The Five Best Female Bakers in NYC

I am not including myself in a list of the five best female bakers in NYC. I might rank about 129,697th in NYC. Ha! When it comes to baking, it has never been a true passion of mine. I’d rather cook – which can be much more forgiving & easy to experiment with – than bake, which can be a true science. Sure, I’ll get on my kicks on baked donuts every so often, and I’ll get heavy into apple pies and crips in the autumn; given the choice, I’d rather pull out my debit card and buy my goodies, let someone else do the work. πŸ˜…

Throughout this pandemic, I feel I have become more acquainted with many of the bakeries in my area and online; I’ve been awestruck at the virtual bakeries that have popped up, to be honest. So many folks are baking and shipping out of their own apartments; in NYC, that might mean they’re working out of a half-sized oven in a galley kitchen in a 200 square foot studio. *phew*

With the exception of Hadley Go Lucky – I first met Hadley many years ago at a Yelp Elite Event! Throwback! πŸ˜‚ – I have gotten to know these other brands better during the course of the pandemic, ordering from them directly or buying their baked goods at local stores. To see so many women thrive just makes me want to celebrate…with all of their cakes, cookies, and breads! Now THAT is where I want to put my money down!

Please click the links for each baker to see menu items and availability; some of their baked goods are sold in stores, while others strictly run virtual bakeries. No matter where you get their goodies from, you’ll be impressed and ready to buy more, I guarantee it!

The Five Best Female Bakers in NYC

Allie’s Banana Bread

  • Known For: Perfect Banana Bread (but of course!)
  • Go For The: Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Bakd Bakery – by Kerianne

  • Known For: Indulgent Overstuffed Cookies
  • Go For The: Curious Jorge or The Sandlot

Blondery by Auzerais Bellamy

  • Known For: Indulgent blondies & cakes (and their delicious trim!)
  • Go For The: Birthday Cake Blondies & Cinnamon Sugar Blondies

Donut Diva – by Montana D’Alessio Barbieri

  • Known For: Inventive desserts at Comfortland
  • Go For The: Her famous Rainbow Crumb Cake

Hadley Go Lucky

  • Known For: Whimsical and Asian-inspired treats
  • Go For The: Melon Pan & Grape Juice Box Cheesecake

Ruby Chocolate-Glazed Baked Donuts

Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day. A day full of commercialized romance. Nuts to love, just give me the SWEETS.

I’m sure this Valentine’s Day will be different for many as we continue to trudge through this pandemic. Many will stay home with the ones they love – their partner, their kids, their pets, or THEMSELVES! – instead of going out. (Then there will be the people that go out anyways, but…let’s not open THAT can of worms here…)

Though I am more of a salty gal than a sweet gal – I take after my mother compared to my father in that regard – I do love the occasional sweets, and I was really turned onto ruby chocolate a few years ago when I ate it in a Valentine’s Day-inspired cookie from Chip City. The unique fruitiness and distinctive tang – not to mention its rosy hue – drew me in, and I enjoy it enough to buy it on its own to snack on: Chocolove produces my FAVORITE Ruby Chocolate bar, and it’s easy to find at most grocery or corner stores in NYC!

When it comes to experimenting with ruby chocolate, I’ve seen others do it better than me. I put my recipe development hat on early last year – pre-pandemic, what a time! – and tried to get clever; my recent query as to whether it’d make for a good dip for candied citrus fruit was answered by Giora Stuchiner when he recently posted ruby chocolate-dipped candied oranges. (A project for me for another day!)

After trying to think of something on the more unique side, I decided not to get too inventive with ruby chocolate and just stick to something I knew how to make: ganache. The general formula for ganache stays the same, and I just switched ruby chocolate in for my usual milk or dark chocolate. Making a ruby chocolate ganache is ridiculously easy, almost fool-proof, in my opinion.

You know what else I’m good at making? Baked vanilla donuts, a long-time fan of the As Easy As Apple Pie recipe.

BOOM.

Ruby Chocolate-Glazed Baked Donuts.

I first made these last year for a Galentine’s Day party at my friend’s old apartment in Harlem last year, and they were a smash! I made them a few times again recently, and they were delicious…except my baking powder has seen better days, because those donuts just did not rise! This photo? It’s a year old. Ha! But at least there is one good shot of them in their ruby chocolate glory. Perhaps I’ll get better photos in due time, but…am I that content creator that wanted to get one good Valentine’s Day dessert recipe online this week?

Duh.

Enjoy!

Ruby Chocolate-Glazed Baked Donuts

Ruby Chocolate-Glazed Baked Donuts

(Donut recipe adapted from “Vanilla Glazed Baked Donuts” by As Easy As Apple Pie; Makes 6 regular-sized baked donuts)

Ingredients:

For Vanilla Baked Donuts:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (See “Before We Get Started…”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (See “Before We Get Started…”)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Ruby Chocolate Ganache:

  • 6 oz. ruby chocolate, roughly yet finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Before We Get Started…

  • I have used both white granulated sugar as well as coconut sugar, both with success in this recipe.
  • I have used whole dairy milk as well as oat milk, both with success in this recipe.
  • This recipe will yield roughly a dozen mini-donuts if you are using a mini-donut pan.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Spray a donut pan (6-donut capacity or 12-mini-donut capacity) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2.) Over a large bowl, pour & shake flour through a large sieve to remove any lumps. Whisk in sugar, salt, and baking power.

3.) In a second large bowl, whisk together oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until combined; be careful not to overmix! Overmixed batter will result in flatter donuts. (Speaking from experience!)

4.) Carefully spoon donut batter into cavities of donut pan, filling until they are approximately 3/4 full; do not fill to top, or else your donuts will spill over and you’ll lose that quintessential donut hole in the center!

5.) Place in oven and bake for 12 – 14 minutes until golden yet springy to the touch. Remove and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing from donut pan. Place donuts on cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

6.) Once donuts have cooled, assemble the ganache: Roughly yet finely chop up ruby chocolate and place into a large heat-safe bowl. Heat heavy cream in a heat-safe in the microwave for 45 – 60 seconds; keep an eye on the cream to make sure it doesn’t boil over or scorch. Remove cream from microwave, slowly pour over ruby chocolate, and allow to sit for one minute Use a whisk to combine cream and chocolate until smooth.

7.) Dip donuts into ganache while it’s warm and place ganache-side up on cooling rack until ganache has set; top with some white nonpareils if you’re feeling the need for a little bit of extra texture in your life.

8.) Eat same day – of course! – or place in an airtight container for up to 2 days in a cool place.

Rosemary Feta Dip

Before I dive into my awesome Rosemary Feta Dip recipe, I must be a Millennial and complain about my lack of access to certain technologies right now: I am without a phone. My Pixel 2 met its untimely demise at the hands of the blizzard that hit NYC yesterday. Well, perhaps it was the blizzard indirectly; if I had kept my balance, I might not have slipped and fell on my hip pocket which – I thought – safely housed said phone. I should be able to pick up my Pixel 5 either today or tomorrow, but living this life of not being able to scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and various news sources is…

…well, it’s fantastic. Nuts to all of that! Do I even WANT a new phone? Should I just live that wonderful life my father lives sans computer or phones, like a true hippie?

…nah, I think I’d actually miss Instagram after a while, but I’d give up the rest. HA!

OKAY. Enough with the First World Problems. Back to the Rosemary Feta Dip.

A few months back, when I did my Bud Light Seltzer #UnquestionablyGoodPairings campaign, I whipped up a tasty little dip to go along with it in my photos.

“Is it Rosemary Feta Dip?” you may ask?

Well, I think you’ve figured out this whole post already. What gave it away? 😏

I wanted a chance to formally share it, because it is absolutely delicious, and if you are the type of watch the Super Bowl – be it for the actual game, the halftime show, or the commercials – it’ll be nice to have a few snacks in front of your television or computer screen. This is an easy dip to make for the Super Bowl, or anytime, frankly! It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and I love to eat it with some crackers or sesame sticks.

Let’s get snacking! (Safety. At home. With no one outside of your household. Pandemic still, y’all.)

Rosemary Feta Dip

Rosemary Feta Dip

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. crumbled Feta (Go for authentic! Look for that PDO label!)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (Go for a milder flavored olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • A hearty squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Serve immediately or store in fridge for up to five days; bring dip up to room temperature and give a thorough stir to reconstitute all of the ingredients. (See? Told you this was easy!)


NOTE: This recipe was related to a sponsored post I did for Bud Light Seltzer in December 2020. This recipe is an original creation, and all opinions of Bud Light Seltzer are my own. And I love their Cranberry Flavor. YUH!

Sponsored Content Creation – The Timeline of Content Creation

Sponsored content creation: It may not be the end-game for some people, but it is exciting territory to explore. If you’ve worked hard on your blog or social media outlet of choice, to have a business or PR firm each out to you for a paid collaboration is encouraging. Do not let Imposter Syndrome bog you down: You have clearly produced stellar work that has caught someone’s eye, and you are of value to them. Don’t fret about your follower numbers on Instagram: If you are producing great content on your blog + social media platforms and have great engagement with your followers on said platforms, that is what they are eying.

It is easy to think that the life of a content creator is simple. Shoot a photo, throw on the Clarendon Filter on Instagram, expect hundreds of likes, and call it a day.

Any content creator that has done sponsored posts (or even free product posts) knows that it is not that simple. It take a lot of work, time, and energy; if you split that with a full-time job – common among most content creators I personally know in New York City – you definitely have to balance, whether it’s carving out dedicated time on a weekend to bang out your work or photographing a recipe on your lunch break that you cooked the night before. Most times, there will be ample back and forth between businesses or PR firms with edits or suggestions of what will eventually be the final content shown, so factor that into the equation.

In this post, I’ll share the lifecycle of a sponsored content I posted in December 2020 for a well-known hard seltzer brand. From first outreach to day of posting, 47 days elapsed: October 16th – December 2nd. (Did I do that math right?) Let me take you through the abbreviated steps! (Well, abbreviated in Allison terms. I’ll always be long-winding even when I’m trying to be succinct. Ha!)

NOTE: As always, I am speaking on behalf of one of my personal experiences, and similar experiences will vary from content creator to content creator. Take this post as guidance only!

Sponsored Content Creation – Outreach From Business or PR Firm

On October 16th, I received an e-mail in my inbox from a PR company with offices in NYC and out the the Plains. Its subject line about their holiday product campaign involving a well-known hard seltzer brand piqued my interest, so I scrolled through the body of the e-mail.

I’ll be frank: Since I currently work in health care in the midst of a pandemic, I’ve been very selective of sponsored content, and I did not create any between the end of May through November 2020, despite pitches. But this particular pitch grabbed me because it involved the holidays, recipe development, and it showcased a product I would purchase & consume of my own volition. More importantly, I know many of my followers would gravitate towards it because I’ve seen them post about this product on their respective social media accounts; this could provide those interested in trying a hard seltzer incentive to purchase this, and it could provide my followers that already consume it with incentive to buy more for the holidays or try out newest flavors. (A collaboration that is mutually beneficial – a partnership, if you will! – is key!) That PR pitch checked off a lot of boxes at once for me! I responded back that I was interested and would love to learn more about how the campaign, and a phone call with my PR representative was set up for three days later.

Sponsored Content Creation – Contracts & Price Negotiation

I was in grad school from 2012 – 2014, and I hold an MS of Communications & Information Management. One class I had to take was Business Law, which I both loved and loathed. While the content of the class was interesting, I failed to see how Business Law would have any bearing towards my future career goals. Mind you, at this time, Seek Satiation was merely a Twitter account I’d post my food photos on, not the sole proprietorship I have now. (<— See? Business Law words. Ha!) But wow, when it comes to looking over contracts, I am grateful I got that course under my belt.

As I spoke over the phone a few days later with my PR representative, she gave me a fuller pitch of the sponsored collaboration and drove more deeply into the finer details, especially legal details. Upon finishing up our phone call – which lasted roughly 20 minutes – I immediately received the contract and any other related legal documents in my inbox.

This is important: Ask your PR person for clarification on any contract details, and never sign blindly! Some contracts are long, but you want to read through them completely to suss out anything that may be confusing or nebulous. If you are not used to reading legalese, do not be embarrassed to ask your PR Representative, “Could you explain *this* to me in further detail?”

Many content creators may have multiple sponsored posts within a month, or even within the same week, though clauses in respective contracts may butt heads. I had a clause in this hard seltzer contract in which I could not post any competing brand’s hard seltzers within X amount of time from my original post. Two days prior to my hard seltzer posting date, I posted sponsored content for a gin brand out of Canada; luckily, promoting other alcohols that weren’t hard seltzer left me in compliance with this contract. You never want to get yourself into that tight spot where you may do something to nullify your contract, so read read read!

When it comes to price negotiation – and this comes before signing your signature on that final contract! – it can be easier for people that have produced sponsored content before. Everyone has their first sponsored collaboration in which they are asked, “Okay, what is your price?” Do your research if you are curious or unsure of what to ask for – and definitely look back at my previous post which touches upon this subject! – and just ask when it comes time to! Worst case scenario? They say “no” to your ask and counteroffer. If you don’t like their counteroffer, you haven’t signed a contract and can politely decline; even offer for them to get back in touch with you at another point in they think their budget will change, because you never know! No harm, no foul, in my opinion.

In addition, make sure your payment time is clear as day in that contract. Whether your contract says immediate payment upon posting of content or Net-60 (i.e. they have up to 60 days to pay you after posting date), make sure there is no questions about when you will be getting paid. Especially for projects that are in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, make sure their end of the deal for payment is held up.

Sponsored Content Creation – Creating Content!

Eventually, you do need to create that content, doncha?

(Did the title of this post give that away?)

Pay attention to deadlines in your contract, schedule ample time to work on whatever elements you need to work on, and reach out to your PR Representative if you think you may have issues abiding to your deadline if an issue arises. Though I’ve always made my deadlines, I know other NYC-based content creators that have had issues arise – life happens! – and even with a deadline firmly in place in their contracts, reaching out to ask for an extra day or two for unforeseen circumstances is better than ghosting them and delivering them their content two days late without explanation. You will not be in good standing. The content creators I spoke with said virtually all businsses and PR firms appreciated them contacting them and were not penalized.

For me, I had a few tasks to handle for this particular hard seltzer campaign:

  • Write out / sketch out photo concepts for one photo that could be used on both Facebook and Instagram, three Instagram Stories photos that were different than the Facebook / Instagram photo, and one final photo for Pinterest that was different from all of the aforementioned photos. In addition, I had to shoot two completely different photos featuring the hard seltzers with a shopping bag from an internationally-known chain store that they were going to use in said store’s paid Instagram and Facebook advertising. *phew*
  • Figure out a simple holiday recipe that would match with the flavors of the seltzer I was promoting while also promoting the campaign’s general “stay home and safe due to this pandemic, but still whip up some amazing food in your kitchen to eat along with this hard seltzer” theme.
  • Buy the seltzer for photographing + buy the ingredients for the recipe. (I was given the money up front to purchase the hard seltzers and food.)
  • Test the recipe.
  • Photograph according to contractual obligations.
  • Edit photos.
  • Create captions.
  • Send photos and captions to PR Representative for approval.
A little Rosemary Feta Dip to keep you satisfied?

Everything mentioned above took a cumulative 6 hours spread out among various weekend days in late October and early November, as I had a November 15th deadline to submit to my PR Representative for approval.

Granted, there have been times when I have spent as little as two to three hours doing all of that for smaller campaigns, especially ones that don’t need pre-approval from a business or PR firm before posting. Back in November 2020, I even did a paid campaign with a bread company in which I spent about 90 minutes TOTAL on. πŸ˜† But this hard seltzer collaboration was the biggest one I had done, so it’s a prime example of how much work can go into a campaign that has so many moving parts: Recipe development, various different photos for different social media platforms, and the fact that I was technically shooting content for two different brands, the hard seltzer brand and the chain store brand.

Bud Light Seltzer
Let me tell ya how much work went into this singular photo… *phew*

Sponsored Content Creation – Posting Sponsored Content

Finally! The posting date! That first e-mail arrived on October 16th, I worked my butt of on weekends in late October and early November, the November 15th due date arrived, and on November 28th, I got the “This is a-okay to post!” e-mail to wrap it all up. On December 2nd, I was able to post my long-worked on content across various platforms, and I also got to see my photos appear in Instagram and Facebook ads for that chain store later that night.

I also learned on my posting day that Pinterest has a 500 character limit in its pin description box, which required some same day copyediting, but nothing like a small emergency to get the heart racing. Ha! That’s a fuller story for another time.

Sponsored Content Creation – Payment

In your contract, as mentioned above, there should be an agreed-upon payout date for your work. Make sure that is held to. If you do not receive payment by the date listed in your contract, reach out to your PR Rep or their finance team to make sure your contract is being adhered to. A contracted payout date = you should have no issues simply asking.

Sponsored Content Creation – In Conclusion

Like I said in the beginning of this post: Content creation looks so easy online. A few snaps and its online. The reality? The entire process of sponsored content creation can take days, or it can take weeks and months before all is said and done.

I used this example of my hard seltzer / chain store experience because its the most extreme I’ve had to deal with; that being said, it covers so many bases that fellow content creators have had to deal with and is the most comprehensive experience that I can share with you, my readers.