By Austin Raymond

I am obsessed with food blogs. There, I said it. I just did Step #1, recognizing that I have a problem--and dear sweet Martha Stewart, is it a big one. This isn’t an “oh I read these two blogs religiously every week” kind of fixation—no no, we’re talking countless hours spent raptly poring over all the blogs I love, then all the blogs the blogs I love love, then all the recipes that all the readers of all these blogs combined love, and then searching the internet for bloggers that the food magazines I love love. When it comes to pursuing side hobbies with gusto, I don’t mess around, folks.

Some days, just thinking of all the constructive things I could be doing with the time I devote to food blog-ogling—looking for housing, working on a six-pack, socializing with other humans, actually cooking food—makes me die a bit inside. But hey now, there’s a bright light at the end of my tunnel! Thanks to countless hours of gazing longingly at pictures of pumpkin bars hard work and dedication, I have now become a veritable expert on the food blogosphere, and can shower my wisdom down upon you like an avalanche of *funfetti sprinkles*!

*They’re funfetti because (nugget of wisdom #1), basically all anyone ever posts about in the food blog world anymore is funfetti cake—that and rainbow layer cakes with little flag banners on them, and pull-apart breads, and cinnamon rolls, and any baked good in bar form.*

Now don’t worry, I’m 41.6% certain that you won’t end up like me, hopelessly in love with a virtual world where the Swiss meringue buttercream is perfectly swirled and the cakes are all immaculately ombréd—you’re the strong one in this relationship, after all. I am pretty darn sure about one thing, though: if you choose to take a ride on the Freaking Fantastic Food Blog Express, the oodles and noodles and spiced apple strudels of mouthwatering goodies you’ll see along the way will have you 1) stampeding to the kitchen like a whisk-wielding wildebeest, or 2) glued to your chair in a state of full-on epicurean rapture. Either way, happiness is guaranteed.

Shall we begin our little foray into foodie fanaticism together? You can’t see it, but I’m jumping up and down like a 9 year-old Pokemon-er with a Charizard 1st Edition over here—the seven food blogs I’m about share with you are that close to my nerdy, cake-loving heart.  So let’s cut the chit-chat and get to the main event: my absolute favorite food sites in the whole blogosphere!!  

Surgeon General’s Warning: the blogs listed below may induce over-stimulation of the salivary glands, jaw soreness from excessive gaping, and impossibly lofty new standards for just about every food in existence.

The Big Three (aka the blogs I’ve loved since the dawn of foodie time)

Smitten Kitchen—this site was what started it all for me—not just my fixation with food blogs, but my love of food in general. Deb Perelman drew my awkward, gastronomically curious teenage self into her kitchen with a conspiratorial smile, sharp wit, and unending supply of approachable, mouth-watering recipes. I followed her culinary exploits with the faithfulness of a golden retriever for many a year, and learned an incredible amount about all manner of food things along the way. Deb has shown me how to make hummus so light and creamy it makes angels cry, and how to put the crumb (with a golden, buttery capital C) back in crumb cake and the skyscraper tall-ness in New York-style cheesecake. More importantly, she was the first blogger who taught me how to be a culinary renegade--to not be afraid of combining seemingly incongruous flavors, textures, and ethnic disciplines and making them taste mindblowingly awesome. Sure, Deb’s recipes aren’t quite as flashy as the double-decker, forty-step wonder-foods a lot of young bloggers are whipping up these days, but she still has held the record for being consistently, impeccably, and unfussily fabulous at food-making longer than anyone else.

Joy the Baker—I love love love Joy Wilson. Most days, I dream about her and I being BFFs—in my head, we chat for hours over lattes, hit up funky thrift shops, and toodle around the world on mint-green bicycles. Every time I visit her blog, I feel like I’m catching up with a dear friend—a friend who has impeccable taste in just about everything and cooks like nobody’s business. Her writing is that warm and inviting. And don’t even get me started on her scrumptious, classic-with-a-twist takes on all the crowd favorites. Lasagna grilled cheese? Mashed potato, cheddar, and chive waffles? Browned butter and toasted coconut chocolate chip cookies? Food that delicious-sounding really just isn’t fair. I think we should all go revel in the unfairness of it all and make something from Joy’s site right now, don’t you?

Raspberri Cupcakes—not gonna lie, Raspberri Cupcake’s author can be a little bit snarky sometimes, but MY OH MY can she bake a masterful layer cake. Every single one of her posts makes my jaw hit the floor: we’re talking colossal cakes dripping with salted caramel, studded with gummy bears, festooned in sprinkles, and filled with every yummy mousse and cream imaginable. Each treat featured on this blog is a Fieri-freaking masterpiece. That is all, folks.

The Sugar Smorgasbords

Sally’s Baking Addiction—this blog is sugar, sugar, and more sugar. With sprinkles and frosting and caramel sauce on top. It’s where I go when I just want to zone out and drool over gorgeous close-ups of all the things that doctors say are no-nos. And then pretend I am eating all of those no-nos instead of kale salad and Greek yogurt. Sigh, if only one could subsist on pictures of fluffy cupcakes alone…

Sweetapolita—just…WHOA. I know I said that Raspberri Cupcake’s concoctions were masterpieces, but these qualify as feats of architectural genius. Like the Pyramids or the Sistine Chapel or something. I mean, just listen to this description of Rosie’s Six-Layer Neapolitan Macaron Delight Cake: six layers of chocolate layer cake filled with dark chocolate ganache, strawberry and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercreams, and whole Neapolitan macarons, then frosted with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and topped with a pink glaze, Neapolitan macarons and pink sugar beads. Yes, that is an actual cake out there in the universe, taunting us with its perfection. At this point, I am pretty sure that I will never be able to work through an entire Sweetapolita recipe and remain sane. That said, I have a 12-layer cake-ful of respect for this amazing woman’s commitment to transforming butter, sugar, and flour into the most masochistically beautifully intricate confections imaginable. Also, I want her to adopt me.

 

The Ministry of Health Food Magic

The Minimalist Baker—deep down, buried beneath my penchant for leafy greens and roasted beets, there’s a little part of me (okay okay, a medium-large part of me) that longs for all things butter-laden, sugar-laced, and smothered with cheese. The health food wizards at The Minimalist Baker get this; they telepathically pick up on my long-repressed cravings, and immediately rally a team of House Elves to conjure up tasty, healthful equivalents. Refined sugar-free cinnamon rolls? Vegan mac & cheese? Gluten-free cupcakes? Accio! Accio! Accio! Oh thank you, thank you, dear Minimalist Baker: because of you, the world is now a more magically delicious and nutritious place for us self-denying Muggles.

 

The Hipster Food Heaven

My Name is Yeh—I just want to live in this blog. I want to be a girl who goes to Julliard, falls in love, then moves to the Midwest to live on an adorable farm and cook delicious Jewish-American-Asian-fusion food 24/7. I want to be a girl who regularly pays homage to her deep cultural roots at the stove, and has the magical ability to shower as little as she wants and still look adorable. Alas, life swaps are impossible given current technology, and I will have to content myself with living vicariously through Molly Yeh’s beautiful photographs and earnest narrations. C’est la vie!