Hi! I’m Alexandra.
My friends call me Alex.
I create, test, and photograph all of the recipes on Bright-Eyed Baker. I LOVE desserts and other baked goods - so you’ll find plenty of those here - but I’m also a big fan of coffee and a good craft cocktail. Be on the lookout for those recipes as well!
The Philosophy Behind Bright-Eyed Baker
My goal here is twofold: create from scratch as much as possible, and make it approachable. For me, this means skipping the boxed mixes and other heavily-processed products, and opting for whole foods and simple ingredients as often as I can. It also means that you won’t need to take a trip to an obscure grocery store or enroll in culinary school to make my recipes; they’re designed to be made with ingredients that are accessible to the average person who wants to shop locally, using techniques that are easy to understand and master.
In this vain, you’ll find plenty of what I like to call “DIY” recipes on Bright-Eyed Baker. These are for ingredients or other food and beverages that you might be used to buying, but can easily make at home - everything from cinnamon chips (which can be hard to find in stores) to cranberry sauce (so much better than the canned stuff)!
You’ll also find recipes that can help you reduce waste by making the most of the ingredients you already have. For example, rather than throwing out citrus scraps, you can turn them into candied lemon peel or candied orange peel. Or, you can use the milk that's sitting in your fridge to make homemade buttermilk, so you don’t have to go to the store to buy yet another ingredient. These are little things, but I think they can make a big difference!
My hope is that you’ll find that baking from scratch makes your life better, not harder! All new recipes come with step-by-step photos (so you can follow along if you’re a visual learner) and detailed instructions (so you’re never left questioning if you’re doing it right). I’m largely self-taught and have learned most of my kitchen skills through trial and error, so if I can do it, so can you!
How I Got Here
I started this blog in the summer of 2011 - straight out of my freshman year of college. My mom had very little free time to bake growing up, so I definitely wasn’t raised in the kitchen, but like I said, I’ve always loved my baked goods!
I started experimenting with recipes from a bread-baking book, soon discovered the world of food blogs (which were still relatively new at the time), and decided I should document my creations on a food blog of my own. And that’s how Bright-Eyed Baker was born!
I worked my way through many recipes in an effort to understand the science of baking, and even worked a brief stint at a local bakery. While there, I was able to hone my skills at slightly more intricate techniques, like making macarons and Swiss meringue buttercream, and frosting layer cakes. While the experience taught me that owning a bakery definitely wasn’t my ultimate goal, it reinforced how much I love being able to create in my own kitchen!
Over the 10+ years since I started Bright-Eyed Baker, I’ve graduated college, worked multiple full-time jobs, got a dog, bought a house, and generally realized what it’s like to have many more responsibilities than I did at 18. Because of that, most of the recipes I share now are ones you can easily whip up with an hour or two to spare on the weekend. And while they might not look as fancy as those cakes from the bakery, I can promise you they’re every bit as delicious!
A Note About Baking with Dietary Restrictions
Though I didn’t follow a gluten-free diet when I started this blog, I do now. My boyfriend also happens to have celiac disease, so I fully understand how frustrating it is being unable to eat something due to one small ingredient that could easily be avoided. Because of these circumstances, all of my newer recipes (circa 2017 and later) are either naturally gluten-free or include instructions for a gluten-free modification. In most cases this requires nothing more than a simple flour swap, and allows me to make my recipes accessible to readers whether or not they’re avoiding gluten.
I know I have readers who cannot consume dairy or choose to be vegan, so I also do my best to specify recipe modifications for these dietary needs when possible, and occasionally share recipes that are specifically designed to be vegan-friendly, such as my dairy-free whipped cream and chocolate coconut balls. Whatever your diet may look like, there’s most certainly something for you here!
A bit more about me…
I grew up in a small(ish) town called Clovis in California's Central Valley. After living in Oakland for just over two years after college, I moved back to my hometown, and now live in the neighboring town of Fresno with my boyfriend and dog (our resident crumb picker-upper)! When I’m not baking, I love traveling, snowboarding, going to baseball games (Go Dodgers), taking my dog for walks, and sipping coffee on my back patio.