So have you ever wondered what it is with all this trend-driven food blogging?
The other day I came across an article with tips for successful food blogging, one of which was to watch Google Trends to see what recipes are trending so you can cook and share those and draw visitors to your blog like flies to honey. Or maple syrup. Whatever. Apparently everyone who's anyone in the food blog world is doing it.
I did a double take, gulped, and then wondered -- am I just way, way behind the times because I blog about the simple, everyday food I cook in my kitchen, hoping that readers will enjoy something that comes straight from the heart? In a world of a bazillion glamorous food blogs-- each beautifully designed, photographed, and SEO'd to the eyeballs -- am I the bumpkin who shows up to the party without makeup and in last season's shoes?
In a moment of confusion I turned to Desi, my resident sage. Do you think I should be watching Google Trends before I decide what to cook and post? I asked him. Like many food bloggers today (and gosh, how they have exploded since I started blogging in 2007!) should I be spending hours on Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter to make sure that my blog gets read by everyone I can possibly reach? Otherwise, in another year, will anyone actually be reading Holy Cow!?
Well, is that what you want? he asked me back.
I thought for a moment, but I already knew the answer. No.
Let me clarify first-- I don't mean to knock every blogger out there who's marketing their blog with savvy (although I will say that headlines stuffed with keywords hurt my eyes and make me want to look no further). I understand the importance of marketing and I do my share of it. I am lucky enough to have great pictures on my blog thanks to Desi and I made some changes to the blog recently, like adding the Easy Recipe plugin so you could print and share recipes more easily. And I have a Facebook page, a Pinterest page and a Twitter account that I share my latest recipes on. But by no means do I want to spend hours every day selling my blog when I'd rather be creating great food and memorable posts. When I started writing Holy Cow!, all I wanted was to invite those of you who love good food to my kitchen, engage in a conversation about cooking, life and the animals that make it better, and share the simple meals I cook up for my family and friends. Even today that's what I'd rather do with most of the time I spend nurturing this blog.
Still in the doldrums after my enlightening (if rather one-sided) conversation with Desi, I opened my mailbox and there was a reader email waiting for me. "Vaishali, I love you and your recipes and your website," Ingrid wrote. "You are an absolute treasure!"
Treasure? I don't think so, but it was the light bulb moment I had so badly needed. I thought of all those emails and messages you have sent me over the years telling me how much you appreciate the blog (I have saved them in a folder and I look at them once in a while when I am having a bleak blog moment. True story). I thought of all the times you've cooked one of my recipes and written to tell me you loved it -- it brings a smile to my face each time and helps me keep going. I thought of the blogs I love, and why I love them-- because they offer up a tasty slice of life alongside simple food. I realized then that my blog is already where I want it to be and the people I blog for -- you and me -- are already here. And if you aren't, you might wander in one day and decide you'd like to stay back for a chat and some good food.
And once I realized that I was relieved because, honestly, I've never been the trendy type. To me, life is all about doing your own thing and finding your own niche, not jumping into one created by someone else.
Here's to bumpkins without makeup! May our tribe increase.
Now for this delicious and healthy Vegan Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel. It is moist, delicious, perfectly sweet, and -- in a word-- superb.
So here it is, as a thank you for sitting through my rant. This recipe's not trending on any search engine, I'm pretty sure, but are bananas and cake and chocolate ever out of fashion?
Have a great weekend, all!
More vegan cake recipes
- Vegan Banana Cake
- Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Upside Down Cake
- Vegan Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
- Low-Fat Vegan Banana Bundt Cake
- Vegan Apple Cake, Whole Wheat
- Vegan Banana Chia Cake
Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel
For the streusel topping
- 1 ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cake batter
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour can use half regular whole wheat and half all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup applesauce
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup nondairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large bananas mashed
- Make the streusel by mixing well all of the streusel ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk together the sugar, oil and vanilla extract for a minute, either in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. If you don't have either, use a whisk but make sure you beat well for about 2 minutes.
- Add the nondairy milk, vinegar, mashed bananas and applesauce and beat for another minute until everything is well incorporated.
- Mix the flour with the baking soda and baking powder. Whisk.
- Add the flour to the banana-oil-applesauce mix in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything's well integrated and you don't have any streaks of dry flour.
- Oil and flour a cake pan. The one I used was a square pan that's 9 X 9 X 2 inches, but you can use a regular 8- or 9-inch cake pan if you'd rather.
- Pour half of the cake batter in the pan and with a spatula make sure it is spread in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the chocolate streusel topping on the batter.
- Pour in the remaining half of the batter and smooth over the chocolate streusel. Sprinkle the remaining streusel on top.
- Bake the cake in a preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan on a rack.
- Slice and eat.
Hello, Vaishali! Full disclosure: I'm a wreck in the kitchen and can barely make edible toast, let alone a baked good but this coffeecake turned out AMAZINGLY well! My partner and I are slowly transitioning our home from vegetarian to vegan and so I am new to Holy Cow, and loving it. To your point above about what to post...trendy is fine if you're in the mood, sure, but genuine and from the heart are always guaranteed winners.
Hi zol1ann, thanks for your lovely message, and so happy to learn you enjoyed the cake. Congrats on the vegan journey, and hope you find the blog useful.
This looks good, but making it is proving to be problematic. It seems like some of the instructions are missing. You said to mix the streusel ingredients, which I thought meant the toppings. However, there is no mention of when to use the bananas, baking soda, or baking powder in the recipe after.
Kevin, add the mashed bananas with the applesauce, and the baking soda and powder are whisked in with the flour before it's added. I've clarified in the recipe. Thanks for pointing out.
Can you suggest an alternative for apple sauce?
Hi Spad, you could replace with more banana-- use the same amount as the applesauce.
You are lovely, your website is awesome and what you write is straight from the heart. Just keep going. I love to read what you write.
Thanks for your kind words, Smita!
I'm a regular at your site. Even if nothing I just stop by to read your posts. I do incorporate your recipes subconsciously since I've read it without re-creating as is!! Even though not a vegan, love your posts!!
Wayy long time back I had written a note of thanks & never again...but I realized its so not right to not let you know that you have a solid follower in me & Thank You from bottom of my heart for being a great cook & sharing your experiences & stories with us.
Today i'm planning to make one of your Banana cakes as I have four overtly ripe bananas sitting on my counter 🙂
You rock Vaishali...keep blogging. You don't need the hoopla..its for newbies.Nupur & you are all time Favs!!
Hi Deepta, thanks for your lovely message and kind words! It is so good to hear from you, and to hear that you enjoy the posts, and I appreciate you letting me know. I am lucky to have some really great readers, and you all are the reasons I keep going-- and have, for seven years now. Hope you will try the banana cake-- I know I have quite a few here, because of how much we love banana-based foods in our home (especially Desi). 🙂
Nope---don't follow trends...just be yourself. Honor what you like, what speaks to you. As vegans, we will never be able to follow all the trends, like when bacon everything was so popular.Aging as well as yoga and mindfulness/meditation has taught me to accept who I am without (much) judgment and know what's right for me.
Your blog would be boring if it just went along with what is supposedly current....I like that you are unique! And I like the wide variety of stuff you embrace. Not to mention tried and true is true for a reason....
This recipe was fantastic! I knew it would be just reading the recipe and from the photo---but it exceeded expectations! I've never been a coffee cake person (store bought dried out flavorless sad affairs), but this was vibrant goodness as a breakfast with a soy latte at Starbucks. This was just magnificent. But now my husband is going to demand this all the time, so you may as well never post another quick bread recipe....;)
Thanks, Ellen, for your kind words. I am definitely not planning to change anything. I like being myself too much for that! 🙂 So happy you enjoyed the cake.
Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)
I'm another makeup free bumpkin! Lovely post and the recipe looks very trend-worthy. 😉
Thanks, Lily. 🙂 Love your makeup-free blog! 🙂
Your blog is refreshing, inspiring, and one of my favorites. Don't change anything!
Thanks for the kind words, Klara. I hopped on over to your space and it's lovely too. Thanks for your support. 🙂
Hello! I'm not sure how I stumbled upon your blog...I think I was looking up the word fritters and came across your corn fritter recipe. I loved the back story and can't wait to read more in your archives as well as try your recipes...I'm only learning to really cook now. Keep posting and keep it real! So glad I found your blog! 🙂
Hi Mugmommy, welcome to Holy Cow! and thanks for your kind words. I hope you will enjoy going through the blog, and yes, I promise to keep it real. Take care! 🙂
yes! bumpkin blogs unite!!! I'm with you, Vaishali... I just like blogging the goings-on in my kitchen, and connecting with readers. <3 I love your blog, and I also really like the looks of this cake!! It sounds amazing and I have already bookmarked it for my next cake-worthy occasion.
Hi Amey, here's to us! Your blog is always fun to read and it's so much more interesting to read the story behind the recipe, isn't it? I hope you will try the cake. 🙂
I hear you on just posting what you want! Do the things that bring you joy!
Thanks, Mary, and I will! 🙂
Reader Anusha sent me this picture in an email and asked if I could post it in the comments. Here's part of her email: Hi vaishali,
After reading your current blog entry, I wanted to sit and write to you about how great your blog is, about how much I enjoy reading your entries and blah blah .. 🙂 Then I realized that others are going to do the same as well and I wanted to try to reach out to you in a different way, something that will rev you up and keep you posting delicious recipes 🙂 ;))
This is for you to know what you are worth...
Embrace your uniqueness
Anusha, I couldn't post the image-- I tried, but if there is a way to do it I couldn't find it. So instead I am posting a url for the image. https://holycowvegan.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Anusha-pic.jpg
Thanks and hugs.
Pallavi Kulkarni Desai
Bumpkin, no make up, last seasons shoes ( and outfit in my case)... that is an apt description of me!
But yaay! for all of us ( identifying with the description above), may our tribe increase!
I have no idea about trends, I have no idea about marketing etc. I blog because I feel like.
Like my friend who says, "sadhi rahani, ucha vichaar sarni" (sounds so good in Marathi 😉 )
I love that cake, oh! those chocolate chips.....mmmmmm! This will make a great after school or a snack treat.
Manasi, Your friend hit it on the head -- and it sounds very good in Marathi indeed. 🙂
Trends are so tedious- give me an honest and timeless recipe any day. Keep on doing what you're doing, Vaishali. And thanks very much for the mention- hugs to ya.
Nupur, Agreed-- trends couldn't be more tedious. Hugs to you too!
There is no need for you to follow any trend, coz I feel you are a trend setter in yourself. And food coming from the heart and soul never loses its trendyness, is never out of fashion, will always remain original, coz it has the love factor, and love can never ever go untrendy and unnoticed.
Dear Nisha, thanks for your message and motivating words. You're so right-- food from the heart is always trendy. Hugs to you. 🙂
janet @ the taste space
Your post scared me a bit. I don't research food trends. I share what I eat. What I like. What is in my kitchen right now. Which is probably why I like your blog so much, too. 🙂
Thanks for your kind words, Janet, and -- although I had a moment of confusion -- I believe that a blog nurtured with love is far more likely to stay around and build a loyal readership than a blog that flies with the trends. Sorry if I scared you, but there really is no need to be afraid. Your blog is awesome. Keep doing what you do.
I am going to try this looks good:). My friend owns a small chocolate busyness and her specialty is making only vegan chocolates. I saw your vegan menu and thought of her:)
Thanks, Gayane, hope you try it! Your friend's business sounds like fun. I'd love nothing more than to make chocolates all day. 🙂
Here’s to bumpkins without makeup! May our tribe increase. ---> and increase they will. Because nothing beats true beauty and THAT is always beauty without make up, the beauty we go to bed with! The beauty with which we meet, smile and spend time with true friends. The ones you can meet straight out of bed! So, your blog is right where it should be. Keep going girl, we love your recipes and MANY ( whether they write in here or not) have tried your recipes and enjoyed.
Manu ( sorry, I comment rather sporadically, but follow quite religiously :))
Thanks for your kind words, Manu. You are awesome, and I appreciate your support! 🙂
Let me tell you that I am a frequent visitor to your blog. Leave comments once in a while (which is not at par with my visits:)) to thank and keep you informed of recipes tried from your kitchen.
Your blog has helped me in many ways...one is to try new recipes that comes from your kitchen.Second, the description that goes in to building a new recipe to tackling few issues that life challenges at times...it is uplifting
Please don't change the way you share on your blog. It is PERFECT!
Thanks for sharing.
A big Hug!
Hi Sheela, a hug right back to you. And I am so thrilled you have found my write-ups uplifting -- I can't ask for more. 🙂 And no, I have no plans of changing the blog, so rest assured.
bumpkin?no makeup? who cares- the reason I check holy cow for updates so religiously is to feel the warmth of someone that is sharing food on the other side of the country. I love your blog and a very thankful for the time you put into it. Waiting for bananas to get ripe so that I can make this.
Thanks, Ambica, you're the best and I always know I can count on your support. Hope you will try the cake! 🙂
I love this recipe and i havnt ever baked before. I need to buy an oven and i need guidance on what to buy. Also your instruction no. 9. "Cook in the pan on a rack." Exactly what does that mean? Pardon my ignorance. I would love to hear from you. Thanks a lot. Thank you for this beautiful recipe.
Hi Helen, where are you located? Ovens in different countries vary quite a bit, and I don't know much about the ovens sold outside the United States. The only ovens I've ever used here are the standard ones that come along with the gas or electric range.
The rack in the recipe refers to the regular wire rack that you cool cookies and cakes on. You just need something that will allow the air to circulate under the pan. I sometimes improvise with one of the gas grates if I don't have a free rack. Does that help?
Looks delicious and I can't wait to try this cake.
I think the above poster was confused because you wrote "cook" in the pan on a rack vs. "cool".
Julie, thanks for clarifying-- I guess I should have read what I (mis)wrote before I replied to the other poster. Duh. 🙂
Hope you will try the cake!
This sure look delicious - can I use on of your photos in my blog and refer to you? I am doing this chocolate recipes revision and I think this should be in there
HI Ines, sure, if you link back to the recipe and don't repost it in full. Thanks for asking! 🙂