As part of our rainbow week we thought we would attempt a spot of baking. I have never professed to be the best baker, we won’t mention the year that forty eight cupcakes went in the bin on the night before Eva’s second birthday, nor the last minute dash to Tesco for a cake, but the children enjoy it and that’s all that matters!
After a quick search on Pinterest I came across the most gorgeous little rainbow cakes and, perhaps foolishly, asked myself, how hard can they be?
110g/4oz butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
110g/4oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g/4oz self-raising flour
For the buttercream icing
140g/5oz butter, softened
280g/10oz icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
A few drops blue food colouring
Rainbow belt sweets to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Get your little brother to do this bit, whilst wearing his pyjamas, because every Master Chef needs a skivvy.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, splattering the table, the walls and each other. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the vanilla extract. Make sure that as much egg shell as possible lands in the bowl and then instantly launch into a rage at your sister for doing exactly the same.
3. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, or a wooden one, because you realise you only have a ladle, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Test this consistency by spilling it onto the table whenever possible, whilst eating as much raw cake ingredients as possible. Do not fear salmonella!
4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are half full. Or just until they are completely covered in cake mixture. Pull funny faces at every photo opportunity while eating even more raw cake mix and then moaning that you have tummy ache.
5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Lick the bowl as you wait while asking, “Are they ready yet?” as many times as possible, on repeat.
6. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Discover you don’t actually have a wire rack and leave to stand in the cake tins, while obsessing over soggy bottoms.
For the buttercream icing
1. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Forget the fact that icing sugar explodes like a cloud of smoke when vigorously beaten. Scrub furiously at your leather dining chairs.
2. Add the remaining icing sugar with one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Test consistency at all times, with your tongue.
3. Add the food colouring and mix until well combined. Realise that you have made way too much buttercream icing, to hell with e-numbers, and use the whole damn tube.
4. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe the icing using a spiralling motion onto the cup cakes in a large swirl. Demonstrate this for your children, while dipping your cardigan in said icing. Discover that piping is actually way harder than it looks and hand it over to the experts.
5. Curse yourself for forgetting to buy the marshmallows, tell the girls that it’s a sunny day and therefore not a cloud in the sky, and try to get the rainbows to stand up in the icing alone.
6. Admit defeat and berate yourself for even trying. Concoct a plan to tell other people that the children baked them, completely unsupervised, and quickly eat the evidence!
7. Tackle the mountain of washing up, clean the kitchen, mop the floor and get two very grubby Master Chefs into the bath. Stay awake ’til midnight because the kids are bouncing off the walls. Swear never to bake again.
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