Monday, April 13, 2009

Mixed Metaphors: Almond Cake

I know I'm not alone when I say, "I've got too much going on right now." For those of you waiting for the Earth to spin off its axis and fly into outer space, this is all expected. But for some of us, we just don't have time for an apocalypse right now.

But just in case it is coming, I made this dessert today:

The cake is an almond cake which I'm making for a wedding this weekend...more on that later. I topped it with some hibiscus sorbet because I think its pretty. And decorated the plate with out beautiful apple blossoms that are blossoming like...some other metaphor!

But really this picture is about FoodGawker and TasteSpotting. These two sites have become critical launching pads for food blogger success. And as their success has grown, their selectiveness has increased. For those of you not familiar with the two sites, bloggers (like yours truly) post pics from their blogs. Then we wait for a day or two to see if we are worthy of inclusion (content be damned). And finally if we are accepted, the picture is posted and hundreds of people read your blog. Wow.

I've had more pictures denied than approved and that has led to the changes in my pictures. I DO care about the quality of my pics, but I'm more concerned with the content and recipes. And truth be told, I'm not sure when I stopped blogging for me, and transitioned to blogging for Jumanggy and Tri2Cook, and ultimately to the world. I've had posts that get as few as 50 reads which I've assumed are random blogger hits; and I've had posts that have received over 2000 hits. Sure I like it when I get 2000 hits but it doesn't change how or why I post.

But I digress.

My concern over FoodGawker and TasteSpotting is that they are homogenizing food blog photos. I used to hit those sites almost daily, but now all of the photos look the same. Can any pic that is well framed, well focuses and well lit, be accepted...apparently not. I am confident that the pic above won't be accepted. I think it fits exactly what they are looking for, but it has none of me in it. I snapped shot after shot, moving my lights, adjusting my angles, and really didn't give a crap. All I know is that I wanted to eat my dessert.

Is this my proclamation of independence? No. I'll keep wasting my time trying to get pics published at sites that I think are harming the blogging world. The upside is that most desserts are better after they've sat out a the half hour it takes to snap all of the pics.



Manggy said...

Hi Rob, thanks for talking about this. The thing is, after a while some bloggers will surface as the upper echelon of food photographers, which means that a hundred percent of the time, their photos will be posted to those sites, and eventually they will appear to be aggregators of posts for those bloggers, plus a few extra thrown in. Factor in the fact that there are probably only 1-3 people on both sites determining what gets through and what doesn't, so the taste becomes even more homogenized.

There is also a problem with the fact that the majority of people who take a keen interest in searching food blogs for recipes will go for perfect versions of familiar things (... Cook's Illustrated)-- and that's based on what are the most popular hits on my site. Gingerbread cookies are in, but a entremet of creme brulee, brownie, chocolate-orange mousse and mirroir glaze is ho-hum. The operators of sites that feature food blog content know this.

At least you can't say that I'm bored/not amazed and astounded by the things that you come up with, even if they appear to be well-kept secrets :) I mean, that picture up top looks good to me, and you're the type to tell us explicitly if a dessert was the worst thing you've ever made.

Gfron1 said...

I woke up and the pic had been published on FoodGawker - ha! I'm laughing because I don't think its a good pic - sorta washed. Oh well, as the saying goes, "They love me, they really love me." Blaagghhhk!

And Manggy, if you want my honesty as far as "worst ever," wait til my next post ;) I think I ate my worst meal ever.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering where the recipe is for the almond cake...

Calum C said...

Looks great. Funnily enough, a little while ago i was trying to work on a dessert based on almond, rose and banana. I imagine the almond and rose would work in a similar way to the hibiscus. I found the combination using a trick recommended by Martin Lersch of, searching within the site Good Scents Company in google for matching aroma references, maybe you already use it. Either way, gives you an idea of what i'm getting at.

mags said...

I actually arrived here by Googling "denied by Foodgawker." I really enjoyed your post and appreciate the time and effort you've put forth not only in making and photographing your recipes, but in explaining your angst and resolution regarding their acceptance. I get so bummed when mine are declined.

racheld said...

Beautiful beyond . . .

I cannot imagine that as less than the perfect combination and perfectly lovely. After all that primping and posing, do you sometimes end up eating cake with SAUCE rather than sorbet?

Gfron1 said...

I'm working on responding to comments...

Yes! I do eat sauce instead of sorbet sometimes and I like that. Save the primped foods for the pics and gimme the grub!

The almond cake recipe:
454 g Whole egg
340 g Almond flour
340 g Confectioners sugar
99 g AP Flour
85 g Softened butter
312 g Egg White
37 g Sugar

Oven to 400 (less if you're at altitude).
With paddle attachment, beat the whole eggs, almond flour and confectioners sugar for 10 min on med-high. Then at low, mix in flour and butter. In separate bowl beat whites and sugar to soft peak. Fold whites into almond mixture. If you're making a cake, pour it into a lined pan. If you're using it as a biscuit, then spread onto your silpat or baking sheet. Done in about 15 minutes for biscuit and 30 minutes for cake.