I feel like I have done nothing but make cakes lately. They say practise makes perfect but I am not so sure. I should be getting better by now but today was one of my poorer performances and I can offer no excuse.
I am always looking at cookery books and Sophia, my five year old, is a bit like me and loves to look at beautiful food. She doesn’t see that much of it in real life – I can manage tasty, but not pretty. Like me Sophia is a willing cook and always keen to have a go. So this morning, over breakfast she told me she ‘needed’ to make the fairy cakes in her ‘Princess Cupcakes’ cookery book.
They looked easy enough, so I said yes. She went off to school and I forgot about it. Then Zac and I went shopping and I came across a good selection of the Hale n Hearty packet mixes. http://www.halenhearty.co.uk/our_range/
I decided to buy the Chocolate Brownie mix and the Chocolate Muffin mix, in the hope that the beautiful pictures on the boxes might persuade Sophia that we should try these instead. We tried the cookies a few weeks ago. Delightfully easy to make and delicious to eat.
I am having very mixed results with my own home baking, so (mistakenly) thought the children might not mind if I cheated a bit. When Sophia got home from school she declared that she absolutely needed to make the Princess Cupcakes and marched around the house looking for the book.
I am not sure if it was because I was in a hurry, or being hassled by the two of them but somehow we ended up with the mix flying around the kitchen. I seemed to lose control of my electric handmixer and suddenly it was in her hair, it was inside the toaster and all over the work top. The ‘spatter’ travelled a long way, I think I got it all, but it was not easy getting a very large globule off of the heating element inside the toaster. I suspect there may be some further inside – I guess I will find out tomorrow or next time we make toast. If it starts smoking and smelling of charred ‘fairy’ I will know for sure.
The recipe was so simple. We modified it so that it would be suitable for Zac’s gluten free, dairy free requirement. They rose nicely, probably a bit too well actually. They looked more like muffins than fairy cakes as they grew over the top of their cases. I suppose I put too much batter in the cases, but the children don’t mind. The bigger the better, as far as they are concerned. Zac wanted his plain and demolished it in a few minutes, declaring me to be ‘a good cooker lady Mummy’.
Sophia wanted to decorate hers with icing. But I couldn’t even make that properly. I just used standard icing sugar and followed the instruction but somehow couldn’t get it to look right, so gave up. I could only manage to create a runny wallpaper paste in a cup so I threw it away and suggested we use chocolate spread and sprinkles as our topping. She ‘bought’ that and was happy with the end result. It did look quite nice and tasted quite good. I had a bite of hers. She always leaves half, and I just wanted to know if Zac was telling the truth or being very kind. To be honest, I think anything topped with chocolate spread tastes good, so perhaps that is what saved them. It didn’t take too long to clear up the kitchen but I am definitely making the Hale n Hearty packet mix next time.
Just in case you want to give these cakes a go, and can be less messy than me. Here is the recipe and some pictures!
150g Pure dairy free spread
150g caster sugar
175g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Makes 12 cupcakes.
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon and then with an electric hand whisk until light and creamy. Divide the mix between 12 cupcakes cases. Bake in a preheated oven 180 degrees or gas mark 4 for about 20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack. Decorate with icing – or chocolate spread and sprinkles, as per Sophia’s special request.