Eight-year-old Lizzy Early didn’t even have her own Easy Bake Oven. Now, 14 years later, she has a cookbook contract with Deseret Book.
Early, a communications major studying broadcast journalism, turned her love of baking into a profession. Her blog, YourCupofCake.com, features dessert recipes and has drawn so much attention that Early will have her own cookbook on the shelves in March.
Phil Reschke, acquisitions manager for Covenant Communications, the publishing arena for Deseret Book, said the popularity of Early’s blog on social media sites is what attracted the business to her.
“Somebody ran across her blog on Pinterest and thought, ‘Wow this is great,'” Reschke said.
Reschke said when the company contacted Early she was so excited that she was ready to come in the next day.
“She brought cupcakes; nothing communicates quite as well as delicious cupcakes,” Reschke said. “Not only did they look great, they tasted great.”
From that day on, Early spent an entire summer working with Deseret Book to fine-tune the layout and content of her book. Early said her most popular recipes use Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Andes Mints and she needed to get permission to use those brand names in her book.
“General Mills and Andes Mints gave their approval to put their name in the book,” Early said. “Some companies don’t want anything to do with you, but other companies think the free publicity is great.”
Early attributes much of her success to her photos. She takes her own photos and always ensures that they are high quality, with high resolution.
“Probably 85 percent of followers came from Pinterest,” Early said. “I don’t know everything about photography, but cupcakes I can do.”
With so much of her life online, Early said she keeps some parts of her life out of the public’s eye.
“My favorite recipe I won’t even put online, I can’t separate myself from it yet,” Early said. “Some things I’ve got to keep secret.”
Julie Early, Lizzy’s mother, said her blog was successful because the recipes are simple, easy to make and don’t take a lot of time. She said these user-friendly recipes originated from Early’s desire to get more sleep. Early would find ways to make the recipes under 30 minutes.
“She wanted to get it down to a science. It was her own self-motivation to get 15 more minutes of sleep, and she knew exactly how to do that,” Julie Early explained.
Lizzy Early’s passion for cooking and sharing started in her high school years. Bekah Coffey, a dietetics major, has known Early for 10 years. She said that when Early transferred to her high school, she used her cooking skills as a way to jump into the social scene.
“She would always have a basket of muffins every Wednesday,” Coffey said. “People kind of started expecting it. They would wait for Lizzy to bring delicious foods. She became that girl, the one that bakes for everyone.”
Coffey said she thinks Early’s grandmother was her inspiration. Early developed skills in the kitchen that honor her grandmother’s legacy.
“She was a great cook and a really good baker, and Lizzy was kind of envious of those skills,” Coffey said.
Early, now a senior, started her blog only a year and a half ago, but Coffey said it was out of necessity.
“At first she put her recipes online so she could have them on a central location, and then all of the sudden people started following her blog,” Coffey said. “Lizzy played it down and said a few people were following it, but in reality, she was getting 10,000 hits a day.”
What started out as necessity quickly exploded into a business, Early’s site now gets over 30,000 views a day. Coffey said that the blog became so popular that Early turned it into a website.
“At first I think it was kind of overwhelming,” Coffey said. “I think she saw the potential of her recipes, her blog and her website. I think she realized that if she put in the time, it would pay off.”
Another reason Early’s blog was so successful was that she learned the technical side of blogging from a hometown friend, Leigh Anne Wilkes. Wilkes said she has enjoyed watching Early’s blog move from a hobby to a money-making business.
“I’m her blog mommy,” Wilkes said. “It was kind of fun to watch the process, choosing a name for her blog, really watching her grow and watch her confidence grow as a blogger.”
To some, the next step would be to open a shop to sell her cupcakes, but Early said she doesn’t think she will ever take this route.
“It goes against my philosophy,” Early said. “Why would people pay two to three dollars a cupcake when they can just make it themselves?”