Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kids + Cupcakes = Fun

Anna loves 2 things:
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Cooking
The first television show I could get her to sit for (I know, I feel horrible but yes, I was desperate to get her to watch some tv – to sit still for anything) was Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals. She called it the Tookin' Show. I think she was around 2 and she would cry when it went off. By the time she was 5, rather than play with dolls, she pretended she had her own show. So needless to say, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Baking is a favorite of lots of kids I know. I have found that decorating cupcakes can be a great way to keep kids entertained and it makes for a perfect take home gift when a playmate comes over (then I am not left with so many temptations in the house). Here are a few tips to creating professional looking cupcakes while helping minimize the mess.
  • If kids are really into it, let them help make the batter. I typically use a box mix but my hat off to you if you want to make it from scratch. 
  • While the cupcakes bake, you can make the icing. Homemade, is not hard and it is so worth the extra effort.
  • While the cupcakes cool, prepare the kids' workspace.
  • A cheap plastic table cloth can be your best friend.
  • Use a baking sheet with an edge. This will help catch all the sprinkles and save you clean up time.
  • Put a cooling rake across the baking sheet to set the cupcakes on.
  • Set out the sprinkles, sugars, small candies or anything else you have on hand for toppings
  • I hate dying icing so I found these spray color cans from Wilton. They come in all different colors but we have found you can just buy a few primary colors and mix them to create your own. Then it becomes an art project too.
  • I typically put the icing in a piping bag with a large flower tip and swirl white icing on top each cupcake. It looks fancy and is actually faster than spreading the icing over each one with a knife.
  • Give each child a station and let them go to work
A few comments on the spray color. It is a spray which is why I highly recommend a table cloth (plastic wipes up easy) or craft paper, just something to cover the surface area. Also, when sprayed on heavily, it can leave a bit of a taste. Anna went a bit overboard this last time and we ended up scrapping off the top of the icing when eating. No biggie though, since you can see, we piled it on, so there was still more than enough. You can find them in most craft stores or cake/candy supply stores.

I'd love to hear any of your favorite kid kitchen ideas.

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