Wow, can you believe it’s already been one year since I thought to myself, “I’m bored. What else can I fill up my free time with?” and created the Aubergine Chef. So far it’s been a great experience and I’m glad that I decided to go through with it. I’m actually pretty surprised that I stuck with it for this long. Many of my close friends know that I have a habit of going gung-ho into a project and giving it my all and within 3 months I quit never again to finish whatever it was. Yet somehow I was able to stay motivated long enough to make nearly 52 episodes of the Aubergine Chef.
I will admit there were weekends where all I wanted to do was veg all weekend and do nothing and there were episodes where everything seemed to be going wrong and all I wanted to do was quit. There were times when I thought, “Here I am spending all this time and money on something that I’m not even sure is worth it in the end.” But I was able to pull through and get past all those hurdles and negativity. In fact I can’t even really remember which episodes I had a particularly hard time making (well except one, but we’ll get to that later).
I’d have to say one of the biggest motivators has been the small collective of fans and viewers I’ve collected over the past year. Overall there seems to be a positive reaction to the Aubergine Chef and that really makes it all worth it. My goal has always been to help home bakers become better and be a free resource to help answer their questions and I think that I’m doing a decent job of following through.
One of my favorite things to check to see my progress are stats of my videos and blog posts and I’d like to share some of those stats with you:
1. My most viewed episode on YouTube
Much to my chagrin, my most viewed episode on YouTube overwhelmingly is the Making A Simple Tiered Cake episode with over 13,500 views. That is a phenomenal amount of views! Unfortunately I feel this was one of my worst videos and I was actually hoping when the Juicy Couture cake episode came out it would overshadow it. You’re probably wondering, “What? Why is it so bad?” Well if you’ve been following me, you know that I don’t really make cakes that often – and that I actually specialize in smaller desserts like plated dessert presentations. My lack of experience in cake making really shows through in this episode with a poor chocolate icing recipe and bumpy/torn fondant. The cake was actually for a friend of mine’s birthday and he absolutely loved it but I couldn’t get over how shabby the final product was. I actually debated for a long time whether or not to make a video of it and upload it to YouTube or just pretend that it never happened.
As you know, in the end I decided that I could swallow my pride and just upload it. In the end there were lots of good tips in the video and if anything at all it’s a video on what-not-to-do because I know that I personally learned a lot from the episode. And if I never did that episode I never would’ve been able to make such awesome cakes like the juicy couture cake, the dummy cake, and my first 3D cake.
I actually still debate whether to keep the video up or to take it down and I always decide that it’s better not to hide my mistakes. I know that I’m not perfect and to try to make myself look perfect would be an insult to what the Aubergine Chef is all about. I learn from these episodes just as much as you all do, and actually I learn a lot from you all as well. The comments you all post on YouTube and on this blog are always full of tips and tricks that I never would’ve thought of. Plus by keeping this video up, it’s a reminder to myself to stay humble but also to see how far I’ve come : )
Most popular episode runner ups:
Petits Four Glace – 5,952 views
The Juicy Couture Cake – 5,220 views
White Chocolate Mousse Cake – 3,161 views
Puto, Filipino Steamed Cake – 3,027 views
Chocolate Mousse Cake – 1,775 views
Other YouTube statistics:
Total Video Views: 108,520
2. My Most Accessed Blog Post
This statistic makes me feel a little better: The Strawberry Spiral Cake. This has to be one of my most favorite episodes as well as one of the most fun times I had making dessert. I remember flipping through Rachael Ray magazine one day and finding the picture of this dessert and how impressed I was with the idea of a vertical layered cake. I immediately knew that this had to be an episode – there has to be tons of people out there who would love to know how to make something like this. Plus, to be honest the instructions for the recipe weren’t all that clear so I thought that if I could make a video then the recipe would be that much clearer. If you’ve viewed this blog post then you know that I actually ended up changing the recipe a bit – by altering the steps and using French Buttercream – which from what I understand has been a huge help. There was even a comment on Rachael Ray’s magazine’s site saying my video and blog post were a huge help! If you haven’t read this post, I strongly recommend checking it even if you don’t plan on making it!
As a side note, the most popular referring link is the link I put on Rachael Ray’s site for the recipe – followed by Facebook, and then YouTube.
Other popular blog posts:
Petits Four Glace – 727 hits
White Chocolate Mousse Cake – 481 hits
Dessert Sushi – 412 hits
Kutsinta, Filipino steamed rice cake – 391 hits
The Juicy Couture Cake – 275 hits
3. My Most Accessed Page
gallery page (with 1,441 hits) my most popular page is the Techniques: Plated Desserts page with 709 hits. This does my heart some good since this page is basically my senior thesis from college – which makes it a topic near and dear to my heart. I remember when I first went to school (Johnson & Wales in RI if you didn’t know), I knew next-to-nothing about food and dessert. For the longest time I actually wanted to be a botanist – can you believe it?? Becoming a trained chef only became an idea to me when I took career test after career test in high school and I always wound up getting “Food Scientist” as a recommended career (which is what I really want to go back to school and study now!). Anyway, I just remember my first day in class having no trained experience and learning everything from the very beginning: How to use a scale, the different kinds of flours, even techniques as simple as separating an egg (now you know why I insist on showing how to separate an egg in just about every episode). I also remember the mild but very real panic I felt every time I attended a new class – Breads, Cakes, Classical French Desserts, Chocolate Lab, Hot & Cold Plated Desserts – I always hesitated and wondered if I would actually do well. But after settling in a day or two into class I relaxed and the information I learned fascinated me – the same way it fascinates me today.
And I know that there are plenty of people out there who for some reason can’t go to a professional cooking school who deserve to have access to this knowledge. I figured if I’m not going to continue in the food industry (that’s right, I don’t work in a kitchen >.<) then I need to inspire somebody who truly wants to be in the industry. At first I was only going to do videos but I thought that it might be a good idea to put my class notes up here – which is where the technical pages came from. Those pages were a very long, long process but rereading my notes from school and my text books was like reliving school and the same dewy-eyed look came across my face and the long process didn’t feel so long in the end. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the technical pages please take the time – there is a wealth of information there. Eventually I really want to make ingredient pages, for example: all about flour, all about eggs, and so on. It wouldn’t take long to do it but it’s just tough to find the time! I’ll always do my best to make sure my videos continue to come out though!
My other most popular page:
Conversions and Measurements – 371 hits
4. My Most Downloaded Recipe
My most downloaded Recipe is frangipan with 39 downloads. If you don’t remember
where frangipan came from it is the cake I used to make the petits fours glace. Frangipan is a dense almond cake, even denser than pound cake in my opinion, which is great for petits fours because it sticks together well even when cut and makes (somewhat) few crumbs when cut. Remember that you can use your favorite pound cake recipe to make petits fours glace – which I personally recommend because I always find frangipan to have an overwhelmingly sweet almond flavor.
You guys sure love your cake! In fact, all of my popular downloads are cake related which includes cake recipes, icings, piping diagrams, the gum paste recipe, and the two Filipino desserts.
5. The Most Popular Search Term
Let’s end on a completely hilarious note – shall we? The most popular search term – you guessed it – is actually “The Aubergine Chef” at 113 hits. However, that’s not the funny part. The second most popular search term (brace yourselves) is “Boston Baked Beans.”
Many of you are probably wondering how in the world could that search term make my
page magically appear on google’s search? To be honest I’m not really sure myself – compared to the innumerable amount of times I use the words “cake” “chocolate” or even “dessert” it’s a shock that boston baked beans actually even sniffs out my page.
Boston baked beans was actually a side note, a simple anecdote really, describing how a friend of mine described how the spicy peanut sauce tasted which was used in the dessert sushi episode.
For all my viewers, readers, and fans out there thanks for sticking with me for this past year! Please keeping commenting and e-mailing me your questions! I love meeting you all and helping you all solve your pastry related questions. It’s really been a great trip and you all totally make all the time and money I put into this worth it. Make sure you visit one of my newest pages “Ask Katie” where you can ask my very good friend and cake expert Katie all of your pressing cake questions. Stayed tuned because the episode coming out this Sunday is pretty great!