“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I happened upon Darla’s Blog, Bakingdom, in November 2013. I was searching for recipes to celebrate the Doctor Who special – The Day of the Doctor, and clicked on a photo titled Timey Wimey Jello in a Jar. With one click I was transported to food blog nirvana. A few more clicks and I found recipes for fish fingers and custard and the most fabulous doctor who mini cakes I’ve ever seen. But her geekry didn’t stop with the doctor. There are recipes and crafts up the wazoo for the love of Harry Potter, but it wasnt until I saw the Mudders Milk Chocolate Cupcakes that I knew I found my geeky baking soul sister.
The more I get to know her, the more fabulous she becomes. She’s sweet and creative, reads incessantly, and loves Once Upon a Time almost as much as do. But don’t take my word for it, read on and get to know the girl behind the blog:
Tell us about Bakingdom, How long have you been blogging, and what made you start?
I started blogging in January of 2010, so I’ve been at it for just over six years now. I started Bakingdom at the urging of friends. They were often requesting recipes or asking for help with a cooking or baking technique, and several of them asked me if I’d ever consider starting a blog. I didn’t really read any blogs at that time, except for Cake Wrecks, so I sort of just took the plunge and got the ball rolling. I really wanted to create a blog that people could go to for ideas and recipes, of course, but especially for a visual how-to on techniques that they might otherwise find intimidating
Is blogging your full-time gig or do you have to work it into your schedule?
I’m a full-time blogger. I’ve blogged full-time since the beginning, mostly because of the nature of my husband’s job as a U.S. Coast Guardsman. We have moved four times in the six years since I started Bakingdom, with move number five only a few weeks away. As an artistic person, I often find myself antsy and anxious over the need to create. Being a full-time blogger provides me with the creative outlet I need until he retires and I can open my dream bakery. For me, blogging isn’t just about the food or the geekery, but it’s the whole package – I love the process from the first inkling of an idea to the creation of it, through the styling and photography, and onto the editing and writing.
Of all the posts you’ve done since you’ve started, what’s your favorite? And Why?
This is probably the hardest question you’ve asked! I have over 500 posts published to Bakingdom, and almost every last one has a recipe or idea. I would say that my very favorite posts are my geekiest ones. They are the ones that speak to many parts of my heart: geekery, artistry, my sweet tooth. I’m not sure I could pick just one of them either. It isn’t fancy, but my butterbeer recipe has always ranked very, very high for me. It is, by far, the most popular post on my entire blog, and since Harry Potter is my ultimate fandom, that makes my heart sing! Plus, it’s delicious! 😉 I’m also very fond of my Star Trek cookies , my Doctor Who Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Jello, and my Donald Duck Tsum Tsum Cupcakes. I remember that when I made all of these, I was just creating something I was passionate about and having fun with it, but they caught people’s attention, and it’s a magical moment when those two things coincide. Outside of my geeky posts, my favorites are my cakes. Cakes are my love language, and exploring my ideas and new techniques are a joy to me. Okay, I know this is getting long, but I’m going to pick a favorite recipe based on flavor, because a beautiful or whimsical dessert is great, but it only truly shines if it tastes great, too. I agonized and hemmed and hawed and sorted and pondered, and I think that I’ve settled on my personal favorite recipe from my blog. I want to say they’re all delicious! Of Course! And I obviously think they are. 😉 If I could have anything off of my blog at this moment, though, it would be my Espresso Mousse Brownies. I’m always a brownie girl at heart, and these are the ones I make the most often. I can’t resist them!
Do you read other blogs? What are some of your favorites?
I do read other blogs, and I read so many, I don’t know how I can possibly pick favorites! There are so many incredibly talented and funny people in the world. I absolutely adore Sprinkle Bakes. Heather and I are dessert soul sisters, it can’t be denied. I also love Sweetapolita. I never miss one of my bestie’s posts over on Sugar Bean Bakers, and I always visit Country Cleaver, Chocolate and Carrots, Bake at 350, Just Jenn Recipes, and there’s this new one you might have heard of, Fan Girls Cook…GAH! So many more, but I gotta stop!! Outside of food and baking blogs, I adore Epbot and Cake Wrecks, The Bloggess, Brittany Herself, Kristina Horner, The Recaptains, and a bajillion nerdy, geeky, and Disney blogs!
You’re currently in Europe, soon to be traveling back home to the states. While you’ve been overseas, where was your most memorable trip?
I would say our most memorable trip while living in Europe was our first trip to England. It was my absolute dream to go to England someday, and it didn’t disappoint. My happy little Anglophile heart just wanted to burst when our ferry from Calais came into viewing distance of the White Cliffs of Dover. We chose to go in December so that we could see Hogwarts in snow at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Leavesden, and being in England at Christmas was utterly magical. We toured Oxford for two days before heading into London for a full week. We did all the touristy things one does in London, with each day having some sort of special Harry Potter moment for me. We saw filming locations, walked landmarks seen in the films, visited areas dressed up as wizarding locales, and spent a long, wonderful day at the Studio Tour. It was all things Potter, Austen, royal, and magic. I adored every second. A close second place for best trip would be Scotland, where we explored Edinburgh and spent days surrounded by the majesty of the Scottish Highlands.
You leave pretty insightful book reviews on GoodReads, what are you reading now? What’s your favorite book? It might be hard to pick one, so top 5
I am really an avid reader, and tend to read multiple books at once, but right now I’m only reading Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew. I’m a massive Kate fan, having fallen head over heels for her as Captain Janeway. I’m not even halfway through yet, but so far it’s the best memoir I’ve ever read. If I had to pick a favorite book, the top of the list is the Harry Potter series, but that’s no surprise. 😉 Other than Potter, Anne of Green Gables. She is my kindred spirit. I also love the Green Rider series by Kristen Britain, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and all things Austen and Bronte.
Team Iron Man or Team Cap?
Team Cap. I haven’t seen the film yet, because our car has already shipped back to the States, so we can only make very local trips right now, but I have read the comics, and I know how things go down. I don’t think Iron Man is necessarily a villain – I think his heart is in the right place – but I feel strongly that he’s on the wrong side. Plus, we’re really Cap fans in this house.
Have you always had a nerdy side, or is it something that developed over time? Is your husband equally nerdy?
I do think that I have always had a nerdy side, but I don’t think I’ve always realized it. That sounds odd, but growing up, I lived in a very rural part of Indiana with exactly zero friends who were interested in the geeky things I loved. I didn’t have exposure to cons or cosplay, but my dad was a great influence on my enjoyment of things like Star Trek, old musicals, and vintage music. I didn’t hide my nerdy side, but having no one outside of home to share it with, it wasn’t something that I learned was quirky, and to nurture until I was much older. I finally began to meet people who enjoyed the same things, and realized how wonderful it was to be able to discuss and share them! My husband is also nerdy, although I would argue that his is a less pop culture nerdiness (though that’s changing these days). Where I love fandoms and geekery, he loves more scientific and studious activities. He collects antique typewriters, subscribes to historical, archaeological, and technology magazines, and enjoys reading non-fiction and history books more than any others. That said, he loves comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, Cthulhu, tabletop gaming, and video games. He has come to love much more through my fanaticism, and we now share a great love of Firefly and visiting Disney, among other things. 🙂
Which Doctor would you be a companion to?
Ten. What more is there to say? Nothing
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek. I love Star Wars, and I’m a huge fan, but Star Trek holds a special place in my heart, thanks to growing up watching it with my dad. My dad passed a lot of his nerdiness on to me before he died, but nothing so much as my adoration of all things Star Trek.
And lastly, my favorite question, You’re hosting a dinner party, and you can invite any 6 guests, living, dead, fictional, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
My husband, first and foremost. Sure, I get to eat dinner with him every night, but I’d never pass up a chance to share this incredible occasion with him. And my dad. I would love for him to meet my husband, and I would love to have the opportunity to know him as an adult (he passed when I was 17 years old). My remaining guests would be Bing Crosby, Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager (or Kate Mulgrew herself – they would both be amazing to meet), Donald Duck, and JK Rowling, since I can’t bring myself to pick just one Potter character…she’s all of them! We would dine on Serenity (and the crew just happens to be there…hey, I didn’t invite them, so it’s not cheating 😉 ). I would serve butter chicken curry with fresh, homemade naan, and chocolate malt sheet cake with malted milk chocolate ice cream for dessert. Plus, my husband’s homemade hot cocoa
Now, upon reading her answer for the last question, I joked saying that I was a little hurt that I wasnt invited to this dinner party but she explained the loop-hole, I am technically the 7th guest and there from a journalistic stand point. Sweet, as long as I get cake, I’ll take that invite. She also mentioned that a naan post is in the future, which is great because I LOVE naan bread. Once she’s moved and settled, we can look forward to that and many other great posts over at Bakingdom.