Sunday, October 13, 2013

Classic Pumpkin Roll with Orange Cream Cheese Filling

It has been almost five years, since I began my humble little food blog. This coming Thanksgiving weekend will mark the official five year anniversary of "A Feast for the Eyes".  Being a food blogger can be a very time-consuming hobby/business. If you've read my "About me" page, I share who first inspired me, and why  I  wanted my own food blog, .  For the first year, I became obsessed with writing posts. I spent countless hours scouring cookbooks, watching Food Network and reading dozens of other food blogs-- on a daily basis.

Then the unspeakable happened to me, a few weeks ago. I found myself uninterested in my food blog. What???!!  Yes, folks, I lost my mojo.   I realized that I needed to devote what little free time I had to my marriage, and health, first. I began to feel as though I was a failure as a food blogger. I actually pondered quitting this blog. Yes, it's true.

Fortunately, my mojo is slowly coming back. I think that my June "Total Knee Replacement" threw me completely off.  For three months, standing for more than a few minutes was uncomfortable. Instead, I got hooked on Netflix TV series marathons, like "Breaking Bad" and "Scandal". The good news is, I'm back in the kitchen. I've regained my physical strength and most of my knee mobility again. There is no more pain, thank goodness.  All I need, now, is to find a better balance between my job, physical therapy, marriage and girlfriends that still allows me enough time to write blog posts.  Most likely, that means that my recipe posts will be fewer and farther in between. That means less blog income, and most likely, less sponsors for giveaways. But, we make our own choices and I think I've made the best decision for my family and health.

This pumpkin roll is something that I baked last year. The reason I waited a year to post this has two good reasons-- #1 - I was not happy with the finished photo.  This happens when it's Thanksgiving and there's family and friends around. I can't set up my photography lights, and find room to better set up a shot, when the counters are filled with dishes and leftovers. It doesn't help that I forgot to set my white balance, and the pumpkin roll photo was very yellow... it took a lot of photo editing to try and fix the shot. Not perfect, but it will do.  #2 - I completely forgot about this recipe, until I was organizing my hundreds of food photos, last week.

Back to my journey as a food blogger: I finally took the bold leap of upgrading my camera from a point-and-shoot to a fancier (and much more expensive) camera that had all kinds of dials and settings to learn. I have a mental list of my earlier photos that desperately need to be redone. Someday.  I found myself longing to be a better photographer, and buying food props, but I still felt that my own work never quite measured up to the Big Time Food Bloggers.

I've attended a few Food Blogger conventions, and taken classes in food styling, photo editing software, writing, social media-- and I've had the opportunity to meet celebrity chefs. It's been a lot of fun, but...  

... I've had to rethink what my goal is with this humble little blog of mine.  I realized that I was focusing too much time trying to build my audience, and would gauge my success by how many comments I had.  I began to feel guilty for not blogging several times a week, and that I would lose traffic because of it. I know food bloggers who make their living doing what is only a creative outlet for me. There's a lot of money to be made, as a food blogger, but it's a full-time job and a lot of hard work.

I think I've refocused my goal with my blog. At least, I hope so!  I want to cook and bake what appeals to me. I want to challenge myself to try techniques I've never done before. One of these days I'm going to bake macarons. Pinkie promise.  This pumpkin roll was the first time I've ever baked a cake and rolled it. (Where have I been?) Yes, like a jelly roll. Or a Roulade, if you want to sound fancier.  I couldn't believe how easy it was to make this cake! Until...

...I realized that I did not put enough powdered sugar on the towel, and the cake stuck and broke. However, frosting is like wall spackle. Frosting can hide a lot of flaws, and the evidence is delicious. In this case, I added orange zest and a little pure orange oil.  I love the combination of pumpkin and orange. Come to think of it, pumpkin and chocolate pair well. Pumpkin and ginger does well, too. Of course, I love pumpkin sweet or savory anyway.  Which is why it was easy for me to recommit to baking and cooking what I like. It's my blog, right?

So, here's how I repaired a cooled and broken pumpkin cake, by slathering it with orange cream cheese frosting. The baker's reward for slicing off the uneven edge is that it becomes your private tasting. I love this classic recipe.  So delicious, and this will become my annual Fall dessert. Love.

If you've managed to read all of my post, or just scrolled through the pictures, what I'm trying to say are two things. #1 - if you love pumpkin, and have never made this classic recipe, do it! It's one of the simplest cakes I've ever made, and it looks so pretty and festive. #2 - I don't plan to give up my food blog anytime soon.

Yes, I do make a modest amount of "pocket money" by having ads on my blog . I make a few dollars when people shop through my Amazon store.  I use this "allowance" to help offset the cost of ingredients, food props and to buy cooking and baking tools. I turn down a lot of offers to host a "giveaway" if I don't believe in the product, or I don't think it's a good match for my blog. Once in a while, I get lucky, and I have fun hosting a giveaway.  Still, these things don't pay my bills.  I can't quit my day job.  I'm not willing to give up paid vacations, holidays and my pension. 

I still want to work on improving my photography and I still plan to challenge myself to learn new cooking and baking techniques. I appreciate any comments that are left-- be it one or twenty. I've stopped feeling inadequate that I don't have 2000+ comments or have expensive prizes to giveaway. I need to get back to the heart of why I have this blog. It's not the traffic count, comments or monthly check.

This blog is for me-- to have fun with it. This blog is my creative outlet and as long as I am enjoying this, then it's this is the big payoff for me.  This blog is also for you-- I hope to inspire someone to try a recipe or technique that is new to them.

Those of you who have food blogs, I appreciate your support and love reading your recipes. Those of you who aren't food bloggers, but are thinking about it, do it!  Just have fun with it, okay?

I'm on vacation all of this coming week.  I hope to use my Staycation to get back into the kitchen, with my camera, and share some new recipes with you.  That is something I can get excited about!

I always post a printable recipe card at the end of each recipe post. If you cannot view it, you might be using an older version of InternetExplorer. You should be able to view my recipe cards with Safari, Mozilla, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.
If you still can't view the recipe card, all of my recipes are stored on Key Ingredient, by clicking here.

Happy Fall!

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Susan said...

Debbie, very nice post. I can totally see your post from all angles. I have never had a true food blog, but I have only been blogging for myself. When this gets to be more than a job, it is time to quit. I am thrilled when someone comments and most of those people I have been fortunate to have met in person. Do what you what is comfortable. I will always be reading you because the German in us connects us.

Renee said...

So nice to hear you're feeling better. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks delish. My blog started out as a food blog and turned into an art blog. :-) Just do what you can, I always enjoy whatever you write and make. This is one of the most beautiful food blogs out there and has wonderful recipes. Thank you again for your hard work.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Awwwwwww, Susan. Thank you! Yes, we do share our German DNA. I'm so glad we've connected via the internet.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Renee, thank you so much. It's readers like you who make me feel as though my blog is worth hanging onto. Thank you.

bellini said...

We should never o anything we don't have fun with Debby. I also enjoy getting comments and being part of a community but if I did not enjoy writing and the blogging experience I would not have lasted 6 years. Spend more time with your family and friends, your blog will always be there. Be kind to yourself first and enjoy!

Kate said...

Oh Debby, I have had the same "weight"! I have found myself posting less often....but, I also see that I enjoy it more without the pressure to post, post, post.

I think I am happy where I have landed....

I love your blog and your recipes. You were one of the first blogs that I discovered and have been an inspiration for the last four years! Do what you can and know that it will be appreciated.

Barbara Bakes said...

Love that you just patched the roll. Too often home cooks get frustrated and don't realize they can fix little mistakes like that. I'm glad your mojo is back.

Joanne said...

I think you're definitely making the right decision!! Family and health should always come first...above everything else.

So glad you decided to share this roll! I've yet to make a pumpkin roll EVER...yours looks lovely!

Lynn said...

Debby, I think you made a wise choice. I love the recipes you share and look forward to a new post from you. I had started a blog a few years ago and for the first couple years I posted often, then it seemed like I was spending more time with "online friends" than the actual people in my life so decided there was something 'off' about that and did decide to close out my blog. I never had a lot of followers so it wasn't a big decision for me. We need to have the freedom to do what works in our lives. I don't read as many blogs are I used to but always check your posts because any of the recipes I've made that I found here I have really enjoyed! This recipe looks yummy and I too really like pumpkin.

Karen said...

It's been a long while since I made a rolled cake and it's been on my mind recently. What better flavor for Fall than pumpkin!

sharonjo said...

I have been reading your blog for quite a while now (a few years?) and this might be the first time I have left a comment. After reading this post I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know that, even though I do not comment (and I'm sorry!), I love reading your posts and seeing what you're up to in your kitchen. I appreciate the quality of each and every post, and think that is more important than posting something (anything!) every day.

I'm very glad you've decided to stick with it and look forward to checking in to see what's cookin'. I would really miss this site!

bree said...

Hi Debby! I found your site through a key ingredient recipe, as I was searching for an actual person to give credit to for my most recent post. Stumbled upon this recipe, and was so encouraged by your honest words. Thank you for sharing!

Social Media Services said...

As the blog name says it definitely is a treat for the eyes..

That pumpkin dish is making my mouth water.. For how it looks, I can stay on this dish the whole day:-)

Tina said...


I just stumbled on your site for the first time today ---making Shrimp Scampi.....and can't seem to get off of it. Love reading what you have to say. You are doing a great job!
I love that you are doing it for you...that is what is important.
Enjoy....I will continue to check in.
I am going to make the pumpkin roll now too...I have made them in the past...but you inspired me to do it again. Thanks!


Ariane said...

I didn't make the pumpkin roll, but I made the orange cream cheese filling and it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe.