Baking with kids ... Rainbow cup cakes

Rainbow cup cakes

Yesterday I was woken up by daughter no.2 wanting the iPad (which is the equivalent of my phone), not for watching a film or playing games, she just needed it. And quick. “Yes!” I thought as she disappeared downstairs, I can stay in bed a bit longer. Two seconds later I heard the cry of “Muuuuuum......... can you help me?” That was my lie in over.

Rainbow cup cakes - the perfect choice for a day of sunshine and showers

This is a fail-safe recipe that I literally use for every occasion - fairy cakes, birthday cakes, piñata cake, wheat free cakes, Victoria sponge. I even throw melted chocolate in when I need a chocolate cake.

Cup Cake Recipe

  • 200g unsalted butter (soft)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs (at times I use 3 but 4 is good for scaling the recipe up or down, 1 for every 50g)
  • 200g self raising flour or wheat free flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp/30ml of milk if using wheat free flour use 4 tbsp/60ml

Turn the oven on to 170 / gas mark 5. I’m quite old school when it comes to making cakes. I know you can throw all the ingredients in together but I like to mix everything separately.

Weigh the butter, cut it into cubes and put in a mixing bowl or mixer. Weigh and add the sugar, mix together until smooth and creamy; the longer you mix this part the lighter the cakes will be. Next, break the eggs into a cup and whisk with a fork until the white and yolk are one then add to the bowl and mix until the ingredients are combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatular and give the mix another quick whisk. Weigh the flour and baking powder and add it to the cake mix, now mix all the ingredients until just combined, weigh and add the milk and give it one last mix but just for a few seconds until all the ingredients are fully mixed together and you can no longer see flour. If you mix it for too long all the air that was added at the butter and sugar stage will disappear.

This is now your basic cake batter for you to cook how you please ... we are making rainbow cakes so split the mixture into however many bowls you need for the amount of colours you want.

We wanted four colours so we had four bowls.

We wanted four colours so we had four bowls.

Then add food colouring to each bowl a little at a time until you reach the desired shade.

yellow, green, pink and lilac

yellow, green, pink and lilac

When you are happy with your colours put the cake batter into your tins. If you are making fairy/cup cakes this will make 24 standard size or just under 50 mini cakes, if you are making a layer cake this will give you 4 thin cakes (increase your quantities if you want them to be deeper). Put your cake cases in the tins and split the mixture ... you want to fill the case about two thirds.

This tin is for mini Victoria sponges so we didn't use cake cases

This tin is for mini Victoria sponges so we didn't use cake cases

Put them in the oven on your best shelf, this is usually the middle but we have the worst oven in the world and only the top shelf works ... cook mini cakes for 10 minutes, standard cup cakes for 15 minutes, and layer cake for 20 minutes. Check the cakes and if they need a little longer put them back in for a minute at a time.

Whilst the cakes are cooking make some butter cream icing.

  • 50g unsalted butter (soft)
  • 100g icing sugar
  • drop of water (about a teaspoon)

Put the butter in a bowl and mash until it is really soft, add the icing sugar and water and mix together until its lovely and creamy.

This is your basic icing recipe if you need more just double the recipe, you can also add colour or flavouring ... vanilla or lemon (with zest and juice) is nice but we just left ours plain and white.

Take the cakes out of the oven, when they are cooled add the icing. My daughter likes to use an icing bag so we used an icing cone with a large round hole so that when the icing was piped and swirled it would resemble a cloud. If you don’t have icing equipment you can just use a small butter knife to spread the icing. When you have finished you can leave them as they are, sprinkle with glitter or add a little chocolate like buttons or smarties.

Mini rainbow fairy cakes topped with fluffy icing clouds and glitter

Mini rainbow fairy cakes topped with fluffy icing clouds and glitter

Made by a unicorn loving nine year old

Made by a unicorn loving nine year old

Happy baking ... Enjoy!