Friday, July 6, 2012

We Are Taking a Hiatus

Life has caught up with us of late, and what with school runs, work and family to take care of, we scarcely have time to sit down for a coffee, let alone put on an apron and bake up a storm. So it is with great reluctance that we are announcing that Hearts and Hands will be taking an indefinite break. Every now and then, however, the baking bug still gets to us and we will whip out the trusty Kitchenaid when those moments strike. So if you think your life will take a turn for the worse if you don't have our cakes, do contact us and if the stars are in the right alignment, why, we just may be able to take on that occasional cake order. So as corny as it sounds, we will be back...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lemon Meringue Cake

I feel as though I have lost my baking mojo for some time. This cake puts me back in the groove!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A girl, a bunny and a sewing cake

For my daughter's 6th birthday, she asked for a bunny.

Not just a cake with a sugar paste bunny, but a real rabbit. We wondered if we would have the time and energy to look after a pet and deliberated for some time. Eventually, we decided to get one. And so we now have a new member to the family, and he has been enjoyable to have. Here's the birthday cake to accompany the bunny and the birthday gal.

Here's another - Birthday gal wanted lots of buttons and ruffles at the side to go with a sewing themed party. Unusual theme, great party!

Next up, Elvis cake part 2 - after he sheds some mighty pounds.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Car Cake - but don't ask me to make this again

Ah what the heck. Here are the pictures of that 3-D car cake I mentioned. See the saggy slouchy bumpers and the punctured tyres and the general untidiness of it all? The birthday boy and his very nice mother were kind enough to overlook the imperfections, but I won't be making this again anytime soon - too stressful!

Cakes for Boys

Some of you may already know cakes featuring cars and trucks and trains are not my forte. They fall under the general category of "Boys Cakes", which is incidentally in the same category as "Challenging". Especially after being scarred by my wild stab at a 3-D car cake which turned out to be way more difficult than I imagined it to be - one of my earlier cakes when I had more bravura than common sense. Or skill. Again, I feel too thin-skinned to share that picture today. [Postscript: I did post it eventually. See here].

But one should start somewhere, starting from 2-D cakes. Here is an attempt at a car cake and features 3 racer cars in bright blue, green and pink. The cars are all on the side in anticipation of the set of happy birthday candles that will be on top of the cake. Happy with how it turned out, and even happier that the birthday boy liked it. Maybe car cakes are not that scary afterall.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

My daughter requested for salted caramel cupcakes for her birthday. I suppose salted caramel is a flavour befitting a girl who has just entered her teens. At 13, the saltish twist to the cake would appeal to fairly grown up taste buds, but sweet, buttery caramel will always call out to the young (and young at heart).

The cake was made with brown sugar which lent a mellow flavour that paired well with the sweetness of the caramel that tasted just like melted toffee. The caramel was swirled into the buttercream, frosted on the cakes, and sea salt flakes in the palest shade of pink were
then carefully sprinkled on top. Sweet and salty - the best of both worlds loved by young and old and all ages in between.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Some of you have had some questions about the cakes that we make at Hearts and Hands, so we thought it will be helpful to have a short FAQ to address those questions.

1. How do I collect the cakes?

The cakes can be collected from the home of the person who baked it. As we are not operating a business, we are not able to arrange for delivery of the cakes. On the plus side, we try to accommodate your request as far as possible as to collection times, and will try to work around your schedule as far as possible.

2. How do I make payment?

We have thought about this. And we think going forward we will give this a try: you can issue 2 cheques – one to the baker, and the other to the charity directly. That may sound cumbersome, but you will know exactly what portion of the cake price is going to the charity, and how much is going into the cost. It’s all very transparent. And we also do not have the hassle of working out the cost of 3 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla or 230 grams of good chocolate (we use only good stuff so, hey it all adds up!).

The idea is that we let you know how much we recover from the cake upfront, and you can then make an informed decision as to whether you would like to order a cake from us. As a general principle, we try to make sure that the amount contributed to the charity is more than 50% of the amount charged for the cake. Afterall, a large part of this initiative is to be able to raise meaningful amounts for the charity adopted.

3. Why are your charges higher than the neighbourhood bakery store?

Apart from the fact that we do not enjoy the same economies of scale that a business would enjoy, the quality of the ingredients used has a direct impact on the price (and we would like to think, the quality) of the cakes). As this is not a business, we really are not out to compete for any “market share”. But if you want a one of a kind cake lovingly made by hand, and you like the idea that the proceeds from your order will benefit a charity, then yes, you have come to the right guys.

4. I have never tried fondant before. What is it made of?

Fondant is a decorative medium made largely of sugar. It is very sweet and kids tend to like it, though many adults I know find them too sweet for their grown up palates. I personally scrape them off the cake, and I would not mind at all if you do the same.

As it is made largely of sugar, it needs to be kept in a cool dry place, preferably an air-conditioned room. Cakes made with fondant should not be refrigerated as the condensation on the cake after it is removed from the fridge will mar the appearance of the cake.

5. What sort of buttercream do you use? Does it contain raw eggs?

Our preferred choice of buttercream is Swiss Meringue Buttercream, where the egg whites are gently heated over simmering water before being whipped with the butter. It creates a lighter texture to the cream, and we have peace of mind knowing that the eggs have been pasteurised.

6. Why do you guys do this? Haven’t you got better things to do with your life?


7. Seriously??

Seriously, we like to bake (within reasonable measures) and we also LOVE our day jobs (our bosses could be reading this). And we are too risk adverse to go into business. So this suits us fine. It is time consuming, and involves some sleepless nights, and some form of family neglect while we mess up the entire kitchen and sometimes the living room with our cakes, cakes and more cakes. But we will do it as long as we find it meaningful.

And so we’d like to end this FAQ by saying a big THANK YOU to you for your support.