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Like many home bakers, Eloise Head leaned hard into her hobby during the pandemic shutdown, taking advantage of her long hours at home to experiment with sweet treats. But unlike most home bakers, Head is also an accomplished food photographer — her pre-pandemic gig was creating photo and video content for restaurants — with an uncanny intuition for cute treats with crave-worthy flavor combinations.
When she launched an Instagram page, Fitwaffle Kitchen, to showcase her creations, sweet tooths and home cooks took notice, soon landing her 7.7 million followers across her social media channels and over 100 million views of her top recipes on TikTok and Instagram. For fans who want to keep all her recipes close at hand, she released a cookbook, “Baking It Easy,” which features not only favorite recipes from her Instagram page but also many other personal favorites, almost all beginner-friendly and most featuring five or fewer ingredients.
But Head’s life and diet are far from all sweets, all the time. A former personal trainer, she’s as passionate about fitness as she is about sweets — and yes, she firmly believes you can (and should!) enjoy both of these at the same time. In an exclusive interview, Head shared her food tips, thoughts on recipe development, and plans for the future.
What inspired you to start developing and sharing your dessert recipes?
I’ve always loved food, and I’ve always loved baking. Before I started sharing recipes, I used to take photos and videos for restaurants. When lockdown hit, I’d always wanted to start sharing recipes online, but never had the time. Lockdown was the perfect time to start sharing my recipes, and because everyone was at home and in lockdown, it wasn’t the best of times. I wanted to give people something to do whilst they were at home, and I wanted to create a community that was positive in a time of difficulty. That’s what inspired me to start posting recipes on my social media. Lockdown was pretty much my beginning, there.
Were you surprised at the positive response to your recipes?
I was, yeah. I’d hoped they’d be popular. I posted a few recipes in the past, and they’d done fairly well on my pages, but I never thought the response would be as huge as it was. That was really positive. Whenever you change something that you are doing, you never know what the response is going to be. I was really happy to see that it was so positive.
For you, what are the features of a great recipe?
When it comes to baking and creating recipes specifically for baking, I love the bake to have different layers and different textures. For example, a cheesecake with a crumbly, buttery base, and to have a cold, creamy filling, and to have something on top — like a rich chocolate ganache, or some sort of topping, whether that’s whipped cream or fruit or something. Different textures in a bake make a really good recipe.
Fitness is also important for you, and I understand that’s where you came up with the name for Fitwaffle. What role can sweets play in a healthy lifestyle?
I was a personal trainer for around six years, and I started Fitwaffle as a hobby. When I was in college, I had quite a poor relationship with food, and I was restricted with what I ate. I would give foods such a moral value. Some foods I would put on a pedestal, and others I would demonize, which is not a very healthy way of looking at food. It definitely wasn’t for me. It put me in quite a bad place with food and [with] my body.
Now, my message is balance and moderation. I don’t think that we should give foods a moral value and to view them as good or bad. That’s subjective to each individual. It’s important to be able to enjoy high-calorie foods such as desserts and sweets in moderation, alongside a highly nutritious diet, without any feelings of guilt around these certain foods.
Related to that, could you share what a typical food day is like for you? What do you like to eat when you’re not eating desserts?
I try and eat a good amount of protein with each of my meals, and they’re all quick and easy to make. Because I’m in the kitchen cooking all the time, I generally want something that’s nice and quick and easy and that doesn’t involve too much cooking. When I’m not cooking, I can be a bit more adventurous. But a lot of the time, it needs to be really quick. For breakfast, I’ll generally have something like Greek yogurt with fruit and honey on it. It’ll be quite light in the morning.
For lunch, I’ll generally have something like a sandwich, with some sort of protein filling, whether that’s chicken, or ham, or tuna, or something like that. I also might have a salad or some fruit on the side of that. I tend to snack on something like chicken bites, marinated chicken, or protein bars. I try and get my protein in as much as possible.
For dinner, I’ll usually have some sort of protein, chicken or fish. I’ll have a carbohydrate, a potato or rice, and some sort of vegetable, whether that’s peas or a mixture of vegetables. I also really like things like chicken stir fry with rice, and spaghetti and meatballs — nice and quick and easy, and gets in all my main food groups.
I’ll also usually — almost always — have some sort of dessert after my main meal, as in my dinner. That will be something small, sometimes a couple of chunks of chocolate, or it’ll be a bake from today, or yesterday, or whatever I baked. I might have a small ice cream or something like that. I do tend to snack on what I’m baking throughout the day as well.
Ah, I was wondering what happens to all that stuff!
I try and give it away as much as possible, and I try and freeze it as well.
Can you tell us about your book, “Baking It Easy,” and what inspired it?
Definitely. My book is all about making baking easy, fun, and accessible. It’s mostly aimed at beginners and people [who] want to have fun in the kitchen. It’s packed with recipes that use just three, four, and five ingredients, using flavors that people generally know and love — for example, Oreos. It was inspired by my social media and my following, who tend to love all my low-ingredient bakes. They always perform well on my social media. I see a lot of people want to get involved. I think that’s because it’s non-intimidating, and people look at it and think, “That looks easy. I can do that.”
That’s basically what my book’s about. I also have some of my personal favorites in there, and some of my most popular bakes from my social media at the back, which have more than five ingredients in. There’s a chapter at the back of my all-star bakes, my fan favorites, and things like that.
What is your favorite recipe from the book, and why?
My favorite recipe from the book is a cinnamon apple cake, which is at the back of the book. This one has more than five ingredients, but it has everything that I want out of a cake. Think cinnamon rolls mixed with an apple cake. It’s a really moist cake. It’s got chunks of cinnamon apple in there, it’s got a buttery cinnamon swirl, and it’s got a glaze on top. There’s loads of different textures through it. It’s really juicy and really flavorsome. It’s my absolute favorite. If I was to have a birthday cake, I’d probably choose that.
Do you have any big projects planned in the future?
I do have some big projects — some that I can’t share yet, but hopefully, I will be able to soon. Long-term, I’m looking to expand my business and build a team around me so that I can produce more long-form content. At the moment, it’s just me that does all the baking, and all the cooking, and all the editing, and all of that. There’s only so much that I can do. I’m looking to expand that and be able to continue to build my community on social media.
Follow Eloise Head and Fitwaffle Kitchen on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. “Baking It Easy” is now available for pre-order here.
This interview was edited for clarity.