Willow Bird Baking is the chronicle of the kitchen experiments, successes, failures, discoveries, messes, miracles, and musings of a determined upstart of a baker. It was founded on the belief that the best way to learn to make beautiful, delicious food is to try making beautiful, delicious food.
When I began cooking after college, I started small — with a pan of cupcakes for my boyfriend, Mike. As I continued to build my skills, I realized a truth I hope to pass along to others: perusing other people’s kitchen achievements is entertaining, but accomplishing things in your own kitchen is life changing. Every recipe on Willow Bird Baking (whether fancy, cute, sophisticated, pretty, tasty, decadent, or intense) is achievable for the home cook. I know, because this home cook tested it.
When you pull your first pan of homemade croissants out of the oven or set your gorgeous croquembouche on the dessert buffet, you feel an exhilarating burst of kitchen confidence. That’s my goal for myself and for you. I hope you’ll join in the adventure.
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When I was a little girl, I was in charge of the rice pilaf. I come from a family passionate about food: my grandma made the biscuits and gravy, my dad made the chicken and dumplings, and my mom made anything and everything, with a flourish of buttercream on top. My parents blazed a trail of fried chicken, homemade macaroni, and angel biscuits from their beginnings in the Midwest to my current home in the South (Charlotte, North Carolina).
That’s where I come from, and this is who I am: a believer, first and foremost, saved by grace. A writer in love with monumental, stirring images. And not least, a wrangler of ingredients and kitchen utensils. I love the challenge of a new recipe, and I love the community created by baking, sharing, eating, and communicating about food. I’ve got a warm space in my heart dedicated to impressing the people I love with something that tastes amazing.
Willow Bird Baking is named after someone very dear to my heart. On April 12, 2008, I drove to Dreamweaver Farms, the home of Carolina Poodle Rescue in Spartanburg, SC. Dozens of beautiful, healthy poodles were playing and milling about in the kennel — all except one, whose eyes were locked on mine from the moment I stepped in the door. I looked at her little face and knew that this was the puppy God had made for me.
Byrd dressed for Halloween as a popular euphemism.
Since then, little Byrd has been a devoted and loving companion, a sweet sister to my handsome turtle, a giver of sloppy kisses, a pillow warmer, a fervent fetcher, and the best cookin’ buddy anyone can ask for. See if you can catch her in the background of some of my photos sleeping on the back of the couch or pining for a bit of cupcake!
All photos and words on this site are the work of Julie Ruble unless otherwise noted, and they represent a lot of hard work. Please do not use any photos or text from Willow Bird Baking without first contacting juruble ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com and receiving written permission.