Each week we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This week we meet Kate, the voice behind the Nanaimo, BC blog RageBake, but you may know her best for her Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies - they won a Bon Appétit's Reader's Choice Award and were the magazine's most popular recipe of 2017! When we asked our Instagram audience who we should interview for this series, Kate's name came up again and again so... meet RageBake!
Name: Kate Davis
Blog name: RageBake
Where were you born? Born and raised in Ottawa, ON
Where are you living now? Currently living in Nanaimo, BC
Why did you start your blog?
It started as a way of sharing recipes with friends and family. That’s still the primary reason, I just reach more people now.
How did you decide on your blog name?
When you have those punch the wall moments some people run, or workout, I bake. I RageBake. There’s something cathartic about kneading bread, or smelling cookies as they bake!
What do you blog about?
I don’t blog about my personal life too much, just the odd bit of information. Mostly I share recipes, and tips I learned along the way. I post on Instagram most frequently, and blog when there’s something I can’t cover with a simple IG post.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
RageBake is definitely still a hobby, but it’s slowly growing into something more. Maybe one day it’ll be my primary focus.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
Anyone who knows me, or my blog, knows that I am most well known for my Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip cookies. I submitted them to Bon Appétit Magazine as part of a “Readers Choice” contest and won! I could never have predicted the amount of love they would have for these cookies. They have been sharing the recipe every couple of weeks for 2 years now. It was their Most Popular Recipe of 2017. And Rick Martinez has done a video of him making MY recipe! He says “these are the cookies by which all others are judged”.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I am pretty proud of my sausage roll recipe. Growing up my Mom would always buy mini sausage rolls for events and we would devour them! I decided to attempt my own and have had nothing but compliments from those who’ve had them. But for one reason or another the recipe never took off.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
I’ve not had as much success with the blog itself as with Instagram. I can’t seem to get people to engage on the blog. So when I received compliments and success stories on my Marshmallow post I was pleasantly surprised! Amazing that something as simple as a marshmallow can stir memories in most people.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
I think consistency with posting, and engaging with others via the blog platform. The food blog world is heavily saturated so I understand everyone’s attentions are divided, but I wish I could figure out the key to grabbing more visitors. I think one aspect of that struggle would be my unwillingness to really open up and share all about my life, emotions, etc. I share snippets, but that’s about it.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
That people love to see all sides of the baking world: good bad. It’s tough to just share the positives when you’re trying to learn new things. So I’ve had to learn to be vulnerable, I guess, and to show fallibility. Not all bakes go well!
What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far?
Being so well received by Bon Appétit was huge! I’m still riding that high. I haven’t figured out how to turn it into something more, but I will never let it go.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
Admittedly I’m not much of a blog reader but I do have some trusted resources. Mostly I will follow people on Instagram and travel to their blog when I need an actual recipe.
- Heidi at The Simple Green has some of the best photography I’ve ever seen. Editor's Note: you can read our interview with Heidi here.
- Robyn at Sweetish always has fabulous recipes, and is adorable to watch on Instagram.
- For all things cake I turn to Hannah at Bake & Tell.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
When talking favourite restaurants I can’t help but default to a fabulous Mexican place in Houston called Chachi’s. My sister lived quite near it for several years, and any time my daughter and I would visit we’d end up on the Chachi’s patio. Usually multiple times per visit. Tacos tejanos (pulled pork), queso, and a skinny margarita. Perfection!
If we’re talking local haunts then I have to mention Wa-Ku in Nanaimo. It’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall place with maybe 10 tables. The staff barely speak English, and it is the BEST Japanese food you will find. The shoyu ramen is hands-down the best I have ever had. We do visit in the summer, but once the weather turns and the rains come it becomes a regular place for dinner. It has yet to disappoint!
As for my own recipes, well, I can’t help but bring up the Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies, or perhaps my Croissants. Croissants and pain au chocolat is what I took to my audition for the Great Canadian Baking Show. I didn’t get picked this year, but I did get rave reviews on the croissants from last year’s winner Andrei, and head judge Bruno Feldeisen.
What are you working on next for your blog?
Currently finalizing and writing up a post/recipe for a Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Bourbon Brown Sugar Buttercream. As well as a chocolate tart that’s been requested.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I am mom to an incredible 10yr old girl, I blog and I bake. And when not doing that I work in Nanaimo’s greatest kitchen shop, Maison Cookware. I get to spend my days talking food and kitchen gadgets with some amazing people. We have all become very close friends, and our back room at the shop is forever filled with baked goods that we bring in to share, or get critiques on. It’s truly the best place!
What makes your blog unique?
I guess that I don’t “blog” too much about my personal life. Mostly just about where the recipe came from, perhaps a tip or trick associated with it, and the recipe itself. I also try to be fairly honest about failures and struggles. I joke a lot about Instagram vs Life and so I try to portray at least a few of the struggles along the way. That’s also why I go forever without posting anything. I’ll share all the struggles on Instagram as I go, and then post the end result to the blog.
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
I’m not really sure I have. But those I chat with most share a love of french pastries with me. Many conversations around croissants, and cannelés. As mentioned earlier I think building that community is where I’ve struggled the most, but I’m working on it.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
I am very new to the site but am enjoying the emails with tips on photography, how to better your blog, etc. And I look forward to building some relationships and connections with other users. I’ve also enjoyed the recipe round-ups and am trying to participate in those. Good exposure!
Follow Kate and RageBake on Social Media