Jammy Vanilla Cupcakes

Jammy Vanilla Cupcakes

This is one of our favourite cupcake recipes – it’s so simple, and can be used in so many variations. I’ve found the key with it is to whisk, whisk and whisk again! This recipe makes 24 small/medium cupcakes, or 12 larger ones.



  • 175g (6oz) butter + 75g (2.5oz) for the icing
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175g (6oz) self raising flour
  • 350g (12oz) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • jam/jelly (we used seedless raspberry)
  • candy sprinkles & decorations
First time with the electric whisk

Preheat oven to 170°/350°/Gas mark 3

Soften the butter in a microwave (you don’t want to melt it completely, just make it easier to mix, so use a low power setting for 10 seconds at a time). Put the softened butter into a large mixing bowl with the sugar and whisk until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract and eggs and whisk again.

Now add the flour and whisk until smooth. Keep going for several minutes to make a really light, fluffy mix.

Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 14-18 minutes. The cakes are done when the top bounces back when touched, and a skewer comes out clean. (If they don’t bounce back, return them to the oven as quickly as possible to avoid them going flat!)

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

jam.jpgOnce cool, cut out the middles (I found a traditional potato peeler was great for this), fill with jam (jelly) then put the middle back on as a “lid”.

Soften your remaining butter and mix with the icing sugar, 2tsp of vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of milk until you get a smooth icing.

IMG_0452.jpgIce your cupcakes, and add whatever tasty decorations take your fancy. (We used rainbow strips and sugar sprinkles, along with some My Little Pony figures we’d got from Kinder eggs.)baking.jpgEnjoy!


Spring Flower Sugar Cookies

Spring Flower Sugar Cookies


Another of our favourite and most versatile recipes. (The quantities are a bit weird as it’s one of the few baking recipes I do in metric as the Imperial conversions don’t work out exactly, but it’s a pretty forgiving one if you don’t get the quantities quite right anyway.)


  • 9oz (250g) butter, softened
  • 5½oz (150g) sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 11oz (325g) plain flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar
  • Milk (for the icing)
  • Food colouring
  • Sugar sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350°/180°/Gas mark 4.


In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Gradually mix in the flour until you get a good workable dough. Wrap in saran wrap (cling film) and refrigerate for an hour.

Roll the dough to about 5mm thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. (It doesn’t have to be neat – the photo shows what ours were like after the kiddos had “shaped” them, and they still turned out great!) Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly browned around the edges.

Leave to cool completely then ice as desired. (To make the icing I just measured out a bowlful of icing sugar, then gradually added milk until it would only just pour from a spoon). We made cheerful spring flowers with bright icing, sugar sprinkles and chocolate pieces!


Cooking with Kids – Choccy Coconut Balls

Cooking with Kids – Choccy Coconut Balls

This recipe is so simple and so tasty you wan’t believe it uses just 4 ingredients! (In fact, you can even make it with 3 if you want to leave out the coconut). The basic recipe is very similar to Easy Chocolate Tiffin but even more kid-friendly as it requires no heat sources whatsoever. In fact, my 4 year old and 1 year old more or less managed to make the whole thing by themselves (with just a careful and well timed catch required from me when my over-enthusiastic 16 month old managed to launch the whole mixing bowl off the table while crunching up the biscuits!)



  • 8oz (225g) digestive biscuits, whole wheat biscuits or Graham crackers
  • 4oz (115g) desiccated coconut
  • 14oz (397g can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3tbsp cocoa powder
  • Assorted cake sprinkles/extra coconut
  • Mini cupcake cases (optional)

cook 1


Crush the biscuits completely. You can do this in a food processor, but a more fun way is to put them in a clear plastic bag and let the kids crush them with a heavy rolling pin (I can still remember doing this as a child myself, all those thirty-something years ago! :-))

cook3 (2)Empty the crushed biscuits into a large mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder and the coconut and stir to combine.

Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, and mix well until you get a good workable consistency. (You may not need the whole tin – we didn’t, but that may have had something to do with the copious number of biscuits that went missing in the making).

Take small (dessert-spoonful) scoops of the mixture, roll into balls and cover with sprinkles or extra coconut. (I laid out various topping on paper plates, and the children rolled the balls in these to coat as desired.)

Put each ball into a mini-cupcake case, if you have them, or else directly onto a plate and chill in the fridge for an hour.




Easy Minion Lemon Cupcakes



For the cakes:

  • 4oz (115g) butter
  • 4oz (115g) caster sugar
  • 5oz (140g) self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 large lemon, or 2 smaller ones

For the icing & decorating:

  • icing sugar
  • milk
  • yellow food colour
  • black food colour or icing pen
  • white royal icing, or chocolate buttons, or marshmallows (for the eyes)


Preheat oven to 350°/180°/Gas mark 4.

Soften butter slightly in the microwave, then cream together with the sugar in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then combine with the butter and sugar mixture. Grate and add the zest of 1 lemon along with 1tbsp of the lemon juice. Finally, mix in the self-raising flour and baking powder (proper cooks say to sieve it, but I never do!)

Place your cupcake cases into a cupcake tray and spoon the mix into each case until they are about ⅓ full. Bake for around 15-20 minutes, until springy (when tested with a skewer it will come out clean and dry).

Place on a wire rack to cool.

Now, mix up your icing. (I didn’t check the quantities I used for this, just put some icing sugar into a bowl, mixed in the remainder of the lemon juice and then topped it up with milk until it was a good consistency.) Add yellow food colouring until it looks a good Minion-y hue.

Ice the cupcakes and decorate as desired (you can, for example, use white chocolate buttons, slices of marshmallow or small circles of royal icing for the eyes). We used a ready-made tube of black icing, but you can make your own by creaming icing sugar together with butter, adding black colouring, and piping with a very fine nozzle.

Enjoy! (As you can see from the pictures, our girls certainly did!) 🙂




Cooking with Kids – Easy Fruity Flapjacks

This is another of our favourite recipes, and a great one for kids to get involved with as they can have great fun digging their (clean) hands into the mix!


  • 8oz (225g) oats
  • 4oz (115g) butter
  • 4oz (115g) soft brown sugar (I use a mix of dark and light)
  • 1⁄4 cup golden (corn) syrup
  • Generous handful of dried fruit


Preheat oven to 350°/180°/Gas mark 4.

Grease a medium-sized (mine was 6″ x 9″) baking tin or line with greaseproof paper.

Mix the oats and sugar together in a large bowl.

Soften the butter in a microwave until it begins to melt then pour into the bowl with the oat mixture. Add the golden syrup and combine well (this is where using your fingers can be best!)

Stir in the dried fruit (we used a mix of mango, papaya, pineapple, coconut, raisins and cranberries – and it was delicious!)

Optional step: Try and stop your kids from eating the entire mix before it is baked!

Pour into your greased baking tin, flatten down with the back of a spoon (or your hands, as you can see happened when we made it) and bake for around 20 minutes, until lovely and golden.

Leave to cool slightly, then turn out of the tin and cut into slices.


Little cooks can help clean up too!

Cooking with Kids – Chocolate Tiffin

I love this recipe because it requires no baking, just melting the ingredients on the hob. It’s great for kids to help with, and tastes delicious!


  • 8oz (225g) digestive biscuits, whole wheat biscuits or Graham crackers
  • 4oz (115g) raisins
  • 4oz (115g) butter
  • 4tbsp golden syrup
  • 3tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 3tbsp cocoa powder
  • 8oz (225g) chocolate (dark, milk, or a mix of both)


Line an 8″ square baking pan with greaseproof paper.

Crush the biscuits in a large mixing bowl. They don’t need to be completely powdered, in fact it’s best to leave some pieces chunky. Mix in the raisins.

Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and cocoa together in a small saucepan on a gentle heat. Pour this mixture in with the biscuits and raisins and mix well.

Pour into your lined baking tin, push down with the back of a spoon and allow to cool for at least an hour in the fridge.

Break your chocolate into chunks and melt (I put it in the microwave for a minute at 50% power, stir, then return to the microwave in 20 second bursts until fully melted).

Pour over your biscuit base and return to the fridge until completely set. Chop into slices with a sharp knife and enjoy! (If you want your slices to be really neat, you might want to bring it out and mark out the pieces with a knife before the chocolate is fully hardened, otherwise it does tend to crack as you cut it. We didn’t mind the random shaped pieces, though!)

Mmmm… delicious tiffin!

To be honest, we’ve never made it to the end of the recipe with full amounts of all ingredients, as a good deal of the chocolate and a few of the biscuits seem to disappear in the making – but every time we’ve made it it’s been delicious, so I don’t think you need to be too precise with the quantities!

This tasty treat that can really be made with any biscuit. Try custard creams with white chocolate and cherries or cranberries instead of raisins (leave out the cocoa). Or ginger biscuits with chopped stem ginger and a dark chocolate topping. We’ve tried both of those variations and they turn out fab (though the kids didn’t really like the ginger one) and I’m always on the lookout for new combinations.

If you do try it with any other biscuits or ingredients, please do write me a comment as I’d love to know!