Smart Cookie

The Secret Behind This Local Bakery’s Signature Frosting

Article by Stephanie Meinberg

Photography by Stephanie Meinberg

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

Royal icing? Step aside. Begone, you brittle, tasteless topping. You once ruled on eye appeal alone, but no more. Cookies (tastebuds!r) deserve better. And lo and behold, we’ve found it—thanks to the brother-sister team at A Spoon Fulla Sugar. While this bakery is known for wedding cakes, they’re quickly becoming the go-to for thick-cut, buttercream-adorned, stunningly decorated sugar cookies. A new monarch reigns supreme. What’s more—they’re sharing their family’s frosting secret.

Sugar Cookie Buttercream Frosting

1 lb unsalted butter
1½ lb powdered sugar (10X)
Splash of vanilla

Soften the butter. Sift the powdered sugar. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Spread on cookies, pipe decorations using a pastry bag; embellish with nonpareils or sprinkles.  

“Royal icing cookies look great, but you almost don’t want to eat them because you know they don’t taste good.” Alex Martin speaks the truth. Together with his sister Jamie Carlson, they’re mixing up sweet, sugar-laden magic at A Spoon Fulla Sugar. “We try to make everything taste as good as it looks.”

“That’s important to us,” Jamie adds. “We don’t want to be your run-of-the-mill place, so we really put more time and effort into everything.” 

And it shows. One buttery-rich whiff just walking through their door is all the convincing you need. Beyond the bakery case, their entire talented team is hard at work on pans and pans of cakes, cut-out cookies and Lil’ Spoonies—think cup o’ cake layered with mousse, cream cheese or buttercream. I wanted to know if they had a favorite.

“Chocolate cake with Oreo mousse.” No hesitation from Alex.

“Hummingbird cake is usually my standard,” admits Jamie. “But then I’d say our chocolate cake … we grew up on that, my mom and my aunt’s recipe.”

It’s a family affair. Alex and Jamie’s sister Jennifer opened the bakery’s doors back in 2008, passing the official torch to her siblings almost a decade later. Alex estimates they now create about 300 wedding cakes alone each year.

“We helped Jennifer pursue her dreams by working for her when she opened. Then I ended up taking over full-time,” shares Alex. “Now, the cookies have turned into a full-time job for Jamie, too.”

“For a while, I don’t think people knew about our cookies,” laughs Jamie. A la ‘secret menu’ around the holidays. “Then people were like wait a minute, I can get these all the time?!” Yes, yes you can (and speaking from experience, you should). 

“The Bengals playoffs were really huge—that’s another thing that put our cookies on the map,” Alex says. “We were doing so many! And that was fun, because before each playoff game, we’d come up with different designs and go off the storyline from the game before.”

No doubt Jamie has a true talent for making this buttercream look as stunning as it tastes. But see for yourself—that frosting recipe is pretty straightforward. So what is it about these cookies? Alex and Jamie laugh, loud and unfettered as only close siblings do. You can tell they enjoy working together. 

“It’s a simple basic icing recipe,” Alex says with a grin. “But we use quality Mexican vanilla. The store-bought stuff isn’t good.” 

I pipe up with a quip about that making all the difference. “Yeah, it does,” agrees Jamie. “It really does.”

Try their frosting recipe on your own, or skip the mixer and go straight to the source. A Spoon Fulla Sugar is open for walk-in service only on Fridays and Saturdays (with a holiday bakery case stocked full, all month)—but if you’re worried about missing out, they always take call-ahead and online orders. 

ASpoonFullaSugar.com | 11916 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati | 513.683.0444  

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