Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

why kids should play with raw eggs

July 19th, 2010

playing with raw eggsSprinkles’ vanilla cupcake mix calls for two egg whites—although the package says you need three eggs (?)—offering the perfect opportunity for Carter to advance from cracking eggs to separating eggs. Of course, gadget-lover that I am, I use an egg-separator, which looks something like the plastic kid-friendly Egg Yolky egg separator without the face and feet.

Instead of just tossing the yolks, I let Carter poke at them. I know. I know. Yes, there’s a risk of getting  a risk of getting  salmonella from raw eggs.* But I’d rather teach Carter to keep his hands away from his face when handling raw eggs and to wash his hands after than to have him afraid of touching an egg white or yolk.

Safety of the specific food aside, grownups sometimes forget how much fun—or yucky but still interesting—touching food can be. In terms of child development (one of the Baking with Carter blog themes), sensory and tactile experiences are essential—and baking is an easy way to provide them them, no expensive toys required. I still remember Carter saying in amazement, “It’s so soft!” the first time he touched all-purpose flour. So go ahead and let your kids touch softened butter, squish brown sugar in their hands, and , if you’re ok with it, poke an egg yolk.

Poking egg yolks can also be looked as as a science experiment. Carter tested how much pressure it took to break the yolks and then smeared them around in the bowl to study their viscosity. He asked: What would happen if he poured in water? Well, I said, hot-enough water could start to cook them. Otherwise? Not much. He dumped in a cup of water, which was room temperature, to see for himself. The water floated to the top; the heavier eggs sank.

Then I had him wash his hands with soap and water twice.

By the time the cupcakes came out of the oven, it was too late to eat them. In the morning, my aspiring baker brought me breakfast in bed: a cupcake, with lots and lots of red sprinkles, of course.

*Caution: Always wash hands with soap and water thoroughly after handling raw eggs. Do this activity only with children you can trust to keeps their hands away from their mouths and face. To be extra safe, use pasteurized eggs.

cupcake lessons

October 3rd, 2009

daddy's cupcakes

1) Overfilled cupcake batter bubble over and make a mess—as in, “What’s burning?”

2) To rescue a cupcake after its batter bakes over: Trim top to neaten. Cut the cupcake in half; sandwich cherry preserves in the middle. Serve upside down. Feed husband one. Eat two.

3) Sometimes Carter would rather watch TV with Daddy than bake with Mommy, even when baking is his idea!

Those are the lessons I learned when I made cupcakes—Carter’s idea—the night before Jeff’s birthday last month. (It’s Day 11 on the road: a couple of days of business meetings in New York followed by a New England/Canada cruise with the boys. Obviously, I’m way behind on blogging.)

I used a recipe for 48 mini cupcakes but baked them in standard-size muffin tins. When I came up with 11, I know the math and knew I should have redistributed the batter to make 12. But I was tired after a long day, and it was a lot easier to put water in the last cup. (Water in any empty cups helps protect a muffin pan in the oven.)

Most of the cupcakes came out fine (or good enough to camouflage with frosting). Carter helped frost those for the actual birthday celebration.

Carter did all the decorating. As you can see, we pretty much use the same birthday candles for everyone, whether Daddy or Pink Bear, and we’re out of red sprinkles.

I’m hanging out in Newark and don’t have the cupcake recipe with me. I’ll post it when I get home. The desserts on the cruise were beautiful and delicious—and abundant—but I’m also looking forward to getting back in the kitchen with Carter and baking our own.

Linzer cupcakes

June 20th, 2009

linzer cupcakes
Back from vacation and back to our weekend baking routine. Today, Carter insisted that we make cupcakes for Bunny’s birthday. (Select stuffed animals, among them a blue bunny that plays Braham’s Lullaby, live quite the life.)

With my major recipe reorganization earlier this month, I unearthed a Real Simple article from three years ago that showed how to decorate cupcakes Linzer style. I always cut out and save these kinds of articles because I will and did forget this easy idea.

Just like with Linzer torte cookies, you simply sandwich jam between two layers, with a shape cut out of the top one. Doing the same with cupcakes is a super-simple thing to do with kids because after you (adult) cut off the tops in the first step, kids can pretty much take it from there.

(1) Using a serrated knife, slice the top of each cupcake and stamp out a shape, such as a heart, with a cookie cutter. (2) Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar. (3) Spread jam on top the lower portions of the cupcakes. Reassemble the cupcakes with the jam in the center now peeking through.

Cut out shape with cookie cutterSprinkle top with powdered sugar.

Spread jam on bottom and return top.

Carter’s Take: They’re yummy. I like the cupcake sandwich.