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.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Last Cake for May

This is the last cake for May, a Cars cake for a little boy. Phew! It has been a very busy month, with 1 wedding cake and 4 birthday cakes, 2 of which fall on the same weekend. So I am definitely RELIEVED May is almost over.

For this cake, I got my older girl to help me with the cactus. So the little spikes (made with Japanese sea weed) that you see here is the result of her slow and careful labour. She was very happy to be able to help, and I am proud of her effort. As for the Cars toys - they were bought as no way am I able to reproduce a Cars figurine with fondant. And frankly, I think the birthday boy would be happy to have a cake AND a toy to play with when he is done eating. One day I should show you a photo of a 3-D Mini Cooper car I once made. My first attempt. (Maybe when my skin grows a bit thicker.)

Cake is frosted with my new favorite Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream with little crunchy Valrhona pearls. I love the crunch in every mouthful, and how it still stays crunchy after sitting for more than a day in the fridge.

School holidays are here. Enjoy! (or Endure).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Butterflies and Pools

Here are some photos of 2 recent cakes. The first is a butterfly-themed cake. It is the first cake I have done for a girl which does not have a touch of pink in it. I like how the blue and green combination works. Cake is inspired by

Front View

Back View

And some details.

Next, I finally got to do another swimming pool cake - this time minus the heart stopping moments, which I had written about here.

Do you think the swimming pool cake will work with a pink instead of blue pool? Would you think about strawberry milkshakes or pink milk? Or would you think (like me) ... sharks?

Thanks for dropping by the blog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hearts and Hands' New Beneficiary - Royal Family Kids Camp

We are very excited to announce that Hearts and Hands has "adopted" a new beneficiary - the Royal Family Kids Camp (RFKC). With effect from May 2011, all proceeds from cake sales will go towards RFKC.

The RFKC is a non-profit organisation which runs yearly camps for abused and neglected children in various countries, including Singapore, Japan and from this year on, Hong Kong as well. It is entirely volunteer-led and raises its own funds to run the camps. The children are mostly from foster or children's homes, and are referred by social workers or, in the case of Singapore, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sport. The kids are given a right royal treat at the camps where they spend an entire week in a one-to-one volunteer to child ratio and are given lots of love and undivided attention, which goes a long way to building their confidence and self-esteem.

We hope that you will continue to support Hearts and Hands and in so doing, help to fund the camps that will enrich the lives of these children. Your contribution counts, and will make a difference to the children at RFKC. To read more about RFKC, visit If you are interested in volunteering at one of the camps, do email YEO Meng Hin or Caroline DE WITT YEO at

We thank you in advance for your support.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A kilo and a half of strawberries ... and two sugar darlings

This is a cake for a pair of lovely strawberry-loving girl twins. J and R are 2 super lovable 4 year olds, from a family of 5 kids. They are sisters to another pair of boy twins and it is a joy to see their whole brood together, such a rare sight in Singapore.

I had fun making an impression of the twins out of sugar paste. Here they are.

And on top of the cake, sitting in a field of strawberries.

This was a very large cake, and a kilo and a half of strawberries went into it. That's plenty of fruit in there. Now who said cakes are unhealthy?

Oh yes, and also 1.2 litres of fresh cream. Think of it as an alternative source of calcium dense milk. Better still, cast aside all thought, and just dig in.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My First Wedding Cake

I feel like I have just delivered number 3.

I had the privilege of making a wedding cake over the weekend for a niece of a good friend of mine. The couple wanted a cake with red, black, gold and white themes. After looking through some options over the net, we settled on a 3 tier cake with a cascade of large flowers going from the top tier to the second tier. Here is the result.

As the reception was a cosy do, there would be too much cake if we had done 3 actual layers of cake. Hence, the bottom layer is actually a dummy.

All the flowers are painstakingly handcrafted over many days and countless hours, after my kids have gone to bed and I have the peace to do something without the constant refrain of "Mummy, what are you doing?", "Mummy, how do you spell (some random word)?", "Mummy, can we eat the cake? Whhhhyyy not???" For those who are into statistics, I must have spent something like 2 to 3 hours on each flower, not to mention all the failed duds along the way.

Overall, I am quite happy with the result, although there are one or two things I would like to improve on if given the chance to make another wedding cake (again, husband shakes head in resignation). Also, I thought the cake would have looked just as nice with just one flower instead of a cascade, as in this:

What do you think? Cascade or single flower?

As for the cake inside - chocolate of course. Yums.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake, the way I like it

At last, a chance to make a cake that looks like a cake! A family favourite, I like the whiteness of the cream against the lush red of the strawberries - it does not need anything else. Seconds guaranteed!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Red Cross Japan - Update

Through the continued support of our friends and those who heart the cakes at Hearts and Hands, we made a contribution of $520.00 to Red Cross in aid of the recent tragedy in Japan. Thank you once again for supporting our efforts, and in so doing, bringing a little comfort to the people of Japan.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Princess Tiara Cake

This was a very fun cake to make and I have to thank the little birthday princess for knowing her own mind. She knew exactly what she wanted. She was very specific : pink, tiered, with a tiara on top. She even showed me a book. "There, Auntie Rui Juan, this one." Would she want to consider a Ruffles Cake (see here)? (I am dying to make that cake.) Nope. It has to be a pink tiara cake. This is the result and I am happy that she liked the cake.

Happy Birthday, Princess Audrey! Your birthday party was a blast.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Red Cross Japan

In support of the relief efforts in Japan, Hearts and Hands will be donating the proceeds from its cakes and desserts to Red Cross Japan. It is sad to see the extent of work needed for rebuilding the parts of Japan affected by the recent events, and we are happy to help in whatever way we can. Thanks for your support and generosity in being a part of this.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hello Kitty Cheat Sheet

I was so pleased to come across these Hello Kitty toppers during a recent trip overseas. Just bake the cake, frost it and top it. All in 2 hours. Birthday girl was very pleased with the results, and I had time to do ... 2 other cakes and some homemade marshmallows.

Happy Lunar New Year to one and all! Thank you for your generosity in supporting Hearts and Hands.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lunar New Year Offerings – Double Happiness Mandarin Tangerine Cupcakes

This Lunar New Year, break away from tradition and give Mandarin Tangerine Cupcakes instead of the ubiquitous mandarin oranges! This limited edition concoction comprises a mix of mandarin oranges and oranges, resulting in a cupcake with a fragrant tang of Mandarin oranges minus the tartness you get from pure oranges alone. The cupcake base contains the juice of mandarin oranges, while the orange curd filling is made with both types of oranges, lending a sweet and piquant but not sour taste. Topping it all is a buttercream with more orange!

Minimum order of 12 which can be packed in pairs, or in boxes of 4 or 6 – just pick your auspicious number. Retails at $3.80 each from now till 16 February. Gong xi fa cai to all our supporters!

Confession: I must apologise for the unbecoming swirls of buttercream in the picture - was trying out a new decorating tip without much success. Have vowed to go back to my trusty 1M tip!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Green Tea Souffle Roll and Linus Van Pelt

This is taken from Okashi by Keiko Ishida and is one of my personal favourites. It is light and subtle, looks modest, is not too sweet, and is perfect after a hearty dinner when you feel like having something sweet but don't really feel like stuffing yourself all over again.

And here is something that I made with icing the other day for a Peanuts fan. Anyone remembers Linus Van Pelt, the kid who constantly lugs around a security blanket and sucks his thumb? (Well, if you do, it shows your age! Gotcha there.)

And here is the original picture.

Chinese New Year is around the corner. Do look out for some Chinese New Year inspired cupcakes on the blog soon.