Baking with children - Guest blog by Suzanne Heaven
The last week or so has been one of extreme weathers. We’ve had a heatwave and then rain, rain and more rain. Oh and we’re forecast to have yet more rain. Even now that I run my own cake baking and decorating business, I still associate rainy days with baking. When I was little, a rainy Sunday afternoon was a perfect time for my Mum and I to pull on our pinnies and rustle up something for pudding after Sunday lunch. More often than not, it was butterfly cakes, which kind of reveals my age. Very seventies. I used to marvel at the way my mum scooped out the top of the fairy cake, whizzed up a bit of buttercream, and made two wings, nestled in buttercream and the inevitable hundreds and thousands.
Today’s kids probably expect something a little more exciting, but my daughter still loves to make good old-fashioned vanilla fairy cakes. No wings this time, but she loves buttercream on the top and adding her favourite sprinkles. I have a cupboard full of all kinds of sprinkles for all occasions, but my daughter loves the chocolate swirls the best. For me, Mary Berry’s vanilla cupcake recipe stands out above all others.:
175g of self-raising flour
175g of marg or unsalted butter
175g of caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon of baking powder and a little vanilla extract, and that’s it, you’re done.
My daughter loves spooning the mixture into the cases and watching them rise before her eyes in the oven. Then it’s the long wait for them to cool, before we can buttercream and eat! I have to admit, sometimes she just eats them warm, and actually still warm and fresh out the oven, I think they’re delicious!
I don’t think you can beat a good vanilla cupcake. Infinitely versatile, they’re perfect for any occasion, and they can be dressed up or down. Pop some creamy buttercream on the top and some luxurious sprinkles or pretty hearts and they’re wedding ready, or a few hundreds and thousands on the top and they’re perfect for a children’s party. I know that even now, when Libby has made them herself, she enjoys them more. Using Mary’s recipe too, you know exactly what’s in them and there’s no added preservatives or artificial flavourings.
I know I’m biased but I don’t think you can beat baking with your little one, or your big one. Pop the radio on, sing along to your favourite tunes, and create something yummy that you can both enjoy afterwards. Start when they’re really little, they can help you mix everything together and they’ll love eating them afterwards. As with anything you enjoy with your little one, you can move onto something more sophisticated if you like but I don’t think you can beat cupcakes. On the next rainy day, why not get the flour and sugar out and give it a whirl.
Lots of Love,
Suze, Heaven’s Homebaked Cakes xx