Most of you will know that I am a nanny. When people ask me what that involves, it's not an easy thing to answer. It's a bit like parenting without actually being a parent, slightly on super-alert, but lacking a layer of the intuition parents seem to have. My days are varied, and I am constantly learning. The good times far outweigh the stressful times, and I get to do fun things on a daily basis. If it's sunny, we can be outside all day, if it's rainy we bake and paint and read stories. It balances out doing nappies.
One of the things it involves about twice a month is baking. Baking with wee kids is really good fun, and quite rewarding. It is a brilliant rainy day activity. It's all about ceremony, routine, and everyone having a job and joining in(and organsiation if you are the grown up!). My wee ones know that they wash their hands first, and to get their aprons from the hook. They bring 'grown-up' chairs over to the counter to stand on. Alternately, each of them puts their finger next to the line on the scales for the weight of the ingredients (they look at the number on the recipe, then on the scales, it reinforces their number recognition) while the other helps me tip it in, and then pours it into the mixing bowl. I do the first big stir, and then they have turns. The kids and I do exactly the same amount each of dropping mixture into cake cases. It probably sounds really regimented, but they really enjoy it!
I tend to choose relatively simple recipes, dictated by what they ask to make (generally either chocolate cake or carrot cake!) and I've found this recipe always works, is simple, and is tasty and has a little bit of brownie-ness going on. They are really good, even if your aren't a child!
Chocolate on Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes 12 full case fairycakes)
55g self raising flour
55g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
110g golden caster sugar
110g butter, melted and cooled (make sure they are cool, otherwise you risk scrambling the eggs)
2 medium eggs
1tsp vanilla essence (optional)
225g icing sugar
2-3tbsp lukewarm water
1tsp vanilla essence (optional)
- pre-heat oven to 180c fan/200c
- line a fairy cake tray with cake cases
- put all of the cake ingredients in a bowl - dry first then wet
- stir with a wooden spoon (take turns if baking with kids!) until all just combined
- dollop into cake cases until the are 4/5ths full
- bake for 15-20 mins, until tops are slightly crisp
- set on a rack to cool
- whilst they are cooling, sift icing sugar into a bowl
- add vanilla if using,
- add water a little at a time, till icing is between 'coat a spoon' texture and texture of thick honey
- when cakes have cooled, put a heaped teaspoon sized dollop on the middle of each cake and spread round with back of spoon to coat
- let dry slightly and add sprinkles
Afterwards, I get the kids to help with the washing up, and then wash their hands and hang up their aprons. The are allowed to 'lick the spoon' at various points, but they have clean one each!
If anyone would like to add simple recipes for baking with kids in the comments, I'd really appreciate it, I am always looking for new ones to add to my collection.