Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Today, we chat with Sarah Coates, the sweet-toothed blogger behind The Sugar Hit! and the forthcoming desserts cookbook of the same name. Swing back all week for a new recipe from Coates every day.
All photos courtesy of Sarah Coates
“I don’t think people come to my blog to learn how to make kombucha or achieve spiritual enlightenment,” Sarah Coates said gamely, her voice singsong courtesy of an Australian lilt. No, certainly not, we agreed. Its title, The Sugar Hit!, would surely tip them off.
The neon-splashed site looks like the work of a comic book artist on a sugar high — it’s plastered with cartoon lightening bolts, graphic text, and too many exclamation points to count — with high-octane recipes to match. They include sensory overload-inducing dishes like Nutella-slathered cheesecake ice cream pies, chocolate cookies flecked with peanut butter brittle, and blueberry pie doughnuts. Certainly no kombucha, though Coates might be wrong about the enlightenment thing.
Coates’s double fudge birthday cake popsicles.
The 24-year-old resident of Brisbane, Australia, has run the The Sugar Hit! since 2013, a few years after dropping out of the Queensland University of Technology, which she found stifling.
“I did quite well in high school, and I think everyone expected that I would go on to do quite well in university,” Coates explained. But she was overwhelmed by the inflexibility of the university, which assigns majors at the start of students’ careers and makes it very difficult to change them. “They ask 17-year-olds, ‘What do you want to do for the rest of your life?’” Coates said. “I picked a marketing major in a business degree. I didn’t even know what marketing was. It was crazy.”
Coates did know, however, that she liked to cook. As a child, each night she’d ask her parents, “What’s for dinner?” and whip something up herself if the answer was unsatisfactory. “I was lucky to have parents like mine,” Coates said. Her cooking remained on the savory side of the spectrum throughout her childhood, which Coates attributes to not coming “from a family of bakers.” “I’d go out and buy ice cream and frozen desserts because I’d would never get it at home,” she said, adding that it likely influenced the direction of her then-future blogging career.
After leaving school, Coates bounced around for a few years. She started the The Sugar Hit! and began to craft its signature punchy style. (“I don’t sit down and think, ‘What’s going to be funny?’ It’s an Australian thing — we’re humorous, we can’t help it.) To pay the bills, she eventually found a job as a project manager for a web development team. But the work environment was a “nightmare,” and Coates again found herself wanting to run away.
“I used to get there at 7 in the morning and be there until 5 or 6 at night,” she recalled. “It just seemed crazy to spend that much of my living hours on Earth doing something that I wasn’t really passionate about.”
So she quit, without another job on the horizon. “It was more scary to continue to doing that than to go and to at least try to do something on my own,” Coates said plainly.
To date, Coates’s gamble has paid off. The Sugar Hit! is wildly successful on social media, with more than 11,000 likes on Facebook and 24,000 on Instagram. Her recipes have also found their way to sites like Food & Wine, Food52, Design Sponge, and The Huffington Post. This year, she was a finalist in Saveur’s annual food blog awards in the “baking and desserts” category. And in September, her first cookbook, The Sugar Hit! hits shelves.
“I think it’s always important to remember that you could get hit by a bus or a falling piano at any second, so do something that makes you happy,” Coates told us. “Find a way to make money doing something you enjoy. Don’t second guess things.”
Circle back to Yahoo Food for a new recipe from The Sugar Hit! every day this week.
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