Spiced Apple Cider {Recipe}

Spiced Apple Cider | Lil Miss Cakes

There is nothing cozier than a soft blanket, cold weather and a warm drink. I came up with this recipe last year as I was prepping my turkey for the oven. I wanted to be able to serve my guests a warm holiday drink, but I wanted it to be enjoyed by everyone, adults, kids, and pregnant moms alike. I also wanted it to stay warm throughout the Thanksgiving meal. I occurred to me that I wouldn’t be using my slow cooker that evening, so that is exactly where I prepared my cider. The best part about this recipe is you can prep it in the slow cooker early in the morning and then forget about it while you prepare the rest of your meal. And what would spiced cider be without a little rum though, right?! I leave the bottle of rum off to the side and let my guests add a bit to their mugs as they serve themselves. Cheers!

Spiced Apple Cider {Recipe}
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 cups
  • 12 cups apple cider (one gallon)
  • ¼ cup silan (date syrup) or maple syrup
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ tsp. ground all spice
  • ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • peel of one lemon
  • peel of one orange
  • rum to taste, optional
  1. Pour the apple cider into a large slow cooker. Add the silan or maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, all spice, and nutmeg and stir. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemon and orange and add to the slow cooker. Cover and set the slow cooker to low. Cook for 2-4 hours until warmed through. Turn the slow cooker to warm and serve.
  2. Optional but recommended: Add a bit of rum to each mug of cider.
  3. *This can also be made in a pot on the stove. Just bring the cider to a boil and tun it down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
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Thanksgiving Place Card Cookies

IMG_0418 water

Last year I had some great Thanksgiving cookie ideas. One was the easy to decorate 2 part layered turkey cookie and the other was a turkey platter (original design by the great cookier Sweet Sugarbelle.) I almost didn’t post both ideas at that time becuase I didn’t think I would come up with anything cuter. But I shared because I couldn’t hold back. Luckily, a great design popped in my head just in time for Thanksgiving! I had this idea for a cookie stick that could be used as a place card to decorate your holiday table. I thought it would be so festive to help decorate your holiday table if each guest got his or her own cookie. I baked my perfect sugar cookies and I used royal icing to decorate mine and just wrote a simple holiday message, but they could also be personalized with names or initials. I wanted to design one that could work horizontally and one vertically, but it seemed like it would be confusing to offer 2 different cutters. I figured I could probably make each design work both ways if I tweaked it enough and it totally worked!  These cutters are so cute and user friendly.

Thanksgiving Cutter Imprint | Lil Miss Cakes

The cutter cuts a nice clean edge and then leaves an imprint of the design on the cookie. After it is baked, all the outlines are there for you-there is no guesswork or extra stenciling to get the perfect design. I decorated my cookies with royal icing but to demo how the cutter cuts I used fondant. That gave me another idea! I think if you used fondant to cover your sugar cookie, you could use edible markers to decorate them. The kids would love to decorate these as well! Imagine each guest at your table getting a cookie with his or her name on it decorated with love by your kids. Super cute idea! This is especially great if you aren’t so good with royal icing or if you simply don’t have the time. These would be cute on each guests plate or even standing up in a glass! Those are just some of my ideas, but I can’t wait to see what you come up with! You can find all my holiday place card cutters in my shop.

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Ribbon Stripes and Hearts Cake

Hearts and Stripes Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

I am a bit behind on sharing my cakes with you, but I like to put time and effort into everything I share. I also get distracted very easily and often come up with a string of recipes to share. This cake is from May and I made it for my daughters first birthday. Since she is too young to ask for a specific theme, I get to experiment. The cake still needs to be fabulous because my family is expecting something great! I was inspired by this cake by Allison Kelleher of AK Cake Design. It was a total experiment since I have never done anything like this before and although I like how it came out, I have a few changes that I would make next time. I originally covered each tier in fondant and then added the ribbon stripes by wrapping them around the cake. Next time I would wrap the fondant directly on the buttercream kind of like paneling the cake. That would give me a sharper edge and less bulk. It would also save on fondant which is $$.

Fondant Hearts | Lil Miss Cakes

I had this idea of adding 3D hearts all around the bottom tier to cover up the stripes a bit and add a peekaboo effect. I rolled out some fondant pretty thin and cut strips out. Then I formed some fun and funky heart shapes and allowed them to firm up a bit on a sheet pan. Then I attached them to the cake with some royal icing, but I think next time I would use piping gel or sugar glue. Another change I would make would be making even thinner hearts, these seem a bit too chunky for me-I like light and dainty designs. After attaching all the hearts in a random fashion, I painted some of the edges in silver just to tie in the gum paste tiara cake topper.

Ribbon Stripes and Hearts Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

Making the stripes is not too difficult, but I did end up with tons of multi color scraps. So I kneaded them all together and created this marbled cake board. Overall I am happy with this cake, but I would love to try it again! Maybe even with some different colors. My little Alexa was happy with it too!

Alexas Edible Crown | Lil Miss Cakes

Happy First Birthday!

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Rainbow Swirl Slice and Bake Cookies {Recipe}

Rainbow Swirl Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

I am freaking out over these cookies right now! I know that rainbow desserts are sort of trending right now, and I wanted to come up with my own version. I wanted my dessert to be rainbow colored but elegant and easy to do. I did not want to separate batter into 6 different bowls to mix up each color of the rainbow. I didn’t want to bake 6 different cakes, or knead challah dough into 6 different colors and then braid the rainbow. I’ve seen people dye cookie dough into rainbow colors but something about that looks like play-dough to me and I just couldn’t do it! These tender cookies are my cute and simple rainbow treat. They are not too sweet and the texture is perfect for eating with tea or coffee. Kids will devour these, because of the fun colors and the rainbow sprinkles! The sprinkles are definitely optional but I love the added color and texture they bring to these cookies. This was my very first try making these cookies, I may add a bit more gel food coloring next time. I may also add a dot of white icing in the center to make them look like more of that traditional bakery style cookie. I love how easily these can be customized, you could mix and match the colors of the food gel and the sprinkles to match any party theme or occasion. I took a bunch of progress photos to show you how I made these, They aren’t the best but I hope they will be clear-please ask if you have any questions on the process! Applying gel food color to cookie dough

Mix your cookie dough (recipe at the end of the post). Roll out your dough or since it’s soft, press it out flat and square onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Mine is about 11×11 inches. Using gel food coloring (I use Americolor brand) take a food only paintbrush and paint vertical lines of each color you want to include. I painted about 1 inch lines of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I left spaces in between each color so I wouldn’t get any blending but next time I may paint each color up until the next color to get some blending. I cleaned my brush of in between painting each color.

Folding the cookie dough

Lift up your parchment or wax paper and fold the cookie dough over 1/3 of the way making sure to match up your colors, (You want your red folding down on the red, orange on orange…)

Remove wax paper

Peel the parchment or wax paper back onto your work surface.

Folding cookie dough again

Lift your paper and fold the bottom of the dough over 1/3 of the way to close up your dough and seal the food coloring inside.

peel paper back

Again, peel back your paper.

Dust with powdered sugar

Dust your cookie dough with flour or powdered sugar and roll it out with a rolling pin.

Roll out your cookie dough

You only want to roll out the dough in one direction, in the same direction that your vertical stripes are going, towards you and away from you. Do not widen it by rolling it left to right. Try to roll it to about 12×12 inches. At this point, I folded the dough the same way as before: from top to middle about 1/3 of the way down matching your vertical stripes, and then bottom up to form a rectangle. I then rolled it out the same way, towards and away, not left to right.

Rotate your dough and roll up

Now rotate your dough 90 degrees by turning your whole piece of paper. The colored lines should now be horizontal. Lift your dough from the bottom by lifting your paper (I started from the purple color) start rolling your dough into a log.

Rolling your dough into a log

Keep lifting the paper to allow it to roll up making sure to peel the paper away.

divide your dough

Once your dough is rolled up, divide it into 3 equal pieces (or as equal as you can get it-no need to measure). Cutting will make the dough easier to handle.

swirly rainbow cookie dough

Once you divided your dough, you will be able to see the cool swirly effect! Take each log and lengthen/ thin it by rolling it to about 8 inches long. You may feel some air inside the log. That’s okay, just squeeze the dough a bit to remove those pockets and continue to roll into a smooth tight log.

roll in sprinkles

This part is optional, but I couldn’t skip the rainbow sprinkles! Spread out some rainbow sprinkles and then roll your dough in the sprinkles. You can leave the ends bare since they will get sliced off anyway.

cookie dough covered in sprinkles

Once your dough is covered in sprinkles, tightly roll it up in wax or parchment paper and chill it in the freezer for at least 1/2 hour. (At this point you could store it in the freezer for up to 3 months, I would just store it in a freezer ziplock bag. Just slice and bake when needed).

slice your cookie dough

After your dough is chilled it will be easier to slice. Using a serrated knife, slice your cookies about 1/2 inch wide. You should get 12-15 cookies from each of your 3 logs.

ready to bake

Arrange your cookies cut side up on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. You don’t really want to see any browning, you just want the cookies to look dry on top. If you brown them too much they may not be tender.

Rainbow Swirl Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

You did it! Hope you enjoy making these impressive cookies. They really are easy to make-I can’t wait to see your cookie designs! Here’s my easy dairy-free recipe.

Rainbow Swirl Slice and Bake Cookies {Recipe}
Serves: 36 cookies
  • 1½ cups vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • rainbow sprinkles, optional
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the shortening and powdered sugar.
  2. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine. The dough will be crumbly.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until dough forms.
  4. Follow my blog tutorial for coloring and forming dough.
  5. Freeze your 3 logs of dough for at least ½ hour.
  6. While your dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Slice your dough into about ½ inch wide slices.
  8. Arrange your cookies cut side up on cookie sheet, spacing them apart because they spread.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies no longer look wet.
  10. Enjoy!

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Another Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Cake

Planes Trains Automobiles Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

I guess you can say that this is my most popular cake right now. It totally makes sense though, look how cute it is! Kids love it because of all the transportation included; moms love it because it’s sweet and young and whimsical. Win-win! So this is my second version of this cake. The original had larger cars and trains. I made them smaller to fit more around the cake. I also designed some cloud cutters, car cutters, and a train cutter to speed up the decorating process. You can also purchase the cutters to make this airplane topper. Once you have the cutters, check out my tutorial for putting it all together. Stay tuned for my two tier version of this cake!

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Pumpkin Spice Twist Cookies {recipe}

Pumpkin Spice Twist Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer. But there is something so great about Fall…oh yeah-pumpkin spice overload. Now I agree that the pumpkin craze can get a little overwhelming, but I absolutely love it! I think I’ve shared more pumpkin recipes than any other category. These cookies use pure pumpkin puree just as my pumpkin snickerdoodles (first blog post ever!!), doughnuts, doughnut holes, cinnamon buns, and hamantaschen. Last year I discovered pumpkin spice pudding mix and used that to make chocolate chip cookies, and simple pumpkin spice pudding cookies. I have a few more ideas for this pudding mix and I hope to do some recipe testing soon.

Pumpkin Spice Twists | Lil Miss Cakes

These cookies are similar to a classic cinnamon twist cookies, but they are perfectly seasonal. The pureed pumpkin give these a nice orange color. The cookie dough has a blend of pumpkin spice flavors mixed inside. Then the cookies are rolled in cinnamon sugar and twisted into this cute shape. These cookies are perfect alongside a cup of tea or coffee as the weather starts to cool down. My recipe is dairy-free, margarine-free, and freeze beautifully.

Pumpkin Spice Twist Cookies {Recipe}
Serves: 4½ dozen
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup 100% pure canned pumpkin
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
½ cup sugar + 1 Tbs. cinnamon for rolling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugars with the oil and eggs and beat until combined.
  3. Add in the vanilla and pumpkin and mix to combine.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Mix on low until the dough comes together.
  5. Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour so the dough is easy to work with.
  6. In a small bowl mix 1.2 cup sugar and 1 Tbs. cinnamon.
  7. Once dough is chilled, scoop dough into about 2 tsp. sized balls. I use a cookie scoop for even and easy measuring. Roll each ball of dough into a log about 3 inches long. roll the dough in the cinnamon sugar mix. Flatten dough slightly and then twist and set onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for about 8 minutes until just lightly brown.
  9. Allow to cool and enjoy!
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Apple Honey Crumb Muffins {Recipe}

Apple Honey Crumb Muffins | Lil Miss Cakes

For some reason I really like baking cookies. Alot.  Most of the recipes I share are for cookies-they look good, are easy to bake and serve and they freeze well. For the holiday season my most popular recipe is for simple honey cookies. I also shared a recipe for honey sugar cookies and honey whoopie pies which are like an elevated snack cookie/cake hybrid. So naturally when I found an old recipe for apple honey cookies I knew it would be a perfect recipe for the Jewish New Year. After baking the first batch, the cookies were just too soft and tender to hold up as a cookie, and they were coming out all wonky instead of perfectly cute and even. I thought they would be better suited as a muffin. They needed a bit of excitement though, the batter itself was a little one note for me. So I added a simple crumb topping. Then the crumb topping really just needed a bit of icing, but that’s totally optional. My family really doesn’t like traditional honey cake so I’m always looking for recipes that work in apples and honey and this one is perfect! The muffins are sweet, spiced and tender with bits of fresh apples throughout. The crumbs give the muffins a bit of a crunch and the icing adds a touch of sweetness. There is quite a bit of honey in the recipe and these muffins go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee, but they definitely don’t taste like that old school dry honey cake.

Apple Honey Crumb Muffins {Recipe}
Serves: 18 Muffins
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup dairy-free sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ cups peeled and chopped apples (1-2 apples)
Crumb Topping
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ½-1 Tbs. water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin or cupcake pans with 18 liners and set aside.
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the shortening, brown sugar, and honey until smooth.
  2. Mix in the eggs and sour cream and beat until smooth.
  3. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  4. Peel and core the apples and then dice them into small pieces. Stir them into the batter.
  5. Divide the batter between the cupcake pans, filling each about ¾ of the way full.
Crumb Topping
  1. In a small bowl, mix the xugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Pour in the oil and mix until large crumbs form.
  2. Sprinkle about 1 Tbs. of topping on each muffin.
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and spring back to the touch.
  4. Allow to cool before adding the icing.
  1. In a small bowl, pour in the powdered sugar. Slowly sir in a bit of water at a time until the icing is a nice thick consistency. Use a spoon to drizzle a bit of icing on each muffin. I prefer to fill a disposable pastry bag with the icing and drizzle it that way. You can also use a Ziploc bag and snip the tiniest hole in the corner.

Some tips: I like baking with granny smith apples since they don’t break down in the oven, they really hold their shape.
Store in an airtight container, but I wouldn’t keep them at room temperature for too long, since the apples can start to go bad. Refrigerate for short term, but the fridge can cause baked goods to dry out. The best storage solution is to freeze them until ready to serve. The muffins defrost really quickly.

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NYPD Lieutenant Uniform Cake

NYPD Uniform Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

This cake was really exciting to make. It’s based on the original doctor lab coat cake and second version I’ve made in the past. The cake was for an NYPD police officer who had recently been promoted to lieutenant. His mother had seen my doctor cake and thought it would look great as the NYPD uniform and she couldn’t have been more spot on!

NYPD Tie | Lil Miss Cakes

The uniform is very classic, white shirt, navy jacket, navy tie. So to spice it up I gave the tie some texture and I really like how it worked. Here you can also see the stitched detailing.

NYPD Lieutenant Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

I used a bit of artistic license with the badge and just simplified the design, but the shape is very reminiscent of the actual badge. The handcuffs were also a bit simplified, but they look perfect draped off the side.

NYPD Collage | Lil Miss Cakes

Here’s a bit of a closeup on the details. I love the gold buttons, they look so regal! This cake was the perfect way to celebrate a great promotion, congrats!

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First Communion Cake

First Communion Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

This was my first ever first communion cake. It was also my first time trying to apply some sort of lace pattern to a cake. I got a request for a lace design and although I have never done it before, I never turn down a challenge! I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to pull this off, so I bought a few lace molds and messed around with them until I figured out exactly which one was going to work best. This one is the Cinderella Lace Mold by RVO and I used it twice to make the wide band. I believe I used gum paste in the mold since it’s firmer than fondant and I didn’t have the recommended mexican paste. The cross is made of gum paste that I covered in edible sugar pearls. The flowers are handmade peonies that I edged in gold to match the border of the cake. This was a cute cake and I can’t wait to work with more sugar lace!

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Strawberry Banana Ice Pops {recipe}

Strawberry Banana Ice Pops | Lil Miss Cakes

As soon as the summertime rolls around I find myself buying way too many strawberries. They look so sweet and delicious that I can’t resist. But sometimes we just can’t finish them all. Instead of freezing the strawberries as is, I thought it would be way more fun to make them into ice pops. This recipe is so quick and simple, no cooking required. It’s just four ingredients to blend and freeze! Most ice pop recipes call for some sort of fruit juice but to keep these really light and refreshing I used coconut water. The flavor of the coconut doesn’t come through at all. I also used pure maple syrup instead of white sugar to sweeten the pops. I like the flavor the maple syrup gives these treats and since it’s liquid, there is no need to cook the sugar to dissolve it. These are so refreshing delicious, I make sure to have them in my freezer all summer long. Check out some more delicious recipes that my friends brought to our virtual BBQ after the recipe.

Strawberry Banana Ice Pops {recipe}
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 Ice Pops
  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  1. Trim the green tops off the strawberries.
  2. Place all the ingredients into a blender of food processor. Blend until chunky or longer if you want your ice pops smooth.
  3. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

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