Keeping it simple

I’ve been doing a lot of baking since we moved to Vancouver Island. Why are you baking so much these days mum? Asks my 6year old son, innocently. Sparing him the real answer – that mummy doesn’t have any friends here so mummy has a bit more spare time on her hands!

I used to zoom around with Mum friends during the week having coffee and going to botanic gardens watching our children playing and, well, now it’s down to me to find activities for the 2 and 4 year old and there are only so many toddler groups you can go to. It’s not all that relaxing either, standing at those groups with no comrades to chuckle with when the group leader starts on the 8th verse of the wheels on the bus (who knew that could be such an epic song..).

So, baking it is. In the past two months there have been banana muffins, courgette/zucchini muffins, baklava cups, pumpkin pie, orange loaf cake, pumpkin muffins, cookies, scones, Victoria sponges… some of these were more popular than others for the children (all popular with my husband). Anyway yesterday about 20mins before I had to dash out to the school run I realized I had nothing sugary as an end of week treat. I threw a batch of fairy cakes together – with the girls mixing – and popped them in the oven – they were ready before I left. So about 18minutes from decision-to-bake, to baked-and-finished (I iced them later when the children were eating supper).

They were not stylish or adventurous, did not win awards in the looks department, and did not have any redeeming nutritional factors (I normally jam some flax/chia seeds/hemp/etc in any muffins)… but as I popped them on the table for supper my four year old drew breath and said “they’re PERFECT mum” and I thought… must.remember. to keep it simple.

These are very like the cupcakes my grandma used to bake for us when we visited her in the school holidays. She’d pop them in two big tins – one batch with raisins for my brother and one plain for me, raisin hater (not sure where my children get it from). Plain glacé icing, a few sprinkles sometimes. I used to dream about them.

So, not that you haven’t already seen this recipe a million times – but just in case you haven’t – one of those recipes I know off by heart and obviously, stands me in good stead with children. I think it is Delia’s all-in-one mix but I have it written in my recipe book courtesy of my mum.

Ingredients:

110g self raising flour

110g rm temp butter/marg

110g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla essence

1tsp baking powder

2 eggs

Method:

Jam everything in a bowl. Get your 4 year old to crack the eggs and your 2 year old to mix. Use an electric whisk if you have time, to make it nice and fluffy.

Divide into 2 lined victoria sandwich tins or 12 cupcake cases. Bake at 180c / 350f (no desperate need to preheat a fan oven, so says my mum) for around 10-12 mins (cupcakes) or 14-16 mins for sandwich tins.

Cool on a rack and decorate however you see fit. A splodge of glacé icing, some sprinkles and a few chocolate chips this time. Not Pinterest worthy but to the delight of my children…

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