Robyn launched her blog in 2015 after a decade of dabbling in storytelling through writing, baking, and photography. She is obsessed with people and food, and her food experiences range from working in professional bakeries to teaching cooking classes to freelance baking and cooking for clients. Robyn firmly believes there is joy in treating yourself when you treat yourself well.
I am so excited to have Robyn Holland of Sweetish.co on the show today.
(*All photos below are Robyn’s.)
On A Whole New Way to Treat Yourself:
We played around with that tagline and that purpose a lot, and we would like to incorporate a lot more how-to on things for people to learn, so a lot of educational stuff, instead of just a recipe.
I think one of the big things that I wanted to do is bust through some of these food rumors, like what is really good for you versus what isn’t good for you at all. I know it seems oxymoronic,…I don’t know the right word…but ironically, even, because I do talk so much about desserts. But I’m very specific with the ingredients that I’ll use, and I would like to introduce produce and different flours, gluten-free options, just fun stuff like that into our everyday baking. So I really wanted to come at it from that angle and that approach. Sweetish to me, I wanted to create this online bakery, and bakeries don’t just have sweets, they have savory, too, incorporating that concept.
On Learning How to Bake:
The first dish I probably learned to bake were chocolate chip cookies. And my mom, she’s a really good cook, and my Grandma was a really good cook, and I just learned. I remember making pizza dough with my dad in the kitchen, just for fun, when I was little, six years old. And so we just were very much a family of food and always making things. And baking from scratch has just been a big part of my upbringing.
And then when I moved away for university, for college, I was like, “Okay, I’ve got to do this on my own.” That’s probably when I really fell in love with it even more because it was just me in the kitchen. I realized I could create all of these different things and started taking food science classes. I actually started working in a bakery. So it just escalated from there, really just wanting to learn.
On What it’s Like Baking Wedding Cakes:
Very terrifying, yes, very. I am not a culinary institute graduate. I learned from some amazing bakers at the bakeries I’ve worked at. But I felt very like, “Oh, my gosh. I don’t know how to do this.” So luckily the style of the cakes that they wanted were very much me, very, very simple and flowers here and there and different things like that, and they just wanted them to taste good and be pretty. So I’ve done freelance work like that. It’s super nerve-racking. The transportation of wedding cakes is the worst. It’s like, “Okay. Oh, my gosh. I forgot about this, and I forgot about having to drop them off somewhere.”
But that concept of just very simple, very, very simple and very homemade. Pretty, but very homemade, and that’s really the feeling I wanted to bring into Sweetish, very approachable, very homemade. There are some incredibly beautiful cakes and different things out there, and I’m just like, “Gosh, I’m so simple compared to that.” I really don’t want to hassle a lot with food or with baking. I want it to be easy, I want it to be really good, and I want to know what’s in my baked goods.
That approach was definitely taken into the wedding cakes. They didn’t have to do a bunch of sugar art or anything like that and just did really simple, beautiful.
On a Dish That is Special to Her:
There are so many. I don’t know if I will even ever post about this, but one dish that we used to make growing up… We have a lot of Danish heritage, and we called it cream eggs on toast. We would butter toast, we’d get really good bread, and we’d just toast it, and every kid would have a fun job in the kitchen for preparing this meal. And it probably sounds really gross, but it was really good. We’d tear toast up, and then my mom would make this cream sauce, like a Béchamel sauce. And then we would have hard boiled eggs, and you would mix the white part of the hard boiled eggs with the cream sauce. And then you’d pour it over these little pieces of buttered toast, and then you’d crumble the egg yolk on top. That was some sort of Danish thing that my Grandma would make. I don’t even know.
It was a super cheap dinner, but we loved dipping our little pieces of toast in this cream sauce with egg. Even now, it probably wouldn’t even be half as good, but it was just such a special memory that we were involved and making this special dish growing up. There are so many more that probably sound so much more appealing than that.
The Pressure Cooker:
Which food shows or cooking shows do you watch?
I love Gordon Ramsay, his show. I’ve kind of been watching old shows, though. I love Cooked…That’s a documentary series…and Chef’s Table on Netflix, both of those. And then anything that has to do with Barefoot Contessa I watch all the time. Those are probably my top ones.
What are some food blogs or food websites we have to know about?
There are so many. There are a few that I have been obsessed with lately. I love Sprouted Kitchen. She’s probably my favorite blogger out there, and I’ve read her blog probably the longest. I love With Food And Love, I love Sherrie, what she’s doing…and I love Heartbeet Kitchen. That’s another one. She just has beautiful photography. You can just feel her sunshine through her posts. I love Hummingbird High. I think she does awesome bakery goods stuff, and I love what she’s doing. There are a bazillion.
Who do you follow on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat that make you happy?
I follow probably more people on Instagram than anything else. I love following Apartment Therapy for different things for kitchen ideas because I dream of having an amazing kitchen some day. I love Hey, Sweet Pea. They’re really fun and inspirational, and they’re a husband/wife team that have started their own business. They started the branding program that I had mentioned previously, so they’re super inspiring.
What is the most unusual or treasured item in your kitchen?
I’ll go with unusual. I bought this super weird pie rack…I wish I could show it to you…but it looks like chicken coop circles. And I guess it was something that they used to cool pies on, and it looks like an empty wired cake pan. You’re supposed to put a pie to cool on top and then a pie to cool on the middle. I saw it at this cool store up in northern California, and I was like, “What is that?” They told me it was a pie cooling rack. So I don’t even know if it really is, but I had my eyes on it.
Name one ingredient you used to dislike but now you love.
Raw onions. I used to hate raw onions, and now I like them. If I’m putting them in sauces and stuff or dressings, it can’t be a ton, but I definitely have learned to like them more.
What are a few cookbooks that make your life better?
Barefoot Contessa, the original cookbook, is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. That is the cookbook that got me cooking.
What song or album just makes you want to cook?
I love listening to the Lumineers. They’re my favorite. And then I love listening to The Black Keys, and sometimes I’ll put on The Beach Boys. That’s fun and upbeat to listen to. Those three are probably my favorite.
On Keeping Posted with Robyn:
Instagram is a great way, and I love comments and stuff on my blog. Email, I check regularly. So any of those platforms are really good. Keep an eye out for YouTube because we hope to have it up and running, and we will definitely post that on the blog. Sweetish.co, the actual blog site, is probably the best way to see what’s up and coming. And Instagram, too. I try to keep that up to day as much as possible.