Below is a collection of frequently asked questions that I receive on a regular basis.

Recipe/Baking Questions

I tried a recipe and it didn’t turn out right. What went wrong? The first thing I would ask is, did you make any type of substitutions or alter the ingredients or technique in any way from the written instructions? When a recipe is published on the site, it means that I have made it successfully the way it is written; if any changes are made to the ingredients or technique, I cannot guarantee the outcome. Aside from changes, there are so many variables when it comes to baking (air temperature, humidity, ingredient temperatures, and so much more) that unless I’m right there in the kitchen with you, it’s going to be virtually impossible for me to pinpoint what exactly went wrong.

Can I substitute X for Y in a recipe? The short answer is, I would strongly recommend that you don’t. More often than not, that extra trip to the store is 100% worth it when it comes to using the ingredients that are called for in a recipe. Once you start changing ingredients, the outcome can be compromised. That being said, we’ve all been in a serious bind before, so I’ve put together a Substitutions page where you can find some common ingredient substitutions that you can use when you’re in a pinch.

Can you provide ingredient measurements in ounces/grams or something other than imperial (U.S.) measurements? In a number of recipes there are some weight measurements included, but at this time I don’t have the ability to convert every ingredient for all of the recipes on the site to multiple units of measure. Please see the Conversions page for basic measurement conversions and ingredient equivalents.

I have a convection oven. How do I need to alter the recipe? The general rule of thumb for converting a recipe from a conventional oven to a convection oven is to either use the same temperature and bake for 75% of the stated time (i.e. if a recipe says to bake for 20 minutes, bake for only 15 if using a convection oven), or you can reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F and bake for the same time or use a combination of reduced time and temperature. You can check out this Convection Oven Temperature Conversion Calculator as a starting point. Also, open the oven door as little as possible during baking.

I’m baking at a high altitude, help! Please see the High Altitude Baking page for some common problems and solutions related to baking at high altitudes.

How do I know if my baking soda and baking powder are still fresh? To test if baking powder is still good, combine 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/3 cup hot water. If it bubbles, it’s still good! To test baking soda, put 2 tablespoons of white vinegar into a small bowl and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. If it fizzes immediately, it’s still good!

What type of mixer, food processor, ice cream maker, cocoa powder (insert kitchen tool or ingredient here) do you use and recommend? Please visit the Tools of the Trade page, where I have listed all of the equipment and common ingredients that I use in my kitchen.

Have you thought about creating low-fat, low-sugar, gluten-free or vegan versions of recipes? In a word, no. Sometimes the very nature of a particular recipe will give it any of those characteristics, but I do not develop recipes specifically for any of those purposes.

Are your recipes your own originals, or do you source them from other places? The recipes on Brown Eyed Baker are a mix of original recipes, family recipes, and those that I have found from other sources, such as cookbooks, magazines and other websites. In the event that a recipe originated in one of those places, there will be an annotation with the name of the original source and link back to the website or cookbook (where applicable) at the bottom of the recipe. If you have any questions or concerns about sources or attribution practices, please feel free to email me:

Can you include the nutritional information for your recipes? Not at this time. There are so many variations in ingredients that it would be difficult to provide you with an accurate number. If you need to obtain the nutritional information, I would recommend using one of the many free online nutritional calculators that are available. You can input the exact brand and type of ingredient you are using, as well as how many servings you plan on making (which may be more or less than what is stated in the recipe).

Blogging Questions

I am starting a food blog. Can you give me some tips or advice on how to get started? Most people who have been running a food blog for a long time started it as a mere hobby, and it grew from there. Start a food blog because you love baking, you love photography, and you love writing. Bake and write from your heart, allowing your personality to come through. Don’t try to sound like someone else, or copy someone else’s style. The very best thing you can do is to be yourself.

Can I share one of your recipes on my blog? Yes, absolutely! I don’t believe in holding recipes hostage; food is love, and I believe whole-heartedly in sharing recipes. I only ask that you share recipes that you have actually made (and are not merely re-printing a recipe), use your own photos of the finished recipe, write the post and recipe in your own words, and provide a link back to the page on where you found the recipe.

Can I use one of your photos on my website? All of the photos that appear on are copyrighted, so please contact me if you would like to use one on your site, as explicit permission is required. The one caveat to that is if you are putting together a roundup of recipes on your site and would like to include a recipe from Brown Eyed Baker and use the accompanying photo, you may do so as long as the photo contains a permalink back to the original recipe on

Can we exchange links? I do not do link exchanges, but if you have a blog or website that you would like me to bring to my attention, please feel free to share it with me.


Do you take all of the photos on Brown Eyed Baker? Yes, all of the photos that appear on this site have been photographed by me, unless stated otherwise.

What type of camera do you use? Which lens? Please see the Photography page for an overview of my approach to food photography, as well as a list of equipment that I use.

General Questions

What do you do with all of the food that you post about? You can’t possibly eat it all! How do you not weigh 1,000 pounds? I eat a little bit of everything that I post here. Sometimes I eat a lot of any particular thing. It just depends. Everything I make is shared with my family, and sometimes what I make has been prepared for a get-together or party, where it’s feeding a lot of people. If I have a lot of leftovers of any particular item, I either freeze them or shuffle them off to work with my mom, where her coworkers are always more than willing to do their part of making sure nothing goes to waste.

I’m going to be in Pittsburgh for a weekend, where should I eat and what should I do? I actually get this question quite often, so I’ve put together a list of favorite places to eat and things to do in Pittsburgh. Enjoy your stay in my beautiful hometown!