Cooking Superstar

Sweetness and Bite

Cook along with #CookingSuperstar Natalie from Sweetness and Bite

Tauranga, New Zealand

When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?

I started cooking and baking with my mum when I was very young. She says I refused to use a recipe and insisted on making up my own, and all she was allowed to do was make sure all the ingredients were edible. I do remember making a lot of rock-hard muffins that my poor father had to eat!

I developed Chronic fatigue Syndrome (also known as ME) when I was 13, and a few years after that, when my health began to improve a bit, I started making cakes for my friends and family. I made a Cinderella carriage cake for my niece’s 4th birthday and totally fell in love with decorating cakes. My obsession with all things sweet and pretty snowballed from there.

What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?

I live with my parents and I’m pretty lucky that they just put in a brand new kitchen, which has a lot of features designed for my baking/blogging. I spent two weeks filling and organising a whole pantry just for my cake decorating and baking supplies. There are a lot of plastic drawers, dividers and containers involved! We also now have a 1.4m x 2.8m island bench which is just awesome for baking and taking photos for the blog.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?

Just try things out, don’t be scared of failing. The worst that’s going to happen is it’ll be inedible. Or you might burn the house down (but try not to do that!)

Also, find someone you enjoy learning from, whether it’s from a cookbook, or on a blog or website, or videos on YouTube. Finding someone who explains things in a way you understand and enjoy reading/watching will give you confidence and make all the difference. Even better if it’s someone you can contact to ask questions if you’re confused.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. Actually, to be honest it would just be all my friends and family, because most of them don’t live nearby and it would be nice to have them all together. Plus I know they like my food! A big roast dinner (dragging my mother in to help cook it, because I’m terrible with getting the timing right for big meals!) and some form of cheesecake for dessert would be perfect.

Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?

I’ve been through a lot of crafts and hobbies in my life, but right now I’ve been enjoying learning to crochet. Last year when my best friend was pregnant I decided I wanted to learn to crochet some things for her baby. A few YouTube tutorials later and I was hooked (pun totally intended). I wish I’d started learning years ago!

Which cooking blogs do you love to read?

Sweetapolita, Sprinklebakes, A Beautiful Mess, Chelsea Winter, How Sweet Eats, Veena Azmanov, Viva La Butetrcream and Bake, Play, Smile. I read so many blogs that I'm sure I'm forgetting someone!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks so much for inviting me, I really hope the Cut Out + Keep readers enjoy these recipes!

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What's your favorite...

TV Show
Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Young Sheldon
Too many to choose from! I have ridiculously eclectic taste in music but right now I’m listening to a lot of Postmodern Jukebox.
Wellington, New Zealand


Love Actually, Notting Hill, Lord of the Rings + The Hobbit (of course, I’m from NZ, aka. “Middle Earth”!)

Cook Book
BakeWise by Shirley Corriher, Sugar Baby by Gesine Bullock-Prado and Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen

I enjoy bits and pieces from most cuisines.
Vanilla Extract and Chocolate 

Kitchen Gadget
My KitchenAid mixer. And rubber spatulas!