A compilation of Wicked Good Kitchen favorites from our loyal readers, our own favorites and the favorites of visitors to our site along with some interesting statistics looking back over our first year in blogging.
Today I wanted to take the time to thank all of you who read my little food blog of wicked goodness. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and drop a line or two, to give some high five’s or to share your thoughts and leave words of encouragement when times were rough. Thank you for your support in pinning my recipes over at Pinterest and thank you for the Twitter shout outs and well wishes, too. I cannot thank you enough for your support! It means so very much to me as a relatively new food blogger.
The year 2013 was a challenging, interesting and rewarding year. Although I never quite got around to a first blog anniversary post (I’m terrible about doing such things for myself), I am planning a special post and recipe for you and to mark the occasion, as well as honor a friend, and hope to publish it on Friday. It is taking a bit of time because there is a companion tutorial post to serve as either a primer or refresher based on baking experience. It is a fabulous recipe and I just know you will be thrilled with it!
Keeping true to our commitment to celebrate the holiday season through January 7th, using the Gregorian calendar (as mentioned prior), The Big Lug and I are still celebrating! The season just seemed too fleeting not to. In fact, our Christmas tree is still up (albeit there has been some major needle shed of late), our wreath is still on our front door and we received a wallop of a blizzard snowstorm on Sunday leaving us with nearly one foot of snow here in Central Indiana. Nearly one foot of snow, people! Oh, how we both love snow. After enjoying the beautiful snowfall, with huge fluffy ‘Charlie Brown snowflakes’, and feeling like we were living in a snow globe, we dug ourselves out and there now exists a huge
pile mountain of snow in our front yard. Needless to say, it still feels like the holidays around here!
Blowing and drifting snow, along with sub-zero temps (the coldest temps in 20 years here), kept The Big Lug home with me yesterday as he took a personal day off from work along with the rest of his team. So, this information packed post was not completed (read: formatted in WordPress) until this morning to publish here on the blog.
This recap post was so much fun to prepare and it was interesting to see the differences between the reader favorites (measured by the number of comments) versus the number of page visits per recipe coming from Pinterest, Google, etc. when compared to our own favorites. And, there was a surprise for the #1 spot in the most viewed recipes of 2013. Well, in part, this is due to the copyright infringement troubles we faced last August with our Cherry Pie Crumble Bars when Pinterest pulled all the pins down off their site unbeknownst to us when we filed our copyright complaint against a single Pinterest user who is a known spammer amongst several veteran group board owners. Since the numbers are so close, we just know that our Cherry Pie Crumble Bars recipe would have been #1 otherwise soaring far past the surprise recipe as it is the #1 recipe with our readers. Still, it was quite a surprise to see the other recipe hit the #1 spot with so many page views!
Goals for this Blog
Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you my promise and a goal I have set for this blog. Going forward, I promise to include more dairy free, gluten free and grain free recipes, along with fabulous conventional recipes, so you have a reliable source at your fingertips for tasty and satisfying as well as safe alternatives to your favorites. Why? Because, when you look back at your blog statistics and read the top keywords and key phrases entered into your blog search, it becomes absolutely clear to you what people are searching for and what they want!
However, attention must also be paid to what people like best. It is apparent to me that you want even more wickedness! So, I have made plans to share more conventional wicked recipes as well for those times when you need something scrumptious to scratch the itch of a major crave or to celebrate a special occasion—even if it is just for a casual gathering to watch the Super Bowl!
Stats: Let’s take a look…
Y’all are searching for the following Top 25 Keywords:
Free, gluten, recipe, paleo, cookies, chocolate, yeast, cinnamon, rolls, cheese, cream, cherry, cake, pie, chip, no, cookie, with, without, apple, cobbler, Russian, carrot, tea and cheesecake.
Meanwhile, you are also searching for these Top 10 Key Phrases:
Gluten free Russian teacakes, white chocolate cream cheese frosting, paleo chocolate chip cookies, happy new year, cinnamon rolls without yeast, gluten free apple cobbler, homemade cinnamon rolls no yeast, no yeast cinnamon rolls, carrot cheesecake and paleo chocolate chip cookies.
Kind of interesting, no? And, what is with the ‘happy new year’ in there? 😉
Take a look at Wicked Good Kitchen’s growth over the first year from our visit stats via HostGator.com.
Although it looks impressive, I’m not exactly sure how this stacks up when compared to other first year food blogs. I would like to think it’s not too shabby for the amount and type of posts with special diet recipes. I believe in quality over quantity anyway. Also, I did not host any giveaways and I do not belong to an ad network (yet). We shall see about this now that we are starting our second year! Also, somehow I still need to find the time to submit our images and links to TasteSpotting.com, FoodGawker.com, etc. to improve our traffic. With writing a paleo baking cookbook with cutting edge recipes, I am just overwhelmed with administrative tasks of running the blog and never seem to have enough time or even sleep. In fact, I thought I would have time to do it over Christmas vacation, but I chose vacation and experimental dairy-free baking instead! Remember…I recently learned I am allergic to dairy. So, this was very important.
Here is a look as to where our traffic is coming from.
The fact that a high percentage of our traffic comes from Pinterest seems both natural and yet slightly troubling. With Google being in second place, this proves that we must improve our SEO. As for Facebook traffic, we receive an impressive amount as well. It comes from the wonderful friends of Wicked Good Kitchen who share links to our recipes. (We are not and have no plans to become a Facebook member. It is their TOS we do not agree with. I will reserve my thoughts for perhaps a future blog post.) However, the Facebook traffic doesn’t show via the Alexa graphic (above) but only with the traffic data provided by our hosting company, HostGator.com.
Without further delay, here are our lists of the Top 13 Recipes of 2013 for Wicked Good Kitchen starting with the most-viewed in a countdown!
Top 13 Recipes: Most Viewed
13. Mom’s Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling – This recipe is a special one. It is a retro recipe that was revamped. It has been simplified and improved by using tapioca starch. It is also a recipe component for our Cherry Pie Crumble Bars, Cherry Hand Pies and Tart Cherry Crisp. And, of course, I will be adding more cherry recipes this summer with fresh picked tart cherries!
12. Ultimate Moist & Fudgy Brownies (dairy & grain free) – This recipe is yet another retro recipe that has been revamped. It was adapted from a tried and true recipe and is THE BEST dairy and grain free brownie we have ever tasted! You will love them and never know they are both dairy and grain free.
11. Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake Bakery-Style – Carrot cake and cheesecake have never tasted better! The uniqueness of this recipe is just not the combination of two favorite cakes, but also the unique Cream Cheese Buttercream recipe which is the best ever! It is the best due to the butter content, far greater than other recipes. This makes it pipe beautifully. It was inspired by the recipe by Better Homes and Gardens. This special layer cake recipe is ideal for Easter, so be sure to bookmark it now!
10. Gingerbread Layer Cake with Bourbon, Pecans & Caramel Sauce (paleo) – This recipe had been knocking around my head for quite some time utilizing my unique grain free flour blend. It was featured over at Sylvie’s blog, Gourmande in the Kitchen, for her holiday recipe roundup. It is moist and absolutely scrumptious!
9. Baked Beans Cowboy Style (gluten free option) – This recipe is not only a favorite of The Big Lug’s but it is also a favorite of mine. These beans are made with a dark beer reduction and the balance of sweet, spicy and smoky will knock your socks off! Be forewarned, they are very addicting and I guarantee requests for second helpings. Perfect recipe for BBQ and cookout season!
8. Best Ever Apple Cobbler (gluten free option) – This recipe is very special but, by the number of comments, I thought I had failed. Traffic says otherwise. The recipe employs a unique method to guarantee the filling is juicy and not watery, never dry, but just perfect! Our favorite way to thicken fruit for pies is with tapioca flour for a nice clear, flavorful and glistening filling. Tapioca starch is used here and the filling is simply irresistible. Two different toppings are offered to include the unique cinnamon roll biscuit topping. Apple cobbler never tasted so good!
7. Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler (gluten free option) – This recipe is incredibly good! And, it is easy and foolproof when followed properly. This blueberry cobbler is a summer favorite of The Big Lug’s for good reason. It has a unique biscuit crumble topping resembling buttery biscuits, shortbread sugar cookies and pie pastry. Whip up this special blueberry cobbler and it will be your new go-to recipe!
6. Russian Teacakes aka Snowballs (gluten free option) – This is definitively THE BEST Russian Teacakes recipe you will ever make, period! The recipe comes from my great grandmother and it was handed down to her by a professional baker in the family in Germany (or ‘the old country’ as she would say). It is made with all butter, sugar instead of confectioners’ sugar and plenty of walnuts at 2 full cups (not just 3/4 cup). In addition, the recipe offers a special gluten free flour blend to make a gluten free version that equals the original!
5. Christmas Cranberry Buckle (gluten free option) – Wow! We cannot get over the fact that this very recent recipe even made the top 10. However, when you account for people baking and looking for baking recipes more often during the month of December, it certainly makes sense. This Christmas coffee cake recipe has become a holiday tradition at our house. The citrus shines in this buttery, moist and tender cake recipe and contrasts well with the tart cranberries. The buttery sugar cookie streusel topping is simply scrumptious!
4. Best Ever No-Yeast Cinnamon Rolls (gluten free option) – This is a recipe I developed back in 1996. The secret is the use of sour cream and egg yolks to make a rich, buttery biscuit dough yielding moist and scrumptious biscuits that rival other dry, no-yeast cinnamon rolls. The tender biscuit is sort of like a cross between a biscuit and sour cream coffee cake. You will love the ease of this recipe, too, as they can even be made overnight style.
3. Grandma’s Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread (gluten free option) – What a huge surprise! This cornbread recipe was just added to the blog during Thanksgiving week. It uses our own all-natural mix, Homemade Sweet Cornbread Mix, with a gluten free option. The recipe was developed to be used in recipes where prepared box cornbread mixes are called for such as corn pudding. (See our recipe for Sweet Honey Corn Pudding.) This cornbread is very rich in corn flavor!
2. Cherry Pie Crumble Bars (gluten free option) – The ranking of this insanely delicious recipe was no surprise. In fact, we had expected it to rank at #1. For reasons mentioned above, this didn’t happen. But, it did rank #1 with our readers! The recipe calls for our recipe for Mom’s Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling. A summer favorite. You will love it!
1. White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream – The ranking of this recipe was a complete shock! Astonishing. It certainly has been a very popular recipe and pinners at Pinterest enjoy pinning it. This beautiful ivory and silky buttercream is versatile. Not only is it ideal for frosting special occasion cakes but also for frosting everyday cakes, cupcakes and cheesecakes!
Top 13 Recipes: Reader’s Choice
- Cherry Pie Crumble Bars (gluten free option)
- Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler (gluten free option)
- Wicked Black Magic Brownies (bourbon brownies with gluten free option)
- Cherry Hand Pies (gluten free option)
- Ultimate Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mom’s Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling
- Coconut Ginger Lime Margarita
- Cherry Berry Sundae Sauce with Red Wine
- Paleo Carrot Cake with Cashew-Coconut Buttercream
- Gingerbread Layer Cake with Bourbon, Pecans & Caramel Sauce (paleo)
- Christmas Cranberry Buckle (gluten free option)
- Tart Cherry Crisp (gluten free option)
- Tutti Frutti Lemon Cheesecake Bites (quick & easy)
Top 13 Recipes: Our Personal Favorites
- Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler
- Cherry Pie Crumble Bars
- Ultimate Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cherry Hand Pies
- Wicked Black Magic Brownies (bourbon brownies)
- Russian Teacakes aka Snowballs
- Best Ever No-Yeast Cinnamon Rolls
- Christmas Cranberry Buckle
- Coconut Ginger Lime Margarita
- Sparkling Tart Cherry Margarita
- Baked Beans Cowboy Style
- Cheesy Corn & Pepper Baked Santa Fe Dip
- Paleo Carrot Cake with Cashew-Coconut Buttercream, Gingerbread Layer Cake with Bourbon, Pecans & Caramel Sauce and Strawberry Shortcake with Mixed Berries (paleo)
The above represents favorites by me and The Big Lug. Since I couldn’t decide which paleo cake is best, I just included them all in a solid tie.
It has been an incredible year here at Wicked Good Kitchen and it has been my pleasure to develop original recipes or adapt others to share with you here on the blog. There is no greater reward than knowing I have helped others with their special diet or made others happy with a new favorite recipe that may bring back fond memories.
Meanwhile, I hope you have enjoyed this little recap of recipes from our first year.
Happy New Year, my friends!