a working, married adult, I’m more likely to be trying out a new spent grains bread recipe or other type of baked good than cupcakes). It’s great to me that rather than fizzle and die like some of the other great cupcake blogs have done, you’ve managed to stay relevant and useful to what’s popular today!

    All this being said, I’m not the biggest fan of sponsored posts. A lot of bloggers I follow have gone to this method for making income and most don’t do it well; it always feels cheap and out-of-place and leaves me feeling used. I realize the old ways are dying and bloggers still have to earn a living, but there has to be a better way than writing a heartfelt post about Clorox Wipes or Nyquil on a sewing blog. Even while your sponsored posts have been more carefully-chosen and align more with what you’re doing on your blog, it’s unfortunate that the whole market of sponsored posts really plays into my opinion of them, and how I feel reading a post and realizing it’s a paid ad.

    I know it’s not nearly as easy as doing sponsored posts, but I’d love for you to do a cookbook! Even if it repeats a lot of recipes that are available on this blog, I’ve always liked having your baking tips and tricks on hand.

    • Lynn August 21, 2014 at 7:54 am #

      I have followed your blog for a few years. I have to say the your blog name first attracted my attention, but the fact that you have added other baking items has just added more interest for me. While I love cupcakes, I also love baking other things as well so it is a win-win! Although I am not a real fan of the sponsored ads, the fact that they are there does not stop me from reading and enjoying the articles. I totally understand the revenue factor and I am really happy to know that you take care to work with sponsors you love. I applaud you for your post…that reader is missing out on a great blog!! Her loss!!

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Carthryn! Thanks for sticking with me for so many years! You have no idea how much that means to me. I’m glad that you understand some of the changes. I know sponsored posts aren’t ideal. But it’s just a way to keep writing about the things I love while getting paid for it. I try really hard to keep them relevant – with my crazy creations, it’s not that hard. For example, making a dessert pickle recipe (like my sweet deep fried pickles) is exactly the type of crazy thing that I love to write about. So, when I was offered a sponsored post opportunity on the subject it just made sense. Yes, I push a particular brand, but other than that, it’s the same content. I can see how you could feel used, but I hope you can understand.

      As for a cookbook, I might do one someday. How do you feel about ebooks? I’ve been recently considering going that route.

  57. Yamile Barraza August 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi, I’m from Perú and I discovered your blog a cuople of years ago and I noted that you posts are less about cupcakes now, but that’s ok for me, because your new recipes are awesome too.
    On the other hand, I read your blog not only for the recipes but also for your funny way of writing and the good photographs.

    And about the sponsors I can only say that everybody needs to make a living and if that is with something that makes our lives happy, well, good for you and good for us, your readers.

    Continue with your sweet and wonderful job …:)

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks so much Yamile! I appreciate you reading, understanding, and taking the time to comment! I’ll pass on the photography comment to my husband! :)

  58. MB August 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    First off, no one can EVER make everyone happy! If readers don’t like the content, then by all means, stop following. I personally feel that if they don’t have enough etiquette to contact the blogger privately first, they don’t deserve the attention they really want anyhow. If readers have suggestions, great! Share them, comment and let the blogger know in a respectful manner!

    I enjoy the recipes and the advertising, although can be distracting, can easily be ignored. I come for the recipes and enjoy them. So keep it up, girl!

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Thanks, MB. For the record, Lisa did contact me privately. I just chose to answer her publicly. Glad you enjoy the blog and thanks for reading!

      • MB August 24, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

        Well, my apologies for the assumption. **blush** You know what they say about THAT! ;)

  59. Rachel August 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Steph- I love that you have branched out from cupcakes! I love your blog it has always been a blog that I like to emulate on my own blog…I don’t mind the ads in fact wouldn’t mind bending your ear about how you got started partnering with companies( I have had my blog about 2 years and I would like to do more with it). I guess the reason that I read this blog is that I like all the different content that you give…you make me feel like I am right there with you and you understand what we all as bakers go through. You give me great ideas. Keep doing what you are doing!

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Awww.. thanks so much Rachel. Shoot me an email with any questions. I’m happy to help if I can.

  60. Laura August 21, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    I have only been following you for a little bit but I enjoy your blog!! I have started a lil cupcake business and I like to compare all cupcake recipes before I bake them. I have really liked the ones I have used from your blog! I like that you are creating other delicious treats! The post that I thought was MOST HILARIOUS, and shared and told my friends about WAS The 10 things only cupcake bakers will understand!! It was kinda of a drag to click through it all but it was totally worth it!! I think it would be GREAT to do a BLOG but, even though I am a very creative women, the idea is a lil overwhelming.
    KEEP UP THE good work!! THANX

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Thanks Laura! I’m so glad that you liked my top 10 list and thought clicking through was worth it. I really appreciate that! Hope to see you around her again soon! And, best of luck with you cupcake biz!

  61. Eva August 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    I came for the cupcakes, and stayed for the rest of your content.

    Like it or not, if you want to live off of your blogging, you need sponsorship. As long as you clearly disclose your affiliations, no-one should be getting shirty about it.

    • Stef August 22, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Thanks Eva! I appreciate you reading and commenting!

  62. Giulia Anderson August 22, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    I’ve read your blog religiously for four years, now. The thing that grabbed me first was the crazy, savory cupcake ideas. And, you know, I still peruse the archive and find recipes I hadn’t noticed before. Artists don’t pursue only one focus for their entire career; bakers are no exception. I like the move toward variety, given that there is already a solid basis to rest the blog’s identity on. That said, I prefer the recipes that are completely off the wall with unprecedented flavor combination…taking an already successful recipe from another blog and adding a familiar flavor profile is too easy. I can do that, myself.

    Honestly, I skim over the sponsored content. I see it as examples of what I SHOULD use for optimal results. Given that I rarely even stock cocoa powder (I make due with melted chocolate) for financial reasons, that level of subtlety is lost on me. Having those spotlight ingredients doesn’t do the reader any harm, and I support doing what you gatta do to make ends meet.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Stef August 26, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      Thanks, Giulia. The off-the-way flavors are my favorites too (that and from-scratch store-bought ingredients). Did you see the zucchini pie that I just posted?

  63. Debra August 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    I enjoy YOUR blog and YOUR blog should be what you want it to be. best wishes, Deb

    • Stef August 26, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      Thanks so much Debra. It is my blog, but I want to make sure that all of you have a nice visit when you come. It’s just like having people over to my house. I want to make everyone as comfortable as possible and ensure that they have fun.

  64. Elizabeth August 25, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    Hello! :) Firstly, I think that it’s awesome and really nice of you to be asking for your readers’ feedback re your site and from what I’ve seen, been replying to every comment here :) I love reading your posts, but I do find the homepage a little difficult to navigate – having so many different sections gets a bit messy and confusing. I think it would also be easier to follow your blog if the number of recent posts displayed were more than 3, or if there was a read more button to see more of the recent posts as they could be easier to find. That being said, this is just my personal opinion, and this is your blog and you should customise it etc based on what you like and think no matter what others say, lest you lose your personal style which god forbid happens! Have a great day xx

    • Stef August 26, 2014 at 10:06 am #

      Hi Elizabeth – Thanks so much for your sweet comment and for the feedback. Have you ever looked at my archive page (http://www.cupcakeproject.com/blog), I’m wondering if you would like that page better than my homepage. I’ve also been thinking recently that my homepage is a bit cluttered. I won’t be changing it too soon, but it’s on my list.

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  66. Elin August 28, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    To be honest, I haven’t really noticed, but I like baking more than just cupcakes. (Actually cupcakes are one of my least favorite things to bake.) So I either didn’t notice the shift or, more likely, I didn’t mind it at all.

    As for sponsored content, I don’t really mind it. A lot of bloggers are doing it. Food bloggers have become an important voice and way of reaching those who enjoy spending time in the kitchen. It’s a smart marketing tool for the companies. (Former marketing assistant.) I understand why you do it. Sometimes I learn about a new company or brand that I’ve never heard of or used. So sometimes it is helpful. If I don’t want to click on that day’s link in my email, I can highlight it and delete it. No harm done. I choose what I want to read, from your blog and others. It’s ultimately my choice.

    The reason I read most any food blog is for new recipes and inspiration. I do get involved in some of my blogger’s lives, by paying closer attention to family posts and interacting with them more on social media, largely due to their location. (I live in western Pennsylvania, so if there are bloggers in my immediate area I might pay slightly more attention to them. Nothing personal, sometimes they just post more relevant information regarding restaurants of activities I have a better chance of going to.) But I enjoy your blog. You have some great recipes and I love your experiments in the kitchen. The science behind what makes baking work is one of the appeals it has for me.

    Well, I do enjoy the cupcakes. Even if I don’t make them all that frequently, I’m more of a one pan cake kind of girl, but I love seeing your new ideas. I love being inspired. Even if I never make one of your recipes, which I have, and those coffee buttermilk biscuits you posted a few months ago were freakin’ fabulous, I like to gather new ideas. I might have never thought of pairing two ingredients together and then a blogger, like yourself, will post something and I’ll think, “Why didn’t I ever think of that?”. So whatever it is that you’ve been doing, keep doing more of it.

    The only thing I can think of that you could change, or even update, is how to access past posts from the blog. When I go to your homepage there is no way to access posts from even two weeks ago. I see you can do it from the bottom of the page, but a little link saying “blog” or “see more here”, something like that, might not be a bad move. Just to make the site a little more user friendly.

    P.S. I love that you still have a blogroll. In the early days that was how I discovered a lot of new bloggers. I liked the sense of community and support the blogroll offered. I keep seeing them disappearing from other websites. :(

    But in the end, haters are gonna hate, so you have to keep doing your thing, you’re obviously really good at it, and just be happy at the end of the day with yourself and know you’ve done enough.

    See ya in my inbox!
    Elin

  67. Tiina August 30, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    I found your blog very recently. I was googling paleo fig newtons. Having looked at your blog I see gluten free isn’t your main focus, but I enjoy reading it very much. I also really understand needing to move in new creative directions. Creative souls can’t stay in one space. Shiny things pull us to new places. Its what keeps us alive. I hope you enjoy moving onto new ideas and you’ll find new people to keep you company along the way. Best of luck!

    Tiina

  68. Kimberly S September 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Honestly, I found your site not because of your baked items but because of a drink. (Homemade Irish Cream) Although I love your recipes for cupcakes and other baked goods, I really like your site because of your innovation. Keep up the good work.

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