CAKES & COOKIES BY HANNAH
Sweets & Cakes
Spices & Sugars
Cupcakes & Cookies
Make the perfect recipes for Friendship

Monday, December 31, 2012

Mini Christmas Cakes

Well it's the end of another year, so before I sign off Christmas 2012 I wanted to leave you with some Mini Christmas Cakes I made. The recipe is from Fiona Cairns who made Prince William and Catherine's Wedding Cake. It is a very delicious fruit cake and is one I will probably make every year. I love it. 

It was great fun decorating these little cakes and to try and think of a different design for each little cake. My children gave one to each of their teachers whom seemed delighted to receive them. I hope they liked the taste of them especially since American's are not too fond of fruit cake. Since these cakes were fit for a "King", who couldn't like them!



I found these really nice clear boxes to present the little cakes in and it really finished them off with the ribbon and tag.


Hoping you all have a wonderful New Year

Sugar & Spice, Hannah

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Color Me Cookies

Making and decorating cookies is pretty fun and when I came across this idea from Montreal Confections I simply had to make them for my kids, nieces and nephews.


They were so fun to make and the kids had such a great time colouring them. They were delighted with the results because they looked so pretty. I only wished I had thought of the idea, but I'm so glad Marilyn shared her talent and creativity with us. She's extremely talented and makes great little tutorial videos. You should really check them out.

Here are some of the children colouring their cookies at my daughter's school Christmas Party








The children really enjoyed themselves and didn't get as messy as they would have if I'd have taken icing and sprinkles for them to decorate them. They were all really pleased with their little cookies.


   
My little boy with his cookie. I love how his little tongue sticks out whenever he is concentrating.


My children bringing their cookies to life!

I also sent some to my family up north. I decided to individually bagged them and send edible food markers with them so they could all colour their own cookie.



These were a great success and I am already planning on making more for my son's birthday party. I know all his little friends will love it!

Sugar & Spice, Hannah

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Passing Along The Little I Know!

Since closing my little "business" due to wanting to spend more time with my little one before he goes to school full time next year, I haven't done too much Christmas baking or posting. It has however opened a door to teaching a young girl some of what I know. My eldest son's school teacher's daughter is really into cake making and has many successes but also has those inevitable failures! I think most cake decorators are the same. For some reason cakes have a mind of their own and bulges occur, fondant cracks or tears, air bubbles appear and we are left with a cake looking pretty hideous. I have experienced all of these and more and I think it's finding out how to correct our mistakes and prevent them from happening again that makes the cake decorator have true success.

Since the Christmas break was approaching and there was free time I decided it would be fun to experiment so my little "student" came each day last week and watched me fill, stack, ganache and fondant a cake. Of course I couldn't fondant it correctly and therefore it took me almost 7 attempts!!!! So basically this teaching was "what not to do!" We did have a laugh though.

We then decided to make and fill, stack, and ganache and then fondant another cake, where she did most of the work. This cake was going to be a complete experiment and we decided to make Spice Cake with Gingerbread Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Spiced White Chocolate Ganache. Her family were going to be the guinea pigs!

We kept the design simple and it ended up turning out pretty cute. She did a great job and I know without a shadow of a doubt she will become an amazing cake decorator. She has the passion and patience, and the persistence to continue in this field, which will pay off in the end.


My one concern for this cake was that it was going to be too dry. Hopefully soaking it helped. I did try the leftover scraps along with the buttercream and it had quite an amazing flavour which sent the taste buds wild! I can't wait to hear what her family thought of her masterpiece! 

Thank you for being a guinea pig student Lindsey. It was a fun and pleasurable experience to teach you. Sorry for all the mistakes I made, which probably taught you more about cake making in the end!

Sugar & Spice, Hannah

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Jesus!


Christmas is a wonderful time of year especially to gather with family and thank God for the reason we celebrate this holiday. The baby born long long ago is a constant reminder of God's goodness to all of us. I love to be able to tell my children what God has done and continues to do in our lives and they listen intently at the words and are amazed at how this baby was born to die so that we can live with Him for eternity. Their little voices gasp at the realisation of His death, but yet the joy that comes across their faces because they get to spend eternity with Him. It is good to take this time away from all that the world bombards us with and to really think of the good He has done for us, for me! Oh how I love Him.

Praying you all have had a wonderful Christmas this year. As quickly as it came, I pray we would linger at the manger so much longer and leave refreshed ready to start the new year with our Saviour at our side.

Merry Christmas

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Here are some festive cupcakes. I love these little cakes, they taste so good and taste more like Christmas cake than Christmas Pudding, but definitely are cute decorated like puddings!


I got the recipe from Good To Know and it was Victoria Threader who created them. I totally love all her recipes. She is so creative and her cupcakes are simply stunning. I am grateful she shares her recipes and ideas with us. If you haven't checked out her work I would definitely head on over to her Facebook page.

Hoping your next few days are not crazy like mine will be.

Sugar & Spice, Hannah

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pink Daisy Baby Shower Cake

This has been a long awaited cake!!! When this couple first got married we all waited in anticipation for the announcement of their first child, but time went on and the years passed and no news of a baby came. I began to seriously pray for them in April 2007. I had two children at the time and I can not imagine what my life would be without them. I am thankful that I was able to conceive very easily with my children because I so desperately wanted children and waiting for my husband to be ready was hard enough. We were married 3 years when we found out we were going to have a baby, but my friends waited and waited, and those weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years, and I am sure doubt and hopelessness drew near.

I would think of them often and each time I lifted them up in prayer, knowing God had an incredible plan for their lives. Many of us were praying for them and finally after 10 years all our prayers were answered!!


Oh what joy to hear their news. We all celebrate with them and rejoice. It was a great privileged and honour to make this cake and it came together so wonderfully. I know God's Hand was in it, in everything, because He cares about the tiniest details!



Accompanying the cake were lemon cupcakes with pink daisies on. Each guest got to take one home in the most beautiful little boxes my very best friend made. She hosted the baby shower and tied everything in so well to match the baby's nursery. (My friend is the mother-to-be's sister-in-law!)






Baby Lindsay Lee!

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~ 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Upward Basketball Cake

My son loves basketball. He's been playing Upward Basketball for 5 years and has really enjoyed it. The coaches are all volunteers and dedicate their time to the boys for about 9 weeks. During those weeks they practice and attend games every Saturday which is a lot of commitment. We know this first hand as my husband was the coach one year and, although it was very rewarding, it was also very tiring.

As a thank you I made a cake! It was actually an experimental cake as I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the first time. I thought it would go well with a White Chocolate Mud Cake as it isn't as sweet as American Buttercream. It was a great hit and tasted really good. I did two layers filled with SMB and one layer with White Chocolate Ganache and the combination was lovely. Definitely one I will make again.

 I also made basketball cookies and wrote each of the boys name on them, along with their number. My husband then made tags with their team's name on. He took the logo from The New Jersey Nets and changed the colour to correspond with this years Upward colour.

I think the boys liked them.

Now to get busy with Thanksgiving preparations. This year I thought it would be fun for the children to make their own cookies and decorate them. Hopefully more icing will go on the cookie rather than the floor or into their little mouths!!

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting



Who doesn't like pumpkins this time of year?!

As soon as October comes round out come the pumpkins and I am thankful that my children love them as much as I do. Their favourite dessert with pumpkin are the pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Another favourite is pumpkin cheesecake and I don't make it often because I simply love cheesecake and end up eating it all!!! I'll even eat it for breakfast, it's so good!

My husband though, can not eat sugar so he prefers pumpkin soup and sugar-free pumpkin pie (which I kind of made up, just so he could have a dessert). The children also love this and devour it before he's even had one piece. Now I find myself having to make a few pies so it will last longer than one day! It's a great recipe and tastes good, but it is a dessert I prefer with sugar.

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

10oz/285g (2 cups) plain flour or cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4oz/110g (1 stick) butter
8oz/225g (1 1/4 cups) light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
4floz/120ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk - I sometimes make my own.
7oz/200g (3/4 cup) canned 100% pure pumpkin - it's about 1/2 of a 15oz can

Makes 18

To make buttermilk use 1/2 cup of regular milk and pour 1tbsp of white vinegar in. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. It works just as good as buttermilk and is less expense and less wasteful. I would buy buttermilk only use a small amount and then have to throw the rest away after it sat in my fridge for a few weeks.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and the spices. TIP: I set my oven slightly lower at 335F because I find baking cakes at a lower temp. makes them lighter
  2. Cream together, using an electric mixer, the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until mixed together (don't over beat). Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk. Once combined together add the pumpkin.
  3. Divide among the lined cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes. TIP: I use a size 16 ice cream scoop to make sure each cupcake has the same amount in. 

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

4oz/110g (1 stick) butter
6oz/175g cream cheese at room temperature
8oz/225g (2 cups) icing/confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy, about 3 mins
  2. Mix on low speed and add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Add the vanilla and mix until smooth and combined.
  3. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

I do hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we enjoy it. I have started to double the recipe and it works just as well.

If you are interested in learning how to make the fondant pumpkins let me know and I'll put it up showing you step by step, hopefully just in time for Thanksgiving!

Happy Baking

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~


Friday, July 20, 2012

Homemade Marshmallows

This is the first time I have ever made marshmallows. I'm not really a fan of them but my daughter loves them and will do anything to get one! Over the summer we have been having many BBQs and probably the best part of it is when the coals begin to smolder at the end and you can toast marshmallows. That's when I don't mind popping one into my mouth!

This summer I somehow keep forgetting to buy them, so when 4th July rolled round and I still had no marshmallows I simply had to make them as not to let my little girl down.


They were really easy to make and I felt sure that I would mess it up because it involves boiling sugar, without burning it, until it reached about 240F. I was surprised at how well they turned out. They tasted sooooo good! The only draw back is that they have to be made ahead of time as they need to set for about 6 hours.


When toasting them you could only toast one side as they soon melted, but they still tasted delicious. You should have seen Amelia's eyes when she popped one into her mouth, it was quite a sight!


We made Smores, which I don't usually like because of the marshmallow and Hershey chocolate, but these were great. One was quite enough though!


The kids totally loved them and I probably will never go back to buying marshmallows again.

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fun Cake Pops With The Kids

During the summer holidays we always wonder what fun things we can do with our children. For me I am not really into all the different camps they have here in the States. I love being with my kids and enjoying moments with them that school seems to steal away from me during the school year. I love hanging out with them doing nothing of importance really, just enjoying each others company. I like to turn the things we have to do into fun things for the kids. Like having a race to see who can make their beds the fastest or putting crazy music on and dusting the living room or pulling out all the warm clothes from the dryer and dumping it on the kids. They lie there for a while and then fold it all up for me. For some reason I don't have to turn cleaning the bathroom into a fun game as all my kids love cleaning it and my eldest son will clean it where I don't have go back over it. He's great when company comes over and I say "Quick check the bathroom and make sure it's clean" and he'll do it perfectly.

Now don't get me wrong, my kids are far from perfect and there are those times when they'll refuse to do something no matter how fun I make it and believe me they can fight like cats and dogs, but on the whole they're pretty good. Just like adults there are those times we just can't be bothered and those times we are grumpy for one reason or another.

Today I decided to make some fun cake pops with the kids. It was a fun activity for them and at the end of the day they get a fun dessert after dinner. They really enjoyed rolling up the cake into balls, dipping them into the chocolate and lastly choosing designs and sprinkles. Some of the balls were not really like balls at all and it took everything in me not to go back and re-roll them! I think the best part was when some of them fell of the sticks whilst dipping them into the chocolate as those got eaten straight away.


Amelia made this one. She chose gold sugar sprinkles. I piped on the swirls with royal icing and she did the rest.


This is Jack's and I love it as the pink nonpareils he chose makes it look like little blossoms. It almost reminds me of cherry blossoms.


William made two different designs. First he choose orange sugar sprinkles (the photo looks more gold but it was orange) and then the pink nonpareils like Jack's only he wanted dots.



 Of course I couldn't keep my mitts off them and had to make some myself. It was great to be able to make something and not care it is goes wrong since it was all for fun. Takes the stress out of it for sure!

Hope this inspires you to have fun in the kitchen with your kids. You might end up with a messy kitchen but the moments you share with your kids will be remembered far more than the messy kitchen.

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wimbledon!

Wasn't that an amazing game!! Yes I am a Wimbledon fan and watch it as soon as it comes on. Of course always rooting for the Brits, but then moving on to the more favoured players like Federer and Nadal. I was in shock when Nadal was knocked out so early on. I love watching him play and my all time favourite game was when Federer and Nadal went head to head in 2008 and the game seemed to last all night long. In the end Nadal took the title and it was a bitter-sweet moment. Federer did come back the next year to win his 6th title at Wimbledon and I think today was one of those moments when the whole country was rooting for their man Murray, but yet didn't mind if Federer won as he has stolen the hearts of most of us.

Murray made us all proud today and to celebrate his great game I made some Tennis ball cake pops! The kids had great fun eating them watching the game and perhaps next year we will be celebrating Murray's Championship of Wimbledon!!




I made the cake inside to look like the Wimbledon logo, minus the tennis rackets and ball!! They were pretty tasty and I've finally found some relatively good chocolate. I still need plenty of practice to gain that perfectly round, smooth cake pop which so many people seem to be able to pull off. I find it's a lot more tricky than people make out, especially the smooth ones. Adding sprinkles etc., is a great way to hide the flaws in cake pops and makes a great effect, but leaving them plain is a whole other story. Well I guess I'll be applying the words I so often hear myself say to my children "Practice makes perfect!"

Here's how we watched the tennis match this morning as it wasn't broadcasted until 3pm here in the states and I simply had to watch it live.


Sat in our jammies eating cake pops and drinking orange juice at nine in the morning! Whiskers, our pet bunny, is eating all the cake pop crumbs!

Have a great week

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th Of July


Independence Day - the day America became independent from Great Britain, only in our house my poor husband will never really be free from the Brits!! haha

We noticed that our neighbours either side of us both were being very patriotic flying their American flags proudly. Upon seeing this my daughter came running and asked my husband if we could fly our flag and pulled out the Union Jack!!! We did have a little chuckle, but told her that it would probably be best not to today.

We celebrated like any other American family with the traditional BBQ, corn on the cob and watermelon. I never quite got round to the strawberry and rhubarb pie, but I did manage to make homemade marshmallows!! They were wonderful and were a great hit with the kids. They loved toasting them this evening over the warm coals of the BBQ.

I also decided to make some fun cookies in honour of this special day. They are my youngest son's favourite thing.





God Bless AMERICA, ...land that I love!

Have a wonderful week.
Sugar & Spice, Hannah~

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wimbledon's Favourite - Strawberry Romanoff Recipe

It's Wimbledon and I'm loving every minute of it. Of course I'm watching it through the internet live at Wimbledon and ESPN. This is one time I am glad of the technology that's out there. It's great to see my son totally enjoying it along with me and also my husband, although I do believe any sport is appealing to him :)

As Wimbledon is on pretty much every day this week, I decided it's time to pull out the strawberries and cream!


Here's a great and easy recipe for you to enjoy

Strawberry Romonoff 
1lb (450g) Strawberries, halved
1/2 Orange, juiced
1/4tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
8oz (250ml) Heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

Cut strawberries and place in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of half an orange over them and add the grand marnier, if using. Let marinate for 15 minutes or more.

Meanwhile whip the cream to soft peaks. You can add a 1 tbsp of confectioner's sugar/icing sugar if you like, although I never do.

Serve and enjoy!!




Have a great Wimbledon weekend. Stay tuned for more fun recipes and wimbledon treats!!

Sugar & Spice, Hannah~