Whilst we are all on lockdown and trying to keep the kids busy, we have apparently become a nation of home bakers.
Baking is something that we can all enjoy and that helps fill in time whilst hopefully having something to show and eat with the end results.
There are also benefits of baking with children: Hands on cooking activities help children develop confidence and skill. Following recipes encourages children to be self- directed and independent, it also teaches them to follow directions and develop problem-solving skills.
Whilst the wider benefits without the child even been aware of them are that, baking pretty much covers the whole national curriculum!
Maths: From weighing and measuring ingredients to measuring cake tins
English: Reading a recipe offers the chance to discover new words and spellings and following the instructions encourages a child to read to discover what happens next
Science: Baking is essentially a science experiment! How do ingredients change when they are mixed together? How do different things react with one another: water and flour; egg and sugar etc. Why does cream go fluffy when it’s whisked? How does heat change the cake mixture into a cake? Children naturally ask questions when faced with exciting things happening in the bowl in front of them, and together you can set out on an adventure to find the answers!
Art and design: From designing a cake to decorating it, the opportunities for kids to get creative are endless. You could try different vegetable dyes for marbling effects, cutters to make shape with fondant. Or simply adding some of our delicious edible decorations. simplytoppers.co.uk/shop/
The following are selection of some of my favourite recipes, enjoy
Vegetarian – Cupcakes
Dairy-free, Egg free, Vegan Vegetarian
- 110g softened butter
- 110g golden caster sugar
- 110g self-raising flour
- 2 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream
- 150g softened butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp milk
Food colouring paste of your choice (optional)
- 1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and fill a 12 cupcake tray with cases.
2. Using an electric whisk beat 110g softened butter and 110g golden caster sugar together until pale and fluffy then whisk in 2 large eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
3. Add ½ tsp vanilla extract, 110g self-raising flour and a pinch of salt, whisk until just combined then spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases.
4. Bake for 15 mins until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.
5. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream
- 1. Whisk 150g softened butter until super soft then add 300g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
- 2. Whisk together until smooth (start off slowly to avoid an icing sugar cloud) then beat in 3 tbsp milk.
- 3. If wanting to colour, stir in the food colouring now. Spoon or pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.
These cupcakes will look really great when you add our toppers simplytoppers.co.uk/shop/
Vegan Sponge Cake
- Dairy-free, Egg free, Vegan Vegetarian
- 150g dairy-free spread, plus extra for the tins
- 300ml dairy-free milk, we used oat milk
- 300g self-raising flour
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the filling
- 100g dairy-free spread
- 200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 4 tbsp jam, we used strawberry
- 1.Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line the bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment and grease with a little of the dairy-free spread.
- 2. Put the dairy-free milk into a jug and add the vinegar, leave for a few minutes until it looks a little lumpy.
- 3. Put half of the vanilla seeds and all the other cake ingredients into a large bowl then pour over the milk mixture. Using electric beaters or a wooden spoon, beat everything together until smooth.
- 4. Divide the mix between your two tins then bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out cleanly.
- 5. Leave them in their tins until cool enough to handle then carefully turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, make the filling.
To make the vegan buttercream
- 1. whisk or beat together the dairy-free spread, icing sugar and remaining vanilla seeds until pale and fluffy. Dairy-free spreads do vary so if the spread you are using is quite soft try to avoid using electric beaters.
- 2. Stir the ingredients together instead to avoid overworking it. However, if the mixture is too firm, use electric beaters to help lighten it and add 1-2 tbsp of dairy-free milk when whisking.
- 3. Spread the jam onto one of the cooled sponges, top with the buttercream then place the other sponge on top. Dust the assembled cake with a little icing sugar or caster sugar before slicing.
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 175ml sunflower oil
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 140g grated carrot (about 3 medium)
- 100g raisins
- grated zest of 1 large orange
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated will give you the best flavour)
For the Frosting
- 175g icing sugar
- 1½-2 tbsp orange juice
- 1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Oil and line the base and sides of an 18cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
- 2. Tip 175g light muscovado sugar, 175ml sunflower oil and 3 large beaten eggs into a big mixing bowl. Lightly mix with a wooden spoon.
- 3. Stir in 140g grated carrots, 100g raisins and grated zest of 1 large orange.
- 4. Sift 175g self-raising flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and ½ tsp grated nutmeg into the bowl.
- Mix everything together, the mixture will be soft and almost runny.
- 5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 mins or until it feels firm and springy when you press it in the centre.
- 6. Cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn it out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack. (You can freeze all or part of the cake at this point if you want to serve it at a later date.)
To make the frosting
- 1. Beat 175g icing sugar and 1½ 2 tbsp orange juice in a small bowl until smooth – you want the icing about as runny as single cream.
- 2. Put the cake on a serving plate and boldly drizzle the icing back and forth in diagonal lines over the top, letting it drip down the sides.
Why not select some beautiful, fully edible decorations to add to your bakes to make them that extra special?
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