About Willow Bird Baking

About Willow Bird Baking

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. You can do it.

Perusing photos of other people’s kitchen achievements is entertaining, but accomplishing things in your own kitchen that you never thought possible is life changing. My goal at Willow Bird Baking is to shower you with recipes that are fancy, adorable, sophisticated, tasty, and impressive, but also achievable for the home cook — and then get you in the kitchen! When you pull your first pan of homemade croissants out of the oven or set your gorgeous croquembouche on the dessert table, you’ll have gained a measure of kitchen confidence as well as an exhilarating experience. In this spirit, I hope you’ll join in the adventure.

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About Julie

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.

About Byrd

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!

About YOU!

I want to get to know you as readers, bakers, and bloggers. As you find recipes or techniques here that you enjoy, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts or send a picture for me to post below! Also, feel free to repost recipes you find on this site; just notify me and give proper attribution. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Reader Photos:

Cindy Barnes used her leftover Peach Cobbler Cupcake batter to make a yummy breakfast, but it looks like Parasaurolophus might get to it first!

Amber made some Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes to eat with her mom, and here they are fresh out of the oven! She says, “I think I love you! The cupcakes turned out awesome! I used Lactaid milk with lemon juice instead of buttermilk, and added an extra teaspoon of lemon zest to the batter. The cupcakes turned out light and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness.

Ashlyn whipped up some Plum and Cream Mini Tortes, but opted for peaches instead of plums and allspice instead of cinnamon. She says, “These are some of the tastiest things ever and so simple to make.”

Jaime baked Jack-O’-Lantern Whoopie Pies and said the “recipe was so awesome, I still have people asking me to make them again for our gatherings.” Looks like Frankenstein’s monster approves!

Robin baked Taco Stuffed Crescent Rolls and simply stated, “They were AWESOME.”

Robin O. made a gorgeous Lemon Triumph Cake and said, “I was so proud of myself for making this . . . this lemon cake is definitely going into my ‘hall of fame.'”

Troy sent in a photo of a Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss Cheesecake his friend Alex had baked and said, Needless to say…you have a fan.

Victoria baked a Caramel Fudge Brownie Cheesecake and says “it went down ammmazingly!!! Everyone loved it!!! They would not stop asking about what was in it, saying it was the best thing they had tasted!!

Emma baked Lemon Burst Fairycakes. A fellow science nerd, she decorated them with “worms with GFP motor neurons or ventral cords, mutant coiling worms, and of course some flowers for the top.” She adds, “Thanks so much for reminding me how much fun it is to experiment with food and bring people together to enjoy it!”

Erin baked Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes. She said, “Thanks for your Ferrero Rocher recipe! The chocolate frosting is, indeed, AMAZING.” She already has plans to use it with other desserts as well!

Helen baked a red velvet cheesecake. She said, “Thanks again for a very do-able recipe!

Trudy baked a birthday cake cheesecake for her boyfriend. She said, “The cake turned out great! My boyfriend loved it and it was officially the best cheesecake ever.

Cathy from So Much CaKe made Maple Bacon Doughnuts for her husband. She said, “They were quite amazing, the birthday boy/man loved them!! So did my Dad…he wants some for his birthday now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again!

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.


54 responses to “About Willow Bird Baking

  1. Hey Julie! I think you and I should start the “I like to have at least 3 blogs at one time club” ;D

    No, really, I was excited to see this new development, I love reading about your baking experiences, it’s actually kind of inspired me to photograph and chronicle a few of my own, although mine are a bit more haphazard…as am I ๐Ÿ™‚

    But there is something nice about making the whole thing a kind of event to be blogged about…

    Anyways, YAY for the new blog!

    • Willow Bird Baking

      Hey Becca! HA I like your club idea!

      I completely agree about treating cooking (or any creative process) as an event to be blogged about. It really changes my attitude about it. I’m eager to execute things well and share them, and I think I enjoy the process more envisioning the blog post at the end! This kind of makes me feel like this, but oh well! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for reading!! Are your baking endeavors on your blog? I’m off to check!

    • Alisa

      Soo.. after reading this I wholeheartedly think you should have your own book/movie.. you know Julie & Julia.. except maybe Julie & .. okay haven’t gotten that far.. but that’s not the point.. ๐Ÿ™‚ how fun to chronicle your baking!

      • Julie

        Thank you, Alisa!! I’m so excited to see the movie (Julie & Julia). Maybe I could work toward a Julie & Julia 2? I would love to try ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love the comic! It’s so true! When I was little, I used to narrate my day in my head, describing details and events like it were a book someone was going to read…blogging is much the same, except, there’s an actual audience (or opportunity for one!)

  3. Nicki

    Hey Julie!
    I love reading your blogs and checking out all your new recipes you have posted and I am always eager to see what is yet to come!
    I have friends/family who enjoy cooking so I have sent them a link to your website to read/try things out that they might enjoy!
    Keep the recipes (and pictures of delicious looking food) coming!

  4. Hi Julie,
    your cooking looks delish! I’m inspired by good cooks like you to make my own blog. Thanks for the inspiration!
    blessings, Rachel

  5. Stephanie

    You go girl! It’s always so exciting to visit blogs and see that other people are as excited about food and creating delicious meals and nibbles for their loved ones. I am enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing with us all.

  6. just found your blog, can’t wait to keep reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi Julie,

    I have watched your baking adventures through the BakeBakeBake community and always found them inspiring. I was curious about the face behind all this deliciousness, and stumbled upon your ‘about’ page. I must say I can connect to your fealings of making people happy with baked goods. I myself have a nerdy boyfriend like Mike who is always willing to try anything I make. Your Valentine post is very sweet! I am planning on making a heart-shaped red velvet cake for my Love. Well, keep up the good work and I look forward to your next creations ๐Ÿ™‚

    Greetings, Anouschka

  8. Michelle

    Great blog…not usually a fan of sweet, but that carrot cake looks awesome!

  9. Hey Julie–

    Happy belated birthday and anniversary! I have a question. Have you every looked into desserts sweetened without refined sugars? Also, where can we send handwritten (or drawn by Lilla) fan mail? We love your website and drool every time you post something new.

    Love ya!

    • Julie

      Aw, thank you so much, Ayisha! I would love mail from Lilla (and the littlest bean when he, you know, develops fine motor skills ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to email you because we need to catch up. Congrats on selling your house!

      My mom is a big fan of using various sweeteners — she’s done things with honey, agave, stevia, etc. I haven’t even looked into it, but will have to do so!

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  11. Julie! I just stumbledupon your blog! That’s so exciting, I feel like you’re famous ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Julie

      Yay! That’s so funny! It’s been a StumbleUpon heavy day — the carrot cake waffles are drumming up a ton of traffic. Love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Hi Julie–would you know that I stumbled upon your blog via Smitten Kitchen in the comment section. I feel like I rarely hit the other commentors (my word) and if I do, I only visit once or twice. At least from a bigger blog like Deb’s with 100s of comments a post.

    Anyway, I sense a kindred baker spirit when I see & read one. I am taken by the treats you make for your loved ones and what it means to you to creatively love them in this tangible way. From the Pacific Northwest ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. What a lovely name and site. “Willow bird” – just makes me think of a bird sitting outside a window chirping while there’s something sweet in the oven.

  14. nikkigreer


    Glad you stumbled upon my blog so that I could find yours. All your recipes make me very hungry…


  15. hey Julie! I’m a believer in charlotte too and just randomly happened across your site — lovely! would love to bake together and experiment with you anytime! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. charlotte b

    awesome website. I absolutely love the cheesecake!

  17. your french toast was one of my faves at the tasting pavillion! happy to have found your blog.

  18. Nikki

    I don’t have my own blog but I vote on the Project Food Blog every week and I just wanted to say I was never a fan of cheesecake but after watching your video, I think I may have been converted. You made it look so easy and yummy!

  19. true word77

    Just spotted my brownie cheesecake on here lol loving it! i have another project in the pipeline, red velvet white brownie cheesecake!?!

    i would love to see anything similar on here- you are the cheesecake Queen!


  20. I have followed you at the food_porn LJ community for a while now, and love your blog! I’ve just begun a cooking blog myself (at the request of family and friends) and have you linked on my page. You have inspired me to make a culinary goals list of sorts of things I would like to learn to fix during the next year. Your croquembouche cake was the spark!

  21. I happened upon your blog from your Lemon Triumph Cake recipe on the Tipnut site and I have to say that I am very excited about looking through your blog and working my way through all the yummy things! I have recently had to go gluten free, so I will hopefully be experimenting with some of your recipes to see if they will still work with gluten free flours. My mom left our family when I was very young, so my twin brother and I grew up experimenting in the kitchen. There was no one around to tell us we were doing something wrong, so we became very creative with our cooking (sometimes much to the chagrin of my father and brothers). Now I have 5 little boys of my own and I hope to pass on the same love for food and creativity that was unwittingly given to me as I grew up. My brother’s love grew into making delectable entrees, where mine has focused more on the baking side of things. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and inspiring the rest of us to be a little bit bolder than we might have been before we visited. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. dee

    hi julie – i loved your stories and recipes!! .. can’t wait to try out your red velvet cheesecake!! I love baking myself, please feel free to check out my cheesecake website and facebook page at http://www.deesdelite.com (where I posted a vid of you this morning!). Hope you like it!! Sending you sweet wishes, xo! – dee

  23. Meg

    Julie! I absolutely adore your blog. I also teach Language Arts and do the bakery thing, but I am not yet at your level. Maybe some day. I taught in South Korea with your sister for a while, and adored her as well. Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and offer my congratulations and words of admiration on everything you’re doing here. I know you’re likely a very busy lady, but if you get a moment, perhaps you could hit me back. Any bakery-starting advice is more than welcome! You’re a rock star!

  24. Hello…again (slightly embarassed look on face). I found this part of your page and decided to write on it as well. I previously left a comment on your Charlotte Observer piece. Again, congrats. I’m sure you can’t get enough of the compliments, right? Well, I just wanted to share my blog, I am not exactly sure how you want us to upload a picture, but I figured the best way to do this is just to let you know about our blog. I’m from Charlotte and my husband is from Bogotรก, Colombia. We’re living in Colombia and we created this food blog as a way to share our cooking experience with family, friends and the world. I hope you have some time in your busy schedule to take a look or at least reply to this comment. Oh, and I love the fact that you respond to almost every comment. I do the same, because I feel like it’s only fitting to “give back” to those who take out time in their day to say something nice about your work. Ok, Oprah moment over. I’ll let you go.

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  26. Sara

    Hi Julie! I stumbled across your blog this morning while searching for some homemade cereal recipes (yours look great, by the way!). I absolutely love your blog. You seem so sweet and your zest and passion for cooking/baking, and life in general, is so inspiring. Just wanted to let you know. So excited to try some of your recipes! ~Sara

  27. Hi Julie! I discovered the most wonderful place over the weekend and I had to tell you about it! It is THE CRUSHED OLIVE in Hickory. They sell THE most amazing olive oils and balsamic vinegars and best of all you can taste any or all of them!!! I bought a raspberry balsamic ( which we had over fruit salad. Delicious.) and…wait for the angels to sing…an espresso balsamic.I can hardly wait to try it over vanilla ice cream or in a bbq sauce. I think you will really love this store.

  28. Andrew Nielsen

    Ms. Ruble,
    I just made a banana pudding all by myself I’m so proud! It was the recipe from Our State: North Carolina magazine. They have so many good southern comfort foods. you should make a new twist on banana pudding or banana cream pie, that would be awesome!
    -Andrew Nielsen

  29. Pingback: Pumpkin Spice Pull Apart Bread with Rum Butter Glaze | Family Kitchen

  30. Okay, Julie, I’m a wreck here. My children will be up in 7 hours, there’s laundry everywhere, and I should probably shower today (yes, it’s 11 p.m.). I’m barely managing my time between raising the kiddos and writing my blog and finishing a book (because what else will I do during their naptimes? Clean?) and having actual conversations with my husband…and then I see your blog. And I realize that I am sca-rewed for time management now because I will be on here all the time, making whatever it is you throw my way. Especially if it looks as easy and awesome as those sopapilla/cheesecakes bars.

    So thank you. And I’m off to bed, because apparently I have some ingredients to purchase first thing…

  31. Pingback: Fall Recipes Roundup-Pumpkin Spice Pull-Apart Bread with Butter Rum Glaze | Noel's Kitchen Tips

  32. Sarah

    Hi Julie!

    I found your blog from following a link on pinterest, and after wasting a few good hours that I should’ve been spending in the studio on it, I realized that you’re from Charlotte! Crazy small world. Let’s hope you open up a cafe of epicurean delights some day so that I can pop by and visit. In the meantime – I’ll be trying out some of your recipes once break rolls around and I have time to eat things other than microwave-in-the-bag edamame.

    Thanks for sharing all of the eye candy, look forward to future posts.

    – Sarah

  33. KristinaYellow

    I love your website–you really do make it seem like it’s doable for anyone to bake. I love to bake…just don’t know what to do with it all once it’s done! My husband doesn’t like to take it to work–he’s too shy even though I bet his coworkers would like it. But still, thanks for sharing all your talent. It’s helping me regain my confidence in the kitchen and hopefully will pass that love on to my toddler! If you are ever in the University area, give me a buzz ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aw, thanks Kristina! I bet his coworkers would like it too! He can always leave it in a common area with a sign so he doesn’t have to announce that he brought a cake. LOL. I love that you’re a Charlottean, too! I’m up by Northlake Mall. We should hang out!

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