Kids big and small love eating cupcakes. If the little ones are too young to help with the cooking they definitely aren’t too young to get involved with the decorating! At my kids’ birthday parties when they were toddlers, I used to bake a whole heap of cupcakes and make a cream cheese and jam frosting, which is the perfect sticky base for the decorations. Then I’d set out a table with all sorts of decorations – sprinkles, crumbled chocolate, mini M&Ms and marshmallows then let them go crazy decorating the cupcakes. I always found it funny watching which kids ate only the toppings and which kids ate only the cake!
Even though my kids are older now, they still love decorating cupcakes, so sometimes I take a batch of undecorated cupcakes when we go camping. Then when we are in need of some quieter time I bring out the frosting and some sprinkles. I don’t have quite the variety I had at their parties, but a few different things will keep them amused for a while, and the benefit is that they decorate so many the adults get to eat them afterwards.
100g butter, softened
185g caster sugar
½ teaspoon natural vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125ml (½ cup) milk
200g self-raising flour
250g cream cheese
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
Sprinkles, crumbled chocolate flake, mini M&Ms
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole (80ml (one third cup) capacity) muffin tin with paper cases.
2 Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer, until pale and soft.
3 Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Add the milk and flour alternately in small amounts and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix.
4 Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases, then bake for 15–20 minutes, or until cooked and golden on top. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
5 To decorate, beat the cream cheese to soften, then add the jam and mix to combine. Put the different sprinkles and chocolate into separate small bowls. Put the cupcakes out and let the kids decorate them. Using a blunt knife, spread them first with the cream cheese frosting, then add the toppings.
More fun kids’ camping recipes can to be found in my cookbook Hungry Campers Cookbook being published I October 2013.
Photography Natasha Milne (copyright Hardie Grant Explore)