Why I Don’t Bake As Often As I Used To. A Confession.

Hong Kong Coconut Tarts-1

And why this blog is now more travel than cake!


I feel it’s about time I confessed to the reasons why I don’t bake anywhere near as much as I used to.

It’s not – I assure you – that I no longer love baking, far from it.

I’ve been blogging here on Vagabond Baker for over three and a half years, and those early first couple of years were all about cake.

I had been living in a van for a year before that and been urged by a few of my friends to blog about the stuff I was baking – both in the van and when I house sat.

Those early posts were floured with details of my nomadic life but the main emphasis was the baking.

I found those posts to be getting too long and out of hand so I separated the travel from the recipe posts.

And I discovered that I absolutely loved writing the travel stuff!

I was baking almost every day, but not baking stuff I loved or wanted to eat. I was baking stuff that I thought the blogging world wanted: chocolate-drenched confections and obscenely decadent cupcakes.

The more I tried to ‘fit’ into the baking blog world, the more I realised it wasn’t me. And it was costing me a lot of money that I just didn’t have: butter, sugar, chocolate are all expensive ingredients. Money that I’d rather be spending on incredible experiences around the world.

Because that’s where my true passion lies: I’m a nomad, I love to travel.

Great Wall at Jinshanling

My love of baking is a nostalgic joy, the pleasure of baking yummy stuff for my friends, something I do to relax.

Baking for my blog had become a bit of a chore, I had lost the joy of it to be perfectly honest.

When I took a break from it in 2013, to spend nine months backpacking overland from the UK to South East Asia I blogged almost exclusively about my travels and from there on the blog became more and more travel based.

I was able to take a good hard look at my blog and see what I wanted it to be. I realised that I wanted to write about the sort of baking that I loved, and I wanted to tie the baking to the travel.

Travelling introduces me to different recipes, new flavours and food traditions. This is the stuff I want to be baking and writing about.

When I came back to the UK, back to house sitting, I set to baking some of the stuff I discovered on my trip. The (Inspired by Hong Kong) Coconut Tarts were a winner: I loved creating that recipe.

The Korvapuusti (cinnamon rolls) I ate in Finland have become one of my favourite and – more recently – popular posts.

I have rediscovered my love of baking and I don’t want to lose it again!

I bake when I’m inspired to bake, I don’t bake new recipes every week – I often bake old recipes (I’m obsessed with baking rye bread at the moment!) because I want too, not because I need a blog post.

My body likes it this way too.

I’m going to be brutally honest now, I’m going to tell you that I put on over half a stone (3kg) in the first year and a half of blogging about cake.

All that intensive baking took its toll – and for a year of that I was doing the 5:2, so it potentially could have been more!

pipe with buttercream frosting and finish with a shard of cinder toffee

The nine month break made me see that the high quantities of sugar I was consuming in the name of blogging was not healthy.

I am very happy with the balance I have now here on Vagabond Baking, I hope you don’t mind that there is far less cake.

When you read a new baking post on here you can be assured I baked it happy, because I wanted to and that I genuinely love it!

Pin these ramblings for later!

Why I don't bake as often as I used to A confession

Let me know your thoughts below!

Stick around:

(Inspired by Hong Kong) Coconut Tarts so delicious, I love baking these!

Easy Rye Bread (it’s a little bit Finnish) this loaf is amazing!

KorvapuustitI knew I had to bake these Cinnamon Rolls the moment I tried one!

All the travel posts about Asia!

30 Responses

  1. Aggy says:

    What an honest post Rachel! I think you’ve made the right decision. I think it’s important to stop when you see something “unhealthy”, and it’s better to stop now than to have to deal with the consequences later on. But I am also happy that you still bake occasionally and are kind enough to share your recipes 😀

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Aggy! I’m so glad travel enabled me to notice what all this baking was doing to me! I enjoy baking so much more now that I don’t feel pressured to produce stuff every few days. xx

  2. It’s no problem you don’t bake that often anymore for the blog. We still love it, as your travel post are very interesting. So keep doing what your doing.

  3. Bridget says:

    Hi Rachel, you are so right and sound more authentic if you write and blog about what you want to. For myself, blogging is just a hobby and even I bake once or twice a week I haven’t posted a recipe on my blog for the last 8 month. I love to read about your adventures in traveling and wish you happy times! All the best, Bridget.

  4. I’m so glad you followed your heart. I started blogging for the love of writing about travel and yet, somewhere along the way, I found myself worrying about all the wrong things and getting demoralised about all the wrong things, which was totally taking the fun out of blogging and writing, which is all I ever wanted to do it for anyway! It is easy to get swept up in the wrong priorities and I’ve been much happier with my blogging since I went back to scratch and reassessed why I do it in the first place and I’m so glad you have done the same thing with your bakes, baking what you want, when you want. I’m nowhere near as good as you but I do love to bake but I am also always so wary about the health side of things if I start making cupcakes every day, especially given how much of a sweet tooth I have! You have a great balance on here and I love the way you combine the two things 🙂

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Shikha! It’s made me much happier now. One of the interesting things I discovered when I gave up dairy last autumn for 6 weeks was that my sweet tooth diminished, I found that even when I stopped, and went to Belgium (!! chocolate heaven) I wasn’t interested in anything really sweet! It has slowly come back but to where near to what it was.

  5. mimi says:

    it’s true – i’ve gained 20 pounds since blogging, especially because i cook things like foie gras that my husband won’t eat, but I miss. So then I have to eat it all! I can’t imagine if I had a baking blog! You still look fabulous, and I’m happy for you!

  6. Dave Rowley says:

    Love all your travel posts! Keep them coming!

  7. Emma says:

    Raw honesty seems to be a theme lately! I totally get you, you saw my last post. Happy baking is best baking anyway – everyone knows the main ingredient in all cake is love!

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Emma! Yes, I felt I had to be honest and share my thoughts. Maybe it was your post that turned my head to think of writing this! Thank you if that was the subconscious thought my dear!

  8. Troy S. says:

    Hello. Thanks for the update. I have been following you for a while and sort of living vicariously through you as I too am a baker and would love to figure out a way I could pay my bills with it and be location independent at the same time.

  9. Hi Rachel, like everyone else is saying, it’s so easy to get sucked into a blogging world you don’t really want to be part of and I think it’s great that you’ve had a chance to reflect on the way you want your blog to go. I, for one, love the direction you have taken – it’s the perfect mix of your travels and bakes which really have a story behind them. Keep doing what you love!

  10. Gillian says:

    No worries! There are more than enough great recipes for me already!

  11. Meghan says:

    I love how honest you are with your audience but I agree with you and all the previous commenters and am so glad you decided to be authentic and true to yourself. Enjoy your rye bread!

  12. Keri says:

    If we do anything too much we get sick of it and you’re right, you’ve got to get a good balance. Glad to see you’re back in a happy place where baking is fun and you do it when you want rather than feel you have to! It’s easy to get sucked into that hole, I’ve done it myself – loved gaming so started doing more and more videogame related journalism. It ended up taking all my free time, for little money and I never got to play games just for fun, it was because I had to . I took a step back from that and well, now I enjoy playing games again and I can do it when I want to!

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thank you Keri! Brilliant, blogs are so much better if the passion and happiness shows for sure! Video games, wow, that’s different! I play the odd one: totally in love the Broken Sword – yup, I’m a nineties girl!

  13. Linda says:

    Hi Rachael.. good for you.. I enjoy reading your bavel/traking blog !! Life is too short to do stuff you don’t enjoy and actually the recipes are really interesting too.. Keep it up !
    PS I love the pics too..

  14. I think it is a great balance Rachel, I did often wonder how you stayed so slim with all that baking! I only have to look at cake and I put on a kilo hence I eat it only now and then as a treat. I will (or should I say Vaughan will as he is the baker in the family!) some of your yummy treats for the family at Christmas.. I think I can make an exception at that time of year 😉

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Jayne! My mama was very slim – I have to thank her for the most part, but I think that if I’d carried on I’d have become noticeably bigger! She was a baker too, there was always cake in the house and fruit pies for pudding but I’m guessing we ate more of it than she did, hungry kids home from school!

  15. What a great, honest post Rachel!
    I was struggling with my blog for a while, trying to blog what I thought people wanted to see, not what I wanted. And the only person it gets down is yourself!
    I love the mix of travel and cooking on your blog!
    Glad that you’re baking happier now 🙂

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thank you so much Sus! I’m so much happier blogging what I truly love even if that means an occasional post about learning Finnish! If I hadn’t taken the break travelling again I can well believe that the blog would have fizzled out, or I would have imploded! 😉