Cupcakes are enjoying widespread popularity at the moment, they are great fun to make, decorate and eat, as well as appealing to a whole range of ages.
Baking and decorating cupcakes is an excellent craft choice for children. You can make them and while they are baking or cooling, it’s time for a break before continuing the craft session with lots of exciting decorating. The natural break makes it a good activity if your children are younger or have a short attention span.
A Basic Cupcake Recipe
- 100g/ 4oz self-raising flour
- 100g/ 4oz caster sugar
- 100g/ 4oz butter or margarine
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl except the milk. You are looking for a well-blended creamy mixture with a ‘dropping’ consistency – dollops of it should fall easily from the spoon. Add the milk sparingly to achieve this consistency if required.
When you have a good cupcake mixture, divide it between 12 paper cases placed in a muffin tray. Now place into a pre-heated oven at 190Cº/ Gas mark 5 for about 15minutes.
Leave to cool completely before decorating.
Once you have a basic cupcake recipe, make some simple changes or additions to create different flavours.
- Add a couple of drops of vanilla extract to the basic mixture.
- For a good chocolate taste, substitute 1 tbsp of the flour you use in the recipe for the same amount of sifted cocoa powder.
- Use natural flavourings. Great options are orange juice, lemon or coffee. Use the liquids to loosen your basic cupcake mixture in place of the milk in the original recipe.
A Basic Butter cream Recipe
- 140g/ 5oz butter (soften it first)
- 280g/ 10oz icing sugar
- 1 – 2 tbsp milk.
Cream all the ingredients together to create a smooth, delicious icing for your cupcakes. Don’t forget you can also experiment with the flavour and appearance of your icing.
- adding a little desiccated coconut to taste to your icing to create a different flavour and texture.
- adding 1oz/ 25g of melted chocolate or cocoa powder to the icing mix.
- using flavour extracts e.g. vanilla, fruit juice or strong coffee.
The Finishing Touches
Once the cupcakes are thoroughly cooled, it’s time for the kids to get really artistic.
Try topping the cupcakes by either spreading the icing on with a small, flat knife or for a more professional look, kids love having a go with a piping bag.
Now the icing is finished, add sugar decorations. The home baking shelves of most supermarkets are packed with stunning sugar decorations like flowers or easy-to use icing pens in a whole rainbow of colours.
Cupcakes are easily transformed into Angel Cakes by taking the plain cooled cupcake and cutting a small disc of cake from the top. Pipe icing cream into the dip left behind and finish by cutting the cake disc in half and placing them into the piped icing to create an angel wings effect.
Making cupcakes is a fun and memorable way to spend some time together, it’s ideal for all ages and the result is truly scrumptious!