Todays post is a guest post from fellow Brighton blogger Vicky, who blogs at Ville de Brighton. On her blog you’ll find a glorious assortment of things, from toddler-style to books and cafe reviews. By day she runs her own PR business and by night she is a maman to her beautiful Little G. You can find her on twitter too.
I’ve been told that teaching little ones the art of patience is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Waiting is hard, infuriating at times, but to be able to wait and not want instant gratification is one of life’s important skills (and never more so than in this instant social media age). So with my toddler Little G I try hard to put this into practice. I have found that baking is a super friendly (and delicious) way to teach small people about waiting and that waiting is good! Clearly not understanding the concept of time is hard, but by explaining the numbers on the clock my two and a half year old knows when those cakes will be ready! (though more waiting is required for them to cool down…another lesson in life as we don’t want burnt fingers!).
With Little G I started baking the easy way…with Betty Crocker…she’s a good kitchen companion! The Blueberry Muffin Mix went down a treat. All we needed extra to the mix was an egg, some oil and some milk and hey presto! A plate of muffins…in less than 30 minutes. The next step up was to crack open my Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (for serious cake aficionados – even the photos will make you drool). Again, the best place to start is at the beginning with their Vanilla Cup Cakes. Which are simply divine. Things did get a little more messy in the kitchen but I had Little G do the pouring and mixing of ingredients which she loved (we’re in an ‘I do it’ toddler stage). Once the cupcakes were in the oven I did my ‘Blue Peter’ bit…and lined up little bowls with different types of toppings and sprinkles. Little G’s face upon seeing the silver sugar balls that you could eat was priceless. In fact once the cakes were cooked, cooled and covered in icing, the only problem was stopping my little chef from eating all the sprinkles before putting them on the cakes. Once I had a little finesse to ensure all the cupcakes were decorated, they were then put out on a cake tray ready for action! Voila! So this half-term…if you have time for baking I promise no-one will be disappointed and you might even help grow the skill of patience…which I’m pretty sure you’ll be very pleased about in parenting years to come!
For the cake:
- 120g plain flour
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 120ml whole milk
- 1 egg
- ¼tsp vanilla extract
- 1 quantity vanilla frosting
- hundreds and thousands or other edible sprinkles, to decorate
- a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
For the vanilla frosting:
- 250g icing sugar, sifted
- 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 25ml whole milk
- a couple of drops of vanilla extract
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
- Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
- Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
- A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting on top and decorate with hundreds and thousands.
For the vanilla frosting:
- Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
- Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.
- Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.