Make Mother’s Day Extra Sweet This Year: Tips from SweetAmbs

Amber Spiegel headshot

Culinary sensation SweetAmbs needs no introduction (although if you do, you can read all about her here). Founder and creator Amber Spiegel rose to fame thanks to her artfully decorated cookie masterpieces and has since authored cookbooks and launched the Cookie Art Club, an exclusive community-based learning program with easy-to-follow cookie decorating tutorials. We followed up with the sweets connoisseur and mother of two to delve into the inspirations behind her designs, how to wow your mom this year, and where to look for inspiration for your own designs.

How has becoming a mother influenced your baking?

I’m actually getting new ideas from my kids, especially now that they’re getting a little bit older and have different interests. I used to do a lot of florals, a lot of lacy things, and as they’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten into more kid-themed stuff. For example, recently I just did a Minecraft cookie because they’re really into playing Minecraft. So they definitely influence the style and the different ideas that I have. It’s so cute.

Besides your kids, where do your influences come from for your designs? And how does your art and baking come together to create these cohesive, edible pieces of art?

My inspiration comes from pretty much everywhere. I’ll be walking through a store or outside and see something and think, “Oh, that would make a really nice cookie.” And since I kind of have an art background, (I wasn’t professionally trained, but I grew up doing a lot of drawing and painting because my mother is an artist so she always had supplies around) – I take those two things – I love sweets and art – [and put them] together to make cookies.

What inspiration would you like to see your fans and bakers take away from your work?

I love when people take my tutorials and recreate step-by-step what I’ve made. But I also like them to see what I’ve done and have it spark a new idea for them, which actually happens a lot. They’ll say, “Oh I saw you did this, so I turned it into this.” That’s really cool because I like the idea of inspiring somebody to make something even cooler than what I did with the idea that I put out.

You’re doing those cute doily-inspired cookies for Mother’s Day this year. How long does it take you to come up with a design, and is there a lot of trial and error when creating something for a specific holiday? 

For the ideas, I have a list on my phone that’s so long. If I’m out in the world doing something, I’ll think of an idea and I’ll have to put it in my phone and come back to it later. So the ideas are always coming to me. It’s just a matter of getting to them and getting them into a cookie form.

If I come up with an idea and I can start it right away, it takes about maybe two weeks or a week and a half to get the entire process finished from baking to the video. The cookie itself takes two days. It just depends on what it is, and these days I don’t have a lot of trial and error because I’ve been doing it for so long that I kind of know what will work in icing and what won’t. There are definitely times when I’m like, “This isn’t looking right,” and I have to scrape it off and start over. But for the most part, I can just freehand something and work it so that it looks how I want it to look in the end.

Was there a story behind the doily design for this year?

I used to crochet a lot before I had kids. I used to be able to read a crochet pattern and I could make these really intricate, lacy things. I picked it up again recently and now my daughter is getting into crocheting. She is learning how to crochet and she’ll bring her little crochet set if there’s no school, go to the YMCA, and teach her friends. So that’s kind of our little mother-daughter connection that we have with crocheting.

 So you just translated that to cookie form?

Yes, yes.

 I love that. Has your own mother influenced your cookie designs, as well?

Not so much with this design specifically, but just the skill of being able to create art definitely came from her. It was so prevalent in my life growing up; she had an art studio in the house so all the supplies were always there for me to use. I definitely had a lot of practice because of her, but we have different styles. My style was more influenced by my grandmother on my father’s side because she was an art collector for years and years; she had an art gallery and a custom framing shop. She loves floral patterns – her house is just filled with this beautiful floral wallpaper and all the furniture is covered in florals. So that’s where my style came from and the skill is more from my mom.

Is there any advice you would give to your followers for translating some of your pieces? If they don’t have that specific crochet background, is there a way for them to draw inspiration from your designs but make it more their own?

I have tons and tons of designs basically for any type of interest. It doesn’t have to be frilly and floral. I also have golf cookies and cookies that look like a little baking set with a mixing bowl. So cookies for all different types of interests and themes. Go online and Google specific interests, something that your mom was into or your grandmother, and even if you’re not looking up cookie designs specifically, just looking up pictures of the things that they’re into. Then you can take that and find a way to put it onto a cookie. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as what you see online. I think if you go and watch some cookie videos and get some inspiration to see how cookie decorators put their designs onto a cookie, that can be helpful.

We’re fascinated by your edible artistry. Maybe one last thing to share with your new Beyondish readers?

If you join the Cookie Art Club, that’s where I have all of my full-length tutorials with all the instructions and recipes and templates for a project. If somebody’s interested in getting into cookie decorating and ready to take the next step, they can come over to the Cookie Art Club and really get into that detailed instruction to learn how to do it. And I’m in the Cookie Art Club daily, so if people have questions they can just reach out to me directly and I can help them work through a project. If they want to make something for Mother’s Day, but they’re not sure how, I can help them get the idea onto a cookie. Also, there’s a seven-day free trial too, so you don’t have to commit right away. You can see how you like it first.


Amanda Mactas

Amanda Mactas is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. In addition to Beyondish, her work can be found in Time Out, Women's Health, Bella Magazine, and more.



Leave a Comment