If you love both baking and florals, the first cookbook by the founder of Constellation Inspiration, Blooms and Baking, is definitely a new release that you want to have on your kitchen bookshelf. Amy creates delicious flavor profiles by mixing some of her favorite florals (culinary grade of course!) into recipes like her Chocolate Bundt Cake with Orange Blossom Ganache and Chamomile Mango Cream Puffs. She even has a recipe perfect for spring featuring lilacs!
In this interview she shares about how she first discovered her love of baking, turning her already successful blog into a cookbook, and the first recipe she ever created using floral flavors. Continue reading to find out more!
When did you first discover your love of baking?
I discovered my love of baking when I was in graduate school completing my Master’s in Psychology. I would take ‘baking breaks’ in between all the research and thesis writing. It sort of became my creative outlet in a way!
Before writing your cookbook, you started a blog, Constellation Inspiration, while you were in graduate school. What do you enjoy the most about sharing your love of baking via your blog?
I love having a blog because I get to share not only the recipe itself, but also the photos and story behind the recipe. I enjoy doing the photography as much as (or sometimes even more than) the baking itself.
When did you first decide to write a cookbook and how long did it take to put all of the recipes together?
I started on the book almost two years ago (it will be two years this summer). My editor reached out to me through email initially and said she thinks right now would be a great time to turn my blog into something larger — a book! I spent the first 2 – 3 months finalizing the concept of the book and organizing the structure of what the table of contents would look like. Initially, we were going to make a book with chapter headings reflective of the seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall, and winter) but as the recipe development progressed, we decided to restructure the book into chapters based on the type of baked goods (cakes, cookies, choux, etc).
What I love about both your blog and the upcoming cookbook which released on April 28th, is that you combine different aromatics to create the most delicious flavor profiles. When did you first start experimenting with adding different aromatics (like chamomile, lavender, rose etc) to your baking?
I love adding floral elements to everyday baking because it brings this elegance to any dessert or baked good. It is also a nice one way to introduce seasonal flavours to baked goods (ex. Lilacs in the spring, elderflower in the summer, etc.) I started playing around with adding floral flavours when I started the blog. The first recipe on the blog was a rosewater cake.
What is your favorite aromatic to add to recipes when you’re baking something just for fun?
My favourite floral flavour to add to cakes and cookies would probably be jasmine! I get my jasmine from my favourite tea shop. You always want to make sure you’re buying culinary-grade flowers for baking and not dried flowers used for potpourri or décor!
What are some of the most important things to remember for those who are just starting to learn to bake?
This may sound generic or predictable, but don’t be discouraged if your baked goods don’t turn out perfect. The more you bake, the better you will be able to understand why your baked goods didn’t turn out or what you can do next time to make it even better. Because I only share the successful bakes on my blog and Instagram, people tend to think everything I bake turns out well. The reality is that for every cake photo I post, there were many not-so-good cakes that I don’t show! Many batches of cookies have ended up in the trash 😉
Two of the recipes that I’m looking forward to trying the most are the Chocolate Bundt Cake with Orange Blossom Ganache and the Peach Galette with Lavender Whipped Cream. Out of all the recipes in the book, do you have a personal favorite?
Ohhhh this is hard! I think the choux chapter is my favourite one and if I had to choose a favourite recipe, it would be the chamomile mango cream puffs. The mango curd makes it so good!
What was the best part about being able to combine your love of baking and blooms together in a cookbook?
The best part about creating this book is being able to tell a full story and show my love of the same floral element in many different ways. For example, you can find chamomile flowers in a layered cake with peaches and you can also find it in the chamomile mango cream puffs. You will find rose in several different recipes as well as more seasonal blooms like lilacs. I love being able to show to the versality of floral elements and remind people that if you use the right amounts, floral elements can really enhance a baked good and not make it taste like a bar of soap! The book also goes over how you can preserve these floral flavours (by candying the petals or by turning the flowers into a floral syrup) to enjoy them all year round, beyond their bloom time.
Do you work with a photographer for both your blog, Constellation Inspiration and your cookbook, Blooms and Baking?
I shot every photo myself! All the images on the blog and the book are by me, the self-timer, and my tripod! It’s funny because my boyfriend is a photographer and he always offers to help but I just love doing the photography so much that I couldn’t give that part up.
You’ve been featured in publications such as Buzzfeed, Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living, what was it like seeing your work in such well-known publications for the first time?
It always feels surreal! My first biggest feature was on Buzzfeed when they listed my Instagram account as one of the must-follow accounts for that year. After that, I did a few baking projects for their social channels and it was a lot of fun. Writers and publications are always so kind about sharing my baking and my story and I’m forever grateful.
Pick up your copy of Blooms & Baking here.
All pictures in this post via Amy Ho.