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Mini Olympics

1 Aug

We are in full Olympic swing in our house. My little guy loves his sports so the Olympics is right up his alley. I am so excited as well because this is Thomas’ first summer Olympics. There’s something pretty special about that. We are loving watching the swimming, diving and basketball especially.

It seemed fitting that we should do our own little mini Olympics with our neighbours complete with medal presentations, podium and some yummy Olympic themed treats. It was a great day.  

Our Olympic themed treats consisted of

Olympic Flag Cupcakes

(these were just a butter cake iced with butter cream icing and M&M’s for the Olympic rings)

and

 

Honey Caramel Popcorn Olympic Torches (popcorn recipe from Taste.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup popping corn
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 60g butter, chopped
  • 12 flat bottomed small ice cream cones

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 pieces of corn. Oil is hot enough when corn turns slowly in a circle. Add remaining corn. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Shake saucepan gently when corn starts popping. Remove from heat when corn stops popping. Transfer to a large bowl. Discard any unpopped corn.Note: I have issues cooking popcorn in oil. I always burn it. So, I had seen online that you can make your own microwave popcorn using a paper bag. Put half the popping corn in a paper bag and put in microwave for approx 1 min – 1 min 30 secs and voila. Repeat with the rest of the popping corn. This is also a great way of making popcorn for kids. They can measure it out and put it in the bag – also it has no salt or butter added so it’s much healthier!
  2. Place honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 6 to 7 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Boil without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes or until light golden. Working quickly, pour caramel mixture over popcorn. Stir to combine. Spoon into ice cream cones and shape to look ‘flame like’. Set aside to cool completely.I don’t recommend doing this step with kids as the caramel gets very hot. I ended up with burnt fingers myself from touching it. 

     

Here is a list of our games and items you might need if you are going to do your own mini Olympics.

Games:

 Soccer: (cones for goals, soccer balls)

Shot put: Scrunched up foil ball for throwing, tape measure

Basket ball: basketball hoop and balls (you could also use a washing basket or box and balls)

Running Race: streamer for end of race

Balloon tennis: Balloon and 2 bats (made from paper plates and a stick)

Discus: Frisbee throwing, tape measure

Other Items needed:

Whistles

Medals (already bought)

Podium (3 steps numbered 1-2-3)

Chalkboard for recording “scores”

Tape measure

 Happy Olympics everyone!!!

 

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Hummingbird Cupcakes

13 Jun

I had never tasted hummingbird cake before. I didn’t even know what was in it. I came across this recipe on taste.com they sounded good and contained a bit of fruit (there were a couple of banana’s needing to be used in the fruit bowl) so I thought we would give them a go.

These cupcakes were delicious. They were really moist and tasty and easy to make. They also included a couple of different ingredients that we don’t use a lot in our cooking. Thomas enjoyed exploring the texture of the coconut. He said it looked like snow… He is very into snow at the moment and is often asking if it will snow at our house. Unfortunately it doesn’t get cold enough here so we have to use our imagination a little :-).

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 450g can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • Icing sugar mixture, for dusting (this didn’t work for me, the cakes were so moist the icing sugar just dissolved into them)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fanforced. Line a 12-hole, 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Sift flours, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir in sugar and coconut.
  3. Combine eggs, oil, vanilla, pineapple and banana in a bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir to combine.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of 1 cake comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

    The recipe says it makes about 16 cakes but when I made them, the mixture made 24. Plenty to freeze for lunch boxes!

North Pole Red Velvet Cupcakes

16 Jan

I saw these online and thought they would be just fantastic for our kids Christmas lunch… So Thomas and I donned our Christmas aprons and reindeer antler headbands and set to work.

I purchased some very special santa cupcake wrappers and some edible glitter crystals to sprinkle on top and they were a perfect addition to our gingerbread house.

I did cheat a bit with this one and used a can of frosting… We’re all a bit time poor at Christmas…

The recipe was easy and very tasty.

Ingredients

  • 300g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 315g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp red food colouring ( I ended up using about 4 teaspoons of colouring)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line eighteen 80ml (1/3 cup) capacity muffin pans with paper cases. Sift flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir through the sugar. Whisk the buttermilk, butter, eggs, vinegar and vanilla in a large jug until combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just combined. Stir in the food colouring.
  2. Divide the mixture among the lined pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    The recipe suggested a cream cheese frosting but we just used a butter cream one in a can and sprayed it on :-).

    To decorate:

    Sprinkle some glitter on top of the frosting

    Cut the curve off candy canes and attach a red m&m to the top using icing. Poke candy canes into cupcake at an angle. Use some rolled out fondant to make some small rectangles and write “North Pole” on with an edible pen available from cake decorating shops.

‘Eat Your Greens’ Little Cakes

9 Aug

I recently bought a new cookbook called ‘Feeding Fussy Kids’ written by Antonia Kidman and Julie Maree Wood. There are a lot of great recipes in this book. What I love about it is that they talk about “making every mouthful count”. This is something that I really try and do with Thomas. Obviously he has sweets and treats and we don’t do it all the time but where I can I try to pack his foods with vegetables and fruits and err on the side of healthy rather than lots of processed foods high in sugar and salt. I try to cook lots of homemade meals and snacks so I know exactly what goes into them and I use lots of fresh ingredients. I know life is busy and often its a lot quicker and easier to grab some convenience food which is why I do use the freezer a lot.

When I saw these little cakes I thought they were fantastic and a must try. Thomas loves chocolate and cakes (who doesn’t!) and this afternoon when I asked him if he’d like to make some chocolate cupcakes he said “is it exciting Mummy?” – meaning he was excited :-). He stayed and helped me the whole time, measuring out ingredients and mixing. He is getting very good at cracking eggs now and barely needs my help (I just have to watch that the shell doesn’t go in).

These cakes have a cup and a half of green vegetables and have lots of fibre and no saturated fat, not to mention they are chocolate cupcakes… Win-win if you ask me!

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup broccoli finely grated (finely chop the tops)

1/2 cup zucchini finely grated

1/2 cup white self raising flour

1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon low fat milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 190°. Line 18 patty pans with paper cases. (I only made 12)

Whisk the eggs, oil and sugar together in a large bowl.

Add the vegetables, flours, cocoa, baking powder and milk and mix well.

Spoon into the prepared times and bake for 15-20 minutes or until springy to a gentle touch. Lift out onto a wire rack and cool.

You can make a thin glaze with water, icing sugar and cocoa powder to put on the top or eat them plain.

Ok, so they sound a little bit interesting. They do actually taste quite nice. I can’t say I would crave them but you can’t really taste the vegetables in them and Thomas thought they were great. I would recommend putting the vegies in without the kids seeing though. Thomas did say to me “Tom not like zucchini” when I told him what was in the bowl :-).

Good luck. Would love to hear what you think about them…

Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper

26 Jun

I read about this book in a magazine recently and found it today. It just HAD to come and live at our house!

This is a cute little story about a little cupcake who feels a bit plain next to his brothers and sisters who have all kinds of decorations. He makes a new friend candle who helps him look for a decoration that will make him feel more special.

In the back the book has a recipe for “deliciously plain vanilla cupcakes” and “deliciously plain vanilla buttercream” so you can make your own cupcakes. The book says its aimed at 4-6 year olds. I can’t wait to read it to Thomas. Would make a great gift along with some patty cases and some cooking utensils for a mini chef!

Pink Smartie Cupcakes

16 Apr

My mini chef LOVES to make birthday cakes. Whenever it is someone’s birthday, we have to bake pink smartie cupcakes. They can’t have any other colour icing or different decorations – it has to be pink and they have to have smarties (oh and sprinkles!). He’s not a big risk taker – he likes his formula and he’s sticking to it!

Today it was Thomas’ cousins birthday party so this morning we made our signature pink smartie cupcakes…

We just used the basic butter cake recipe out of the Woman’s Weekly Kids Birthday Cake Cookbook and their butter frosting. You can’t beat it… YUM!

Ingredients:

125g butter softened

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup milk

1 & 1/2 cups self raising flour

Method:

  1. Preheat moderate oven.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat each until just combined.
  4. Stir in flour and milk in 2 batches.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared patty cases (makes 12).
  6. Bake in moderate oven until cooked (approx 15-18 minutes).
  7. Stand in cake pan for about 5 minutes and then turn onto wire rack to cool.
Butter Cream:
125g butter softened
1 &1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tablespoons milk
Beat butter in small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible. Gradually beat in half icing sugar, milk, then remaining icing sugar. Colour as required.
Decorating cupcakes is a great school holiday activity (or birthday party activity – there are some great cakeboxes you can get so the children can take their cakes home instead of a lolly bag). You can use any kind of lollies and decorations you like (or your child likes) and let them be creative!
This kind of activity can be a fantastic way for children who aren’t necessarily interested in painting and drawing to express themselves creatively. Try to let them have control with little input from you about what they put where. Children develop a sense of self esteem when their efforts are respected and valued by their carers.

Have fun!