I love cupcakes. They make me think of birthday parties. Presents. Walking the streets of New York with a vanilla cupcake and mile high blue buttercream icing from Magnolia Bakery. Yum.
My kids like cupcakes too. Really, what isn’t there to like. Cupcakes are kid sized cakes.
Baking cupcakes, and sometimes muffins that I call cupcakes, are a favorite thing to do around here. I find baking is the perfect way to fill a rainy or snowy afternoon. Especially if you get strategic about it.
I like to get the kids to do their baking in the dining room. This means we spend at least ten minutes carrying all the ingredients and tools that we need to make the cupcakes from the kitchen to the dining room. I give them one thing at a time. Maybe two spoons on one trip, but that is pushing it!
I sit my kids beside each other at the dining room table. My three-year old daughter is in charge of the bowl of wet ingredients. I even let her break the eggs. Sure I sometimes have to pick out some egg-shell, but she really enjoys it. She also really enjoys transferring ingredients like milk and oil from the measuring cup to the bowl with a teaspoon. That can take forever! My eighteen month old son gets the bowl of dry ingredients. He can spend a long time stirring and stirring the flour with a large wooden spoon.
Sometimes I make cupcakes from a box, but more often I pull out my copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Despite the fact that all the recipes are vegan, which are great for anyone with daily allergies, I usually use milk because I have it in the house more often than soy milk. The cupcakes from this cookbook all come up light and fluffy. And since the recipes make twelve small cupcakes I don’t feel too bad eating two in one day!
Here is my modified recipe for lemon cupcakes:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Whisk one cup milk with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle.
3. Beat together milk mixture, 1/3 cup oil, 3/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon extract.
4. Mix together 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix together.
5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. (This is where the kids could start fighting so have a distraction ready. Icing works)
6. Fix a muffin pan with batter using an ice cream scoop.
7. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes. Let cool before frosting.
If I am feeling extravagant I will also whip up some icing. Just beat 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 1/2 vanilla (or lemon extract) until smooth with an electric mixer.
The icing is easy to make and the girl will happily spend ten minutes icing all the cupcakes with a spoon.
Meanwhile, her brother will happily lick a beater.
Baking may be all about the recipe, but it is also about being creative! Creative use of time that is.
Brie is the mom of a 3.5 year old daughter “the girl” and eighteen month old son “the boy”. You can read her blog at Capital Mom.