When it comes to cakes, I don’t have a great repertoire as I’ve never been a big cake maker. I do make banana muffins a lot due not only to their simplicity but also because they seem reasonably healthy, and all the family love them. Cup cakes aren’t something I usually make but when I saw a Cup Cake Halloween pack of decorations in M&S Simply Food, it seemed like a good idea to buy it and make little cakes with the grandsons. I bought two packs and took one to Worcestershire last weekend to visit my daughter and I made those banana muffins again, but Rufus (3) and I put them in the Halloween cases and he stuck the decorations, featuring a pumpkin, black cat and ghost, in the cooked cakes. Today I thought I should do something different with Freddie (6¾) and Ben (very nearly 4!). I bought some chocolate chips and a pack of tubes of ready-made icing. I decided to use a simple sponge recipe – basically a Victoria sponge – for the cakes and we’d fold in some chocolate chips. The boys could decorate them with the icing and decorations once cold.
I made half the quantity of cake batter from my 1st Birthday Cake recipe. I was dithering about whether half quantity would be enough but when I got the eggs from the fridge I only had two – so half quantity would have to do! But actually it was perfect. I didn’t make it the fancy ‘meringue’ way in the recipe on my previous post, but the more traditional way. I’ll admit to a bit of laziness, but also it was much simpler and quicker when my enthusiastic sous chef was only 3 – or more accurately, 4 minus a few days.
Chocolate Chips Muffins – Makes 12
- 125g plain flour
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- 125g butter (soft at room temperature)
- 125g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 large eggs
- 50g chocolate chips
- 12 muffins cases
Preheat the oven to 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6.
Measure the flour into a bowl and add the baking powder.
Put the soft butter with the sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat together until pale in colour and fluffy. Add one egg and just a little of the flour (to prevent the mixture curdling) and beat well. Add the second egg with a little flour and beat again.
Tip the rest of the flour into the mixture and beat well. Add the chocolate chips and gently fold into the mixture.
At this point Ben was allowed to help and given a small spatula to mix the chocolate in. I couldn’t let him help earlier as the electric mixer was too dangerous for a not quite 4 year old, but he stood on a stool and watched at a safe distance. He also put the paper muffin cases in the muffin tin.
I spooned the mixture into the muffin cases – it was a bit too tricky for a little one. Then we put them into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. I actually put the timer on for 20 minutes but saw after 15 that they were nicely browned and risen – so do check after 15 minutes to see if they’re done.
I lifted them out of the tin and onto a cooling rack and we waited until they were cold before decorating.
At the creative decorating point, Freddie wanted to join in too and so I gave each boy six cakes and six of the decorations to top them. They passed the tubes of icing between them and all was wonderfully calm and fun as I left them to decorate the cakes however they liked.
Happily it was teatime when we’d finished. So a cup of tea was made for Nonna and I asked the boys to each give one of their cakes to me – all is fair in the sharing out of eating and giving with kids! One for then with the tea; one to save for the next day. The boys chose one to eat straight away and I packed the rest into two little boxes so they could each take 4 home.
The cakes were delicious! So light and tasty and wonderful with the little chips of dark chocolate inside. We all loved them and it was great fun making them. The boys, unsurprisingly, thought little cakes with chocolate inside might be nicer than those healthy banana muffins … 😉