A week ago I promised one vanilla cupcake recipe with attached story of cooking with said toddler....one week, an infant cold and whirlwind week later...here it is!
Ealier in the week was week of the testy toddler...he hit an all time high on the richter scale of terrible twos....and with a new range of fluttering butterfly cupcake toppers to be launched, I need to turn his need for attention into something practical....so we cooked cupcakes.
We have cooked together quite a few times before...and armed with the right frame of mind, a little extra patience, its a lovely bonding experience. oh...and you need sense of humour....for anything can unravel.
Lacking a little sleep this day, I wasn't 100% prepared...we got through the loading of the cupcake tins, mixing the ingredients, and were on the home stretch licking the beaters...I turn my back and Mr Monkey who in a flash decided he would add the WHOLE very new and very full bottle of vanilla to the batch....nice...breathe..., lucky the batter was done and the mixer was off (at the switch) AND lucky alcohol cooks out, because they were quite potent from the essence...I picked up the bowl, emptied the pooling liquid from the batter...and moved onto the next task...hense I bring to you my tips for cooking cupcakes with toddlers....
*Be prepared, measure out your ingredients first, set up the bowls, the beaters, your equipment and pre-heat the oven...
*Dress them to get messy!
*Have on standby lots of paper towel or baby wipes, the bench and the toddler will get messy...and you, if you don't try too hard!
*Think about the tasks they can do....read through the recipe and plan the execution in your mind...as anything can take place whilst you are up to your arms in cake batter...cupcakes are great as they can put the patty pans into the tins, pour the ingredients into the bowl and later spoon the mixture into the patty tins...easily little steps which keep them busy as little bees.
*If possible don't do this exercise at the kitchen bench, as every time you go to cook after this, they want in....and that isn't always ideal...particularly when your trying to bang out three different dinners for the family at witching hour...our laundry bench was perfect, sink at arms reach, and easily cleanable.
*Have ready a new game for distraction for when the cakes go into the oven...the last thing you want is said toddler opening the oven...every five seconds!
*Remember to Breathe!
This is our favourite vanilla cupcake recipe. Since the latest cupcake making episode I have purchased some vanilla bean paste, which I do actually prefer in this recipe...and its just that little bit more toddler proof...
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup (120g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla essence)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups self raising flour (sifted)
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 deg. F)
Line 12 cup muffin pans with patty pans
Using electric beaters, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually add egg, beating well between each addition. Add flour alternatively with milk.
Divide evenly between patty cases.
Bake for 12-15 mins or until golden. Test by gently touching the top of the cake which should spring back.
Leave to cool into pans slightly before turning out onto cooling rack.
I do confess...I cheated and looked to betty crocker to help me through icing these babies...done whilst the toddler was sleeping...topped with a little bit of shredded coconut...YUMMO!
If your brave enough to tackle this task with a toddler...do share your stories....do....!
ps below photo is from another cooking experience...but really, its priceless to see him lick the spoon...better than eating the cupcakes themselves!