Amazing Bakers & Decorators Interview Series: The Sugar Hit

Have you ever looked at pictures of beautifully decorated cakes or awe-inspiring treats and wondered what inspires the people that create them? We have too! So we put on our journalist hat and scoured the country for Australia’s top talent to create the Queen Amazing Bakers & Decorators Interview Series.

This week’s interview is a very delicious one – we’re chatting with Queen contributor and standout food blogger, Sarah of The Sugar Hit.

Sarah Coates is a food maniac! No standard boring desserts for her, only the most fun, creative, easy, or delicious things she can imagine come out of The Sugar Hit kitchen. Her blog, The Sugar Hit, works on a ‘no calorie wastage’ policy – if it’s on the blog, it’s definitely worth the extra half an hour at the gym. Sarah’s readers come to The Sugar Hit for a good time, whether that be an easy, no-bake pie, or an epic birthday cake. Or something bonkers, like a butterscotch apple jaffle. With The Sugar Hit book coming out in September 2015, and a YouTube channel in the works, who knows what will come next! Keep an eye out for more of this talented lady in the year ahead.

Lastly, you may find that some of Sarah’s recipes look familiar – we’ve been featuring them on the Queen website for quite some time and her Popcorn Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cake has become a thing of legends here at Queen HQ. She’s also developed quite a few recipes just for us. To discover more of Sarah’s work with Queen, click here.

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Q: Sarah, tell us a little about your first baking memory? Was it your own or eating someone else’s delicious creation?

S: I didn’t really come from a baking household. We only ate dessert on special occasions, and a sweet treat was a pretty rare occurrence. But I do remember, once in a blue moon, one of my parents busting out this old, battered electric frying pan to make pancakes. That was a huge deal.

Q: Has baking always been a big part of your life, or did you recently discover it?

S: For me, it’s only a recent discovery. I started baking when I was about 18, and first moved out of home. Once I was churning out batches of brownies, and pies, and homemade ice cream, there was no turning back! Baking is completely addictive, not least because the things you make at home always taste better than anything you can buy.

Q: We know this might be a little hard, but describe your ultimate birthday cake:

S: This is so hard – I’m split between three choices:

1) A blueberry pie. I absolutely love blueberry pie.

2) A stack of doughnuts. Because, doughnuts

3) A Momofuku Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cake – layers of vanilla chocolate chip cake, dark chocolate crumbs, passionfruit curd, and coffee icing. Sounds AMAZING, right?

Q: Have you had a baking disaster, if so tell us a little about it:

S: I hate to jinx myself, but I don’t think I’ve ever really had a baking disaster. I’ve had recipes that didn’t turn out – a gluey cake here, a soggy pie there – but that’s how you learn, right? I wish I had a story about a cake shooting flames into the air, with fire extinguishers and sirens and whatnot, but I sadly do not!

Q: Who or where do you look to for recipe and decorating inspiration? If you have some inspiring blogs or websites please do share!

S: I’m obsessed with instagram at the moment, so here goes, I love @cakesbycliff, @lily_vanilli_cake and @andybowdy for amazing dessert inspiration. For incredible photography and yet more inspiration, I also love @ohladycakes @cookrepublic and @alanadimou. And all these guys are just hilarious, kickass bloggers: @dinexdesign, @witandvinegar, @thehungrybabushka, @dancingthroughsunday, @takeamegabite, and @thealimentalsage.

Q: Can you see any trends in baking at the moment, what do you think will be big for 2015-2016?

S: I think baking is getting more and more fun this year! And everyone is a little more adventurous. I think the salty-sweet trend is here to stay, with people incorporating ingredients like miso paste, and tahini into their desserts a lot. I also love the trend for really beautiful, over the top cakes! The cool thing about these cakes (I call them unicorn cakes) is that they look incredible, but they actually rely on really simple techniques. With a bit of time and patience, anyone can make them.

Q: What Queen products are in your pantry right now? Do you have a favourite Queen product?

S: What Queen products aren’t in my pantry? I put vanilla bean paste in everything, I am completely in love with your maple syrup, I have a box full of food colour liquids and gels, but I think the Queen product I use the most would have to be your glucose syrup. It’s a surprisingly useful, very versatile addition to so many things!

Q: And lastly, what is next on your ‘must bake’ list? Do you have something new or challenging in the works? Do share your secrets!

S: I’ve got my eye on a Unicorn Cake! Layers of a tender buttermilk cake, filled with vanilla buttercream, passionfruit curd and maybe some cacao nibs, topped with torched meringue, edible flowers, chocolate shards, and little glitter-dusted meringue kisses.

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