By Anna Salmon, aged 7 years old
I like baking because it’s a very laid-back thing – you can just get on with it! If you pick a recipe like fairy cakes, for example, then you could use a plain sponge cake for the fairy cakes or you could add some flavouring – spices even, maybe, to make it different. You can follow the recipe, however sometimes it’s a bit more interesting and tasty to add different flavours. It might depend on what you want it to go with, as well. Chocolate and mint with a chocolate sauce would be delicious at the end of a big meal, as the mint would give you a clean taste. Or if you had lots of fruit to use up you might make a plain sponge and then make some fruity icing, or serve the sponge with chopped fruit and cream.
A basic recipe for fairy cakes is:
4 oz self-raising flour
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz butter or margarine
I like to use ounces rather than grams because it is easier to remember four, four, four, two than 110, 110, 110, 2!
Before you start mixing, get an adult to put the oven on to preheat. It needs to be at 180 degrees Celsius or gas mark 4. It’s a good idea to get some paper cake cases ready too, because once you’ve mixed the cake you have to get it into the oven as quickly as you can so that the cakes will rise properly.
Mummy says it makes the cakes lighter if you cream the butter and sugar first, however you can just put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix it – that’s what I do! You will also need to add a little milk or water to make the mixture softer, or you could use something like rose water for a different flavour. You can even use lemon juice or orange juice to give a nice citrus flavour. Most often I just use water and a little vanilla essence, or vanilla sugar, which we make ourselves by putting vanilla sticks into a big jar with caster sugar. If you keep them there the sugar gradually turns vanilla flavoured. We also make cinnamon sugar, using cinnamon sticks, and lavender sugar with lavender buds stored in the jar. That’s really good for biscuits.
Once you’ve mixed all the ingredients together (including any different flavours you want) you need to check the consistency. You want it to stick to the spoon and then gradually drop off. If it’s too stiff add some more liquid, just a little at a time. If it’s too runny you can add some more flour. Use two teaspoons to put the mixture into paper cake cases – one heaped teaspoon is about the right amount, and the second teaspoon is for helping it off into the case. This recipe should make about 24 cakes, which is usually two trays of twelve cakes. Then get an adult to put the trays in the oven. They need to cook until they are golden brown, which will take about ten minutes.
While the cakes are cooling you can make some icing. Put some icing sugar in a bowl and add some water, one teaspoonful at a time, until it makes a sort of paste. You can be creative here too – use juice instead of water for a fruity flavour, or add cocoa powder, colouring, or flavouring like rosewater, vanilla essence, mint essence – there are lots of options! When the cakes are cool dollop the icing on then move the cakes around until the icing goes to the edges. If you want some extra fun, add some sprinkles or hundreds and thousands.
Now they’re ready to eat – it’s better if you wait for the icing to set, unless you want it all over your face and fingers!
Whats your favorite dessert to bake?