7th Heaven Chocolate Truffle Cake

I’ll come right out and say that this is the most difficult post I’ve ever tried to write.  There’s an ice-breaker for you… In writing this post, my first official entry for Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog, I’ve been mulling over what to write for over 3 weeks.  And though it is the evening before the final day for submissions of the first challenge, one could say that I was procrastinating.

But it’s more than that.

It’s about finding the right words.  I’ve started and restarted writing this very post 3 times.  It just never seemed right.  Until today. But before I get to today, let me take you back in time to how I got my start as a food blogger.

Shortly after I got married almost 4 years ago, I found a home amongst newlywed foodies on a message board housed within a now well-known website called The Nest.  We talked about food and life all the time.  It was a blissful community.  Influenced by the likes of Smitten Kitchen and Culinary Concoctions by Peabody (who was and still is a contributor to the message board), we each started our own food blogs and in April 2007, Smells Like Home was born (under the original name, The Cooking Fiend). Start-up was a slow process but having the support of my newlywed foodie community was the sole driving factor for learning and growing as a food blogger.

Smells Like Home soon starting taking on a different feel for me.  It became more of a way to connect with others through food experiences and less about cataloging my own cooking and baking successes and failures.  As time went on and food blogging became more popular, it became apparent that another community was forming before my eyes: food bloggers.

As food blogging grew, groups like Daring Bakers emerged; new communities themselves within the food blogging community. These groups intrigued me.  I joined Tuesdays with Dorie in its earliest days and soon found that I loved being part of a group blogging towards a common goal.  In May 2008, I decided to branch out and form my own group, a community of food bloggers called the Barefoot Bloggers, with the goal of cooking and baking through Ina Garten’s (FoodNetwork’s Barefoot Contessa) cookbooks.  Running a group like this hasn’t been easy but I have met some outstanding and inspirational bloggers through this group, like Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake, who stepped up with an offer to help me keep the group running smoothly.  Who does that?  She barely knew me.

But that’s what food bloggers do.  It’s what strong communities do.  I have been an active member of this amazing food blogging community and have been a community-builder and these roles are what define me as a food blogger.  My first real-life experience with food bloggers was at the intimate Big Summer Potluck workshop in August.  BSP was originally designed as a food blogging event for East Coasters but grew to 40 incredibly talented food bloggers, cookbook authors, and food stylists from all over the country…and it was the first time I truly felt the impact of the food blogging community.

The second time I was struck by this feeling was just today when I attended Cupcake Camp New Haven after hustling around my tiny kitchen the past 2 days baking up 6 dozen cupcakes to bring as an amateur baker. 2000 cupcakes and a delicious afternoon with a community of cupcake bakers; many pro, some home bakers, and probably a few bloggers like me though so many people attended that it was difficult to visit every baker. Though this event wasn’t food blog-driven, it got me to seriously think how a group of people, both online and in real life, can come together with a common goal and instantaneously connect on a level that most new acquaintances aren’t able to connect on.  And while there was a contest for prettiest and best cupcakes, this event, very much like Big Summer Potluck, wasn’t about the competition.  It was about the community. It was about meeting new people, networking, connecting, supporting.  This concept is paramount in the food blogging world.

So as I write this post, I also bring you the chance to check out another recipe from Project Pastry Queen, a new community of food bloggers and non-food bloggers sharing the love of The Pastry Queen cookbook.  This 7th Heaven Chocolate Truffle Cake kicked my butt.  It was, however, one of the the best cakes I’ve ever made.  All 462 cubic inches of it.  This was a massive cake that challenged my ability and confidence as a baker like no other cake has.  And the result was 12 layers of decadent chocolate cake and truffle filling that knocked the socks off of everyone who tried it.  If it weren’t for being a part of the the PPQ community and having the support that goes along with a blogging group such as this one, I never would have attempted to push the limit of my skills. Be sure to check out the PPQ blog for links to results on the other members’ blogs and head over to Sarah’s 20something cupcakes blog for the recipe.

In the 3+ years that I’ve been food blogging, I’ve grown as a cook, a baker, a blogger, a person, and a community member.  And it’s the community that makes me the food blogger that I am today.  To that end, I have what it takes to be the next food blog star.  I blog to share recipes. To share stories about successes, failures, and experiences.  But what sets my blog apart from other food blogs is that Smells Like Home isn’t about the glory or the thrill of competition. It’s about the ability to connect with others and help build this ever-growing and inspirational community.

*Voting for this challenge opens on Monday September 20th at 12pm ET.*

we love to see what you make!

tag what you make with #smellslikehomeblog on Instagram and follow along with me in my New England kitchen!

@smellslikehomeblog
  • September 18, 2010 at 11:09 PM

    Wonderful post, Tara!! I love it! 🙂

  • September 18, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    You hit on a huge part of the blogging puzzle. Community is a major piece of it. We all have our neighborhoods in the blogging community, but as a whole, we understand each other and why we do this. Beautifully written! Best of luck to you!

  • September 19, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    Great post! 🙂

  • September 19, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    lovely post have fun

  • September 19, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    What a lovely ride you’ve had through the past few years! I’ve had so much fun getting involved in the blogging community.. its refreshing and exciting to find so many people out there who love food as much as I do 🙂 Good luck with the challenge- that cake looks decadent and delicious!

  • September 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Beautiful post! Good luck-
    Billie

  • September 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    this is a great post tara 🙂 can’t agree with you less on the effect of community on food blogging. all the best!

  • September 19, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Great post Tara! Good luck!

  • September 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Great post! I’m so glad the cake I chose turned out to be what it was for you. And I loved seeing your progress throughout the years.

  • September 19, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    Stopping by to see who else has entered the competition. I had the same problem, trying to find the right words. Afterall, to say all you need to say in one post? Quite a challenge!
    But your cake? Deeeeelish and very drool worthy!
    Anyway, looks great, reads well and good luck!!

  • September 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    As a fellow FB FP involved with PFB (wow – lots of acronyms!), I’m loving this contest already. Despite the inherently competitive nature of a competition dangling a $10K grand prize, it’s given me the opportunity to find bloggers (such as yourself) that I may never have stumbled across. Good luck to you, I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future!

  • September 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Well, I’m certainly you found this community! Great to know you better and I’m daydreaming about that cake!

  • September 19, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    What a wonderful post and quite a different angle than some of the other PFB posts I have read. I wish you the best of luck with this challenge and hope you get to stick around for quite a few rounds :o)

  • September 19, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Beautiful post. You nailed it-the community is what makes food blogging so special. I am learning all about that now! Good luck!

    P.S. I too started the challenge a hundred times only to erase it and start again!

  • September 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Great post! Good Luck !

  • September 19, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Wow! You do have what it takes to go to the next phase! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  • September 19, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    What a great post. I’m a new food blogger, but I can already tell that I’m part of a great community and I have a LOT to learn!

  • September 19, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    Lovely post! Good Luck!

  • September 19, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    You are a great storyteller…weaving your thoughts through your experiences.

  • September 19, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Excellent work on the first challenge! I can see how far your blog has come and how you have grown as a food blogger. And I’d love to have a slice of that cake! 🙂

  • September 19, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    What an excellent post! I love all the stories of community!

    Best of luck in Project Food Blog!

    And, what a beautiful cake!

  • September 19, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    I’m also participating in PFB and looking forward to reading everyone’s great entries! Good luck!

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Such a wonderful inspiring post! Isn’t it amazing what we can accomplish when we have such a supportive community? Good luck in the contest!

  • September 19, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    I agree with you, it was the hardest post I have ever written… Tooting my own horn is not something I am accustomed to and I am sure I skirted the question. 🙂 Your post is wonderful, really inspiring!

  • September 20, 2010 at 5:54 AM

    I love the idea of us all being part of a community – one that so far I have found mostly supportive 🙂

  • September 20, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Great post, I was thinking the same thing when I wrote mine! Happy to send you one of my votes! Good Luck, wishing you the best! Btw, you have some amazing photos, I’m a little envious!
    -Gina-

  • Ginger Van Vessem
    September 20, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    I find all you do amazing… Not only in your career and home but your dedication to your community of bloggers,the terrific website “smells like home”, and your actual cooking talent!!! You should be very proud of yourself… you know I am.

    • smellslikehome
      September 20, 2010 at 8:42 PM

      awww…thank you so much for such a wonderful comment, Aunt Ginger!

  • September 20, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    Great post! Your photos are gorgeous. I voted for you! =)

    Good luck!

    Check out my PFB post: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/503

  • September 21, 2010 at 7:19 AM

    This looks so delicious! Wowee ♥

  • September 21, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    Wow your truffle cake stopped me dead in my tracks!. Is it possible that you might share the recipe?

    • smellslikehome
      September 21, 2010 at 7:49 AM

      Thanks for your comment! You can find the recipe in the link to 20something cupcake in the text of this post. For Project Pastry Queen, the recipe is housed only on the blog of that week’s host.

  • September 21, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Sent a HAPPY ♥ vote your way. See you in round two!
    ~ Mary

  • September 22, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    It really is all about community! The challenge has opened so many new-to-me bloggers who I look forward to following. I’d like to see you in the next round and am casting one of my votes.

  • September 22, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    I also started my blogging days over the next. 🙂 So many talented women from that community who have done great things with their blogs! You’ve got my vote. I hope you can check my site out as well!

  • September 22, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    Great post! I love the food blogging community! Everyone is so friendly and always so supportive of one another!

    The truffle cake looks fantastic! And the brownie pudding – oh my gosh, what a drool-worthy picture! Love your food photos!

    Best of luck with PFB! Just voted for you!

  • September 22, 2010 at 11:31 PM

    your blog looks delicious. love the community angle. best of luck!

  • September 23, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Darling Dear… you for sure have my vote… and you are right… that cake is TOTALLY 7th Heaven! ♥♥♥ Megan@foodalution.com

  • September 23, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    OMG, that cake! Please send two slices, ASAP! Seriously, though, I really like the community theme of this post and how important the community is to you and how important you are to the community. Community is such a rewarding part of blogging both for the pat on the back when you’re having a down day and for encouraging you to go outside your comfort zones. Best of luck in the challenge – hope to see us both in Round 2! -Sarah

  • September 23, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    That cake looks amazing. Best of luck in the competition, you’ve got our vote!

    Lick My Spoon

  • September 23, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    hey ya! you have a lovely blog here. Stumble upon your blog through foodbuzz. 🙂 I voted for your blog. hope that helps. Good Lucky !!!! feel free to drop by!!

    have a lovely weekend
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  • March 13, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Very nice blog you have here! Very beautiful photos!

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