About Me

I’m Elissa. I’m a baker, photographer, writer and blogger. I’m a lucky girl.

It started at 14, with a cake cookbook filled with pretty pictures. When I was 15, I got a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas. Four months later, for my 16th birthday, I got a KitchenAid food processor and ice cream machine. As my dad puts it, “You’d have thought we got her a convertible.”

I started 17 and Baking when I was 16 (I like to say I was thinking ahead) after years of following over 40 other food blogs. I admire everything from the writing to the photography to the recipes themselves and I wanted to be a part of the foodie community. For my 17th birthday, my parents bought me a tripod and my friends gave me a Williams-Sonoma apron, matching oven mitt, and a vanilla bean… It’s official, everyone knows how obsessed I am!

It turns out I have a real passion for photography: people, crumbling buildings, animals, interesting colors, textures, and angles… And food. I use a Canon Rebel XTi and two lenses: a 50mm f/1.8 and a 50mm f/2.8. I don’t have any other equipment but I try to always use natural lighting, which is easier said than done sometimes in Seattle.

As of 2013, I am 21, and I’ve since graduated high school and headed off to college in Boston. I’m studying journalism and creative nonfiction with people who love the English language as much as me. Even though I don’t want to go into the culinary field, fewer things make me happier than a freshly baked cake. So no matter how much my life changes as I figure out my life – 17 and Baking is with me every step of the way. For now, I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than knowing someone is reading this page.

Contact Information__________________________________________________________

Question about a recipe? Please post it as a comment for everyone to see. Otherwise feel free to contact me at 17andbaking [at] gmail [dot] com anytime!

More ways to connect:

Subscribe to 17 and Baking’s RSS feed and never miss a post
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See my photos on Instagram
Read my blogs on the Huffington Post

105 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alana @ The Good Girl Gone Blog  |  April 13, 2009 at 2:14 am

    So cute! Can’t wait to start reading your blog. …And I have the same feelings about KitchenAid. :)

  • 2. Spirited Miu Flavor  |  April 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Ah, I love the way you present yourself!

  • 3. Eliana  |  April 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Hi – just came across your blog and I absolutely love it. I can’t wait to start reading it. And I also felt the same way when my mom gave me a pink Kitchen aid for my birthday a year and a half ago.

  • 4. Tania  |  April 18, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    happy happy birthday!
    enjoy the vanilla beans (:
    ~and your blog is getting quite popular, huh?

  • 5. Darina  |  April 21, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    The new blog looks and reads great! Best of luck. You go, girl!

  • 6. Chef gigi  |  April 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm


    Oh .. and that cake…….. TO DIE FOR!

    Chef Gigi
    San Francisco Bay Area

  • 7. Chloe  |  April 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Hey Amy sent me the link to this and I really like your stuff. Didn’t I tell you I’m into cooking to? I’m going to South Seattle in the fall I can’t wait! I’m defiantly going to be making that chocolate cake soon.

  • 8. Elissa's Dad  |  April 23, 2009 at 1:41 am

    I think Elissa’s love of baking came about from her love of eating, I mean that is how we all get started, right? One year I made her eclairs instead of birthday cake, getting up very early and doing the baking so that I could surprise her with her favorite eclairs.

    She asked if I would show her how to make them but I really don’t like baking, I am a savory kind of cook not a sweet kind, so I passed on the difficult for me to do eclairs cooking lesson.

    We began baking simple desserts and before long Elissa was baking circles around me. At this point she can out bake me blindfolded with one hand behind her back but as long as she still loves loves loves my special mashed potatoes I’ll let it slide.

    Needless to say Elissa is a young lady of many talents with brains, beauty and style. How could I not be a proud papa. And Elissa, I am back from Hong Kong and those mashed potatoes are almost ready.

  • 9. penguin  |  April 26, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    When you turn 18, what will happen to the blog name? :)

    I’m here from Gourmet Mama, and I think you rock. Back in my days it was compulsory for a girl to know how to maneuver herself in the kitchen, hello chauvinistic society and patriarch-ism! And before you think I’m a 60 year old grandma, I’m 24. So it wasn’t that long ago. It’s rare to find people your age who are so passionate about the kitchen!

    About the Kitchen-Aid? We feel you. I still haven’t got mine, and I’m hoping this Xmas will be it. Otherwise, instead of a wedding ring in the future, I’m asking for a Kitchen-Aid.

    My boyfriend thought it was a disinfectant. Until I dragged him to a cooking store and he now think it’s less ridiculous to want a Kitchen-Aid The Mixer instead of Kitchen-Aid The Disinfectant. ;)

    Keep baking!

  • 10. Elissa  |  April 26, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Penguin – Honestly, I didn’t think that far ahead when I created this blog! (: I was 16 when I created it, but knew I would be turning 17 within the year and went with “17 and Baking.” If I keep blogging until next year, I’ll have to decide what to do with the name then. To me, “18 and Baking” doesn’t have the same appeal… I might just leave the name as “17 and Baking” forever!

  • 11. Carrie  |  April 27, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I just stumbled upon your blog and have been scrolling through. I love it! Your recipes and photographs are amazing!

  • 12. Recipe man  |  April 27, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    hey , you have a great blog. its so great to see someone with such a passion for baking etc. you have a real nice blog with good recipes.
    i love the way to presented yourself.

  • 13. healthy ashley  |  April 30, 2009 at 8:08 am

    What a great blog!

  • 14. Poires au Chocolat  |  May 1, 2009 at 3:26 am

    I just came across your blog from the Adopt a Blogger page and it’s beautiful.

    I’m also a young blogger – 19 and at university – it’s lovely to know there are others!

    Really looking forward to seeing what you come up with next :)

  • 15. Marian  |  May 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Elissa,
    I’m so impressed with your blog, and YOU!! To have such talent so young…. WONDERful! I teach Culinary Arts at a local high school; I’d love to have a student like you in my class.
    Congrats and can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  • 16. BobTheCow  |  May 3, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I didn’t know you were into baking Elissa!
    This is super cool idea to blog about it. =)

  • 17. marilyn bernstein  |  May 12, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I just finished reading all of the nice comments about my grandaughter Elissa. I was not surprised she likes to cook, both her father and grandfather loved to cook. The rest of us like to eat. It can’t get better than that. I could fill page after page about how wonderful she is, but I can hear her groaning and saying “O grandma” so I will just remind her I like lemon cake.

  • 18. 1st period physics 2009  |  May 14, 2009 at 8:11 am

    We are hungry!

  • 19. Magdalene!  |  May 31, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Hi! You look so cute (: And I just have to say that I love to bake as well and I’m turning 17 this year! I haven’t had the time to bake as much though ): And you’ve been super adventurous in the kitchen! (: I wish I had a Kitchenaid SIGH ):
    Happy Belated 17th! (:

    (OH, and I’m Asian as well, from Singapore (: )

  • 20. Sharon Donlon  |  June 2, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Elissa, that lavender ice cream looks heavenly! Looking forward to a future visit to Seattle so I can taste the fruits of your labor. Your pictures are fabulous and I already know from my cousin Neal that you have a flair for writing which is quite obvious in your blog. What a treat for the eyes, if only you could include smell! Keep up the great work. Count me among your followers!

  • 21. Shannon L  |  June 7, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Aww, you lucky girl. I have been pining for a Kitchenaid stand mixer since I started baking, about a year ago. I’m hoping I will get one for my 16th birthday, in a month!

    Happy Baking!

  • 22. Meredith  |  June 12, 2009 at 7:46 am

    fantastic site lady,for real.

  • 23. Celine  |  June 15, 2009 at 11:17 am


    I randomly find your blog on foodgawker, and got surprised that the author is a teenager too! :D

    I’m Celine, 16, from France, loves baking too. (forgive me if I make mistakes!)
    I opened my blog recently, and telling myself there aren’t so many teenagers with food blog… but I’m so happy to find yours! A new blog to follow now!

    (btw, are you from Hong Kong? i saw it in the comments!)

  • 24. debbie  |  July 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Until I clicked here and saw your picture, I was having a hard time believing you’re only 17. Wow. Between the gorgeous photographs and the beautiful writing, you strike me as someone much older. Throw in the incredible recipes, and… well, just wow.

  • 25. Elizabeth  |  July 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I continue to be impressed by YOU! Your blog/website is so great. Did you really shot those photos and make those items? Wow!
    I have to live through you vicarously….

  • 26. Swee  |  July 19, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I have to say, I’m inspired again!
    I started baking when I was 16 (I’m 24 now) and continued to pursue it as a career. If I feel a little demotivated at work, I’d go look at blogs to relive my passion. Your blog is great and it really shows, anyone can bake if the passion strikes. Great job and all the best :)

    *I wasn’t as lucky as u to have kitchen gadgets as presents ;)*

  • 27. Admin  |  July 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Ever considered working in the UK as a volunteer fro a while. We have a nice bakery that needs somebody who loves baking. Our products are the best when made with that kind of love

  • 28. Marie  |  July 24, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    You are my hero! I just turned seventeen yesterday and I want to learn how to bake. But I still have to buy an oven :p
    When I buy that oven, I’ll definitely use your recipes :D

  • 29. Natalie  |  August 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Your blog makes me so incredibly happy. I love the way you describe everything and oh my goodness, every single recipe is DELICIOUS.
    I’m also seventeen, obsessed with baking, stuck in IB and have a love for photography so your entries really hit home :)

  • 30. Hillary  |  August 17, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I just stumbled across your blog today, and am so happy I did.

    I am a 20-year-old girl with the same passions – baking & writing.

    I have recently become obsessed with the world of food blogging and am so eager to start my own.

    Thanks for the inspiration! : )

  • 31. m.rose  |  September 17, 2009 at 5:06 am

    hey,just tumled across your blog and boy aint i so thrilled! ur cue n so is ur blog! me a student too n love d ins n outs of baking and experimenting in d kitchen as muchas i love photogaphy too n loads n loads of other stuff.but i am anew blogger and with limited time and resources its going to be awhile before i update my blog with all my written articles and recipes
    n want to read thru every article of urs too!!!
    i dont have evry picture i baked or cooked up but m trying but with my moms camera phone
    i am eyein d kithen aid and get excited at d site n have written about it too but maybe it’ll be awhile since i can lay my hands on 1 and we dont get it in india anyway.hehehehe
    waiting to read n try ur every recipe dear,n would love to help u with some gourmet vanilla beans if anybody u know ever visits india. have an article ready on my tryst with vanilla beans and will be postin it soon. http://www.vanillastrawberryspringfields.blogspot.com

  • 32. Tom  |  October 19, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Congrats on your blog. Very nice. Really like your photos. Just got a Canon SXi and still learning how to use it. Cheers.

  • 33. Rob  |  November 26, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    hey there,
    ive clicked into your blog a few times now, and being 17 myself i just have to say that your ability to not only cook but photograph on par with all the old, seasoned bloggers out there…its really admirable.

    but the whole point in this message, is a suggestion. i live in australia, where we’ve just recently been introduced to a ‘new’ variation of the iconic vegemite you’ve probably heard of. it’s called ‘vegemite cheesybite’, a blend of vegemite with cream cheese. when it first came out, there was this limited edition ‘label’ before they’d found a name for it, so i stupidly bought about 12 jars of it hoping i could ebay them off when this version was discontinued. but of course, with my luck, nobody’s interested in them anymore. so ive got 12 jars of vegemite ‘name me’ (they held a competition so the public could name it…and we chose cheesybite) which should probably be used before next february lol.

    so the long drawn out suggestion is, maybe you could add an international twist to your blog and try your hands at a recipe with vegemite? there aren’t many out there, so you’d probably have to create your own, but i doubt that’d be a problem for you :P. even if you were to make something with the just the regular blend of vegemite (without the cream cheese) i think it’d be fantastic.

  • 34. Janelle  |  December 30, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I saw u on girlslife.com, and I thought I’d say the recipes are really cool, though i look forward to hearing you as a writer….and your blog, of course[:

  • 35. mledunkel  |  January 15, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Hi I heard of you on girlslife to.Your exallent!I love to flip through your blog!

  • 36. cookingendeavors  |  February 1, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    OMGGGG!! I hope I can be as an awesome a blogger as you are someday!

  • 37. Heidi @ Kitchenaid Processor  |  February 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Awesome blog! I have a Kitchenaid mixer as well. I love it. I’ve mad a lot of bread using it.

  • 38. Ally  |  March 24, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    i just found out about your blog!! wow you are so talented!

  • 39. Natalie  |  March 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Your blog is great! I’m 16 (almost 17) and I also live in Seattle, and run a baking blog. There were too many similarities for me not to leave a comment :)

  • 40. Ashley  |  April 16, 2010 at 8:55 pm


    I always look forward to your new blog post! I practically count the days til I can check for a new one. I have a list of recipes I want to try, and a list of equipment!

    If you had to pick only 3 equipment to keep, what would they be? (ice cream maker, spring-form pan, etc.)

    • 41. Elissa  |  April 17, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks Ashley! This is like asking me to pick between kids, impossible, but I’d have to say my 3 favorite pieces of equipment are my KitchenAid stand mixer, my ice cream maker, and my microplane zester (random, but I used a cheese grater for so long that it was a miracle when I discovered this tool! And I love the smell of citrus oil when I use it.)

  • 42. thepastrykook  |  May 3, 2010 at 2:56 am

    i’m so glad i found your blog. I have read every single post of yours and I admire your talent and flair for writing. I never thought someone younger than me would be of inspiration! So thank you!

  • 43. charliebanks  |  June 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    This blog is perfect and will now take up way too much of my time (not even including the added baking I’m going to start doing). Thank you!


  • 44. CourtandWhit  |  July 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Hey Elissa, your blog is awesome! And you are quite the chef, seriously inspirational to us. We are teens too, who love cooking.

  • 45. The mystery loaf - Olivia's Blog - Butler University  |  July 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    […] If only my pictures were as pretty as Elissa's. […]

  • 46. Caeri Dunnell  |  July 26, 2010 at 9:37 am

    hey! I never comment on ANYthing, but came across your site by accident and absolutely fell in love! I’ve always loved photography, and about a year ago I developed this insane passion for food- baking, trying out recipes and photographing them. I’m 20 years old, live in Cape Town, South Africa. The other weird thing is that I’m currently studying third year journalism at Rhodes University. It’s pretty ‘famous’ in South Africa for its journalism course and I’m loving it! You’re going to love, hate and love studying journalism, but it’s all worth it. You are so talented, and I know you’ll achieve anything you put your mind to! It’s so cool that I’m envious of someone younger than me :) I still can’t decide whether it’s the way you write or the photos, but both are amazing!! wish I had more of a student budget to try these recipes out, I’ll wait till I’m home on vacation in spring.
    love from Caeri, from the southern tip of Africa :)
    ps. i live with my best friend who is a vegan- any sweet recipes for her? she’s craving sweet stuff!

  • 47. Seini  |  August 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Elissa! My name is Seini and I’m a 22 yr old student from New Zealand. I came across your site via Google and have just spent a good chunk of the afternoon going through all of your wonderful posts. You have a brilliant way with words and your text is just set on fire by those gorgeous photographs! Keep up the great work :)

  • […] very long time ….. embarrassing long! I was poking around a couple weeks ago and noticed that Elissa of 17 and Baking is challenging the group to come up with creative ways to use Brown Butter. Well, […]

  • 49. Roberta  |  August 31, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Hi Elissa,
    I’ve just discovered your blog…i’s really nice and I really enjoyed reading your posts! Your recipes look so yummy!
    I will visit you again :)

  • 50. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)  |  September 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Just found your site! I have no idea why it took me so long, but I am so so impressed. Your photography and cooking skills amaze me.

    Keep doing what you’re doing! Hope you’re enjoying life as a college student, I just graduated and still can’t believe it.

  • 51. Janie  |  October 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I just finished reading “Treasure Trunk” in yesterday’s Sunday edition of The Seattle Times and I loved it! I spent yesterday afternoon baking chocolate cupcakes with creamy peanut butter icing – do delicious! Your recipes look soo good and I like the way you have photographed them. Greetings from Seattle and wishing you the best this year in college!


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