Autumn half-term baking with kids

I’m off work this week to spend the half-term school holidays at home with the kids and – what a surprise – the weather is truly miserable. So yes, we’re resorting to our favourite rainy day activity: baking. We’ve been having fun experimenting with edible decorations from Dr Oetker and have come up with three tasty bakes you might like to try out with your gang the next time rainy day boredom sets in.

My 12-year-old daughter has set herself the challenge of eating a vegan diet for a month, so she and her friend decided to bake vegan chocolate cupcakes, which I have to admit were really rather good. We tweaked this egg-free sponge cake recipe we found on the BBC Food website, and the end result was surprisingly delicious and extremely light and fluffy.

The 9-year-old has the sweetest tooth of nearly anyone I know (Elly – if you’re reading this, you know you still hold the top spot!), so not surprisingly her two bakes really should come with a bit of a health warning. She was very taken by Dr Oetker’s pastel-coloured ‘unicorn drops’ so we turned these into big, fat, gorgeously chewy cookies. But she excelled herself with her pièce de résistance in the form of what we call marshmallow sprinkle crispy cakes, which are so sweet I can barely finish one but the kids adore them. You have been warned.

Vegan chocolate cupcakes

Makes 12

225g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g caster sugar
70ml sunflower oil
150ml oat or almond milk
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Decoration
100g dairy-free chocolate drops, melted
Dr Oetker Easy Swirl Vanilla Cupcake Icing
Dr Oetker Sprinkles (we used ‘Fairy Princess’ pink and ‘Super Hero’ blue – my daughters were not impressed by the latent sexism in the names of these!)
Dr Oetker Mini Flower Wafers

Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4. Line a 12-bun tin with 12 cupcake cases.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, and stir in the caster sugar.

Mix together the oil, oat or almond milk, vinegar and vanilla extract in a jug. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the oil and milk mixture. Give it all a good stir until the ingredients are completely mixed together.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the cupcakes are springy to the touch, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Once completely cooled, decorate with melted chocolate or icing and go crazy with sprinkles.

Unicorn chip, white chocolate and peanut butter cookies

Makes 10-12 large cookies

160g butter, melted
160g caster sugar
55g demerara sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg, gently beaten
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
240g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
70g white chocolate drops
70g Dr Oetker Unicorn Chips

Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4. Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Place the melted butter in a large bowl with the caster and demerara sugar and cream together until pale and frothy.

Add the vanilla essence, egg and peanut butter and beat again, before mixing in the flour, baking powder and salt.

When the dough is smooth and thick, stir in the white chocolate drops and unicorn chips.

Roll pieces of the dough into walnut-sized balls and place onto the baking trays. Make sure they are well spaced out.

Bake for 9-10 minutes until they are a pale golden colour.

Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Marshmallow sprinkle crispy cakes

100g Dr Oetker Heart Marshmallows, chopped small
75g butter, cubed
100g strawberry jam
100g toasted rice cereal
Dr Oetker Sprinkles

Line a 12-bun tin with 12 cupcake cases.

Place the marshmallows, butter and strawberry jam into a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Melt gently and use a hand whisk to mix together.

Pour the rice cereal and a generous ‘handful’ of sprinkles (my children finished off two large pots) into a large bowl and pour over the melted marshmallow mixture. Use a large spatula to mix well, ensuring all the cereal is completely coated.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and press down with the back of a spoon to pack them down.

Chill in the fridge until set – 30 minutes to an hour.

More ideas for baking with kids

Banana, apricot and chocolate bread

Oatie cookies with ginger and chocolate

Love heart double chocolate cupcakes

Disclaimer
Thanks to Dr Oetker for supplying a selection of complimentary edible decorations for us to experiment with so that we could develop these recipes. For more baking inspiration visit www.oetker.co.uk.

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