There's plenty of fun to be had in the kitchen this half term with our recipes and tips for baking with children.
Baking is a wonderful way to spark a lifelong love of the kitchen in your children. It teaches kids about the processes of cooking: following a recipe (even if you're the one doing it), measuring, combining ingredients and applying heat to create a wonderful transformation. It's messy (and therefore fun!) and the results are hard to resist. Here are our suggestions for baking with kids:
1. Keep it simple: start with an easy recipe so kids can really be involved in the process. Even very young children can help weigh out ingredients, sift flour, help break eggs and mix. You can always step in at any point to ensure the process is done thoroughly. It's best to keep young children away from mixers and ovens. You can use these Iced fairy cakes as a starting point.
Little toffee apple cake is another great recipe, for 8 years and up.
Older kids might also like to have a go at these Chocolate fudge cupcakes but really any easy to moderate recipe is suitable if you allocate helper and child-friendly jobs.
2. Ice, ice baby: a little dollop of icing turns even the roughest of baked goods into something tasty and what could be more fun than colouring and drizzling a sticky icing onto cupcakes and cakes? These Easy iced buns are a great way to get children started on bread-making. Let the kids choose their favourite food colours to mix up a topping and then sprinkle with hundreds and thousands.
3. Cookie monsters: simple Rainbow cookies are easy to make with the kids and great fun to decorate. They don't have to be perfect. Lay out a tray for dipping and sprinkling and let the fun commence.
4. Pipe dreams: buttercream icing or whipped cream make an irresistible topping. Fill a piping bag and let the little ones wreak havoc. Alternatively, spoon a small heap on top. Again, perfection is not what you're looking for as piping is tricky for little hands.
5. Sprinkle, sprinkle: sweets like Dolly Mixtures, chocolate buttons and Smarties make great toppings and will cover many a cupcake car crash. Also look for edible glitter (be sparing!) and cake sprinkles from the supermarket baking section.
7. The write stuff: writing icing can be bought in packets of four different colours or individual tubes from the supermarket. Get older children writing messages like 'happy birthday' or their names. Young children can use them to make squiggles and dots.
8. Cut it out: use food colouring and knead it into shop-bought marzipan or ready-to-roll icing. Roll it out on a surface dusted with icing sugar and let kids use a variety of cutters to make shapes. Stick them on top of traybakes or cupcakes.
9. Dazzle with drizzle: melt white, dark and milk chocolate in separate bowls to use as decoration for a chocolate, vanilla or banana loaf. Put the cake on a wire rack with a tray or wipe clean surface underneath. Put a spoon in each of the chocolate bowls and drizzle each in turn.
10. Get sticky with it: the golden rule when cooking and baking with kids is to let the mess happen. If mess makes you stressed, look at ways to contain the disaster zone. A large tray underneath any sprinkling or mixing can really help and when weighing out, give your children a spoon to scoop out flour and sugar rather than upturning a whole bag into your measuring bowl. Allocate jobs for mummy or daddy if you foresee trouble ahead.
But above all, have fun!
Do you have any tips for baking with children? Please share them below...
And, take a look at our baking recipe collection for kids.