Cooking with kids Archives

‘Love’ red velvet cupcakes

Another in the series of the Fruits of the Spirit cupcakes.  This week’s installment – Love.  Well, it originally came from a red velvet cupcake winning entry on Cupcake Wars (obviously), but what else could this be, but love?  I found a recipe for gluten-free red velvet cupcakes (which was basically a normal recipe but using ‘gluten free’ all purpose flour), and Abby made some cream cheese frosting (non-dairy of course).  

2015-12-06 'Love' red velvet cupcakes

We had lots of fun making them – this was an additional dessert for our regular FISH (Fellowship in Someone’s Home) lunch.  This time around we had a total of 16 people at our place for lunch.  And on the menu:

  • Beef casserole (adapted from the shepherd’s pie recipe here)
  • Lentil stew (adapted from the recipe on the back of the packet of lentils)
  • Pizza on gluten-free pizza crust – including homemade pizza sauce, pepperoni, ham, pineapple, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and cream cheese
  • Red velvet cupcakes (this post)
  • Chocolate mint brownies (recipe here)
  • Date and lemon scones (still trying to perfect this recipe)

And funnily enough, there weren’t that many leftovers!  Everyone left feeling full and satisfied and we had a great time of chatting about life, death and everything in between.

Thanks for reading this week’s adventures cooking with Abby – stay tuned for the next exciting episode of our own Cupcake Wars coming up!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


‘Holy is the Lord’ cupcakes

Another weekend.  Another batch of cupcakes.  This time it was my idea.  Based on the fact that the cereal I had specifically bought for Abby … she didn’t like.  This was a cereal that was gluten, dairy, nut and other allergen-free, with a lot less sugar than the normal cereals.  Abby said they tasted like Fruit Loops … and she doesn’t like Fruit Loops (what kind of kid doesn’t like Fruit Loops, I ask you?  Maybe it was the lack of sugar?).  Anyway, she wasn’t going to eat them.  And Henry tried them, and didn’t like them either.  I tried them and liked them.  Grant tried them and liked them.  Maybe they were geared more towards adult taste-buds?

So I googled ‘uses for leftover Fruit Loops’ and found a recipe for Fruit Loop cupcakes (who would’ve known others would be in the same situation as me?).  So this weekend I said to Abby that we’d try this recipe, use up the leftover cereal that she didn’t like, so she could go for it with cereal she does like.  Mind you, she’s been having Grant’s Weet-bix all week, which is probably way more healthy than anything else she could have had, so I’m not sure I want her to go back.  Even though the new cereal I did get her, was lower in sugar.  Confused yet?  Welcome to my brain this weekend!!

Anyway, this recipe called for a whole pile of different extracts, that I just couldn’t be bothered going out and buying, for a teaspoon-ful, so we just used vanilla instead.  They turned out … ok.  A little dense, but ok for what they are/were.

2015-11-21 'Holy is the Lord' cupcakes

The frosting is a mixture of our normal buttercream frosting, with some more crushed up cereal and topped with the cereal as well.  I don’t think this recipe will make a re-entrance in our cupcake list, but it was worth a trial.  And the recipe only made 12.  And we’re giving 4 of them away tomorrow.  So that leaves enough for Grant to take to the men’s Bible Study on Monday and that’s it for them!

Hopefully you understand where the Bible context comes from – Holy = hole-y?  Yeah, I know it’s a stretch, but it was Grant’s idea.

So next week, should be totally different and hopefully have a bit better success.  I think it’s supposed to be red velvet cupcakes, or something like that.  Wish us luck!

Until then, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


‘Kindness’ chocolate raspberry cupcakes

After last week’s … interesting (!) concoction of cupcake (read here), Abby and I thought we’d get back to what we knew best.  Cupcakes.  Chocolate cupcakes to be exact.  And what could we add to chocolate to make it awesome?  Why, raspberries of course!

This was another in our series of converting a cake recipe into cupcakes – and these worked really well.  The recipe originally came from Grant’s mum (thanks Nanna!) and you can find it here.  This is a really moist recipe, mainly because when I was given the recipe, Grant’s mum doubled some of the ingredients but not the rest, as she always used to make a double batch.  I haven’t changed the proportions from what she gave me though – I love it!  And this one was gluten-free, but I did use normal butter and normal milk (and tested fate with some Lactaid).

I never know just how many cupcakes a standard cake recipe will yield – this one ended up with about 29 in total.  Luckily we had people around for lunch that day, and Grant took the rest to the Men’s Bible Study, so win-win all around!

We put some raspberry jam into our standard buttercream frosting, Abby piped some awesome chocolate flowers, with just normal chocolate chips melted down, and then added a fresh raspberry on top.  And the result …

For the ‘kindness’, well, this was a long stretch, but Abby says it was because the chocolate and raspberry are kind on your tongue (?!).  But it’s the latest in the series of the Fruits of the Spirit cupcakes, so you can take this explanation or leave it!

2015-11-15 'Kindness' chocolate raspberry cupcake

I think they look awesome.  I think they tasted awesome.  And so did everyone else who tried them.  Abby says they were our best tasting cupcakes yet.  Watch out next week …!  Actually, next week we’re going to try something to use up some leftover cereal.  Apparently, my kids don’t like cereals that taste like Fruit Loops – go figure!  Well, they were gluten-free and dairy-free and have half the amount of sugar as normal Fruit Loops … but I can still crush them up into cupcakes.  Stay tuned, hold your breath, and tune in next week!

Until then, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


‘Ruth’ savory cornbread muffins

This week’s cupcakes were … interesting.  Abby’s idea was to have savory cornbread muffins, with a savory cream cheese frosting, again from one of the winning cupcakes on Cupcake Wars.  Yeah … it was a winner on there, but I don’t think we followed what they did quite close enough.

The cornbread muffin was easy – I used my awesome gluten-free cornbread recipe (see here) and made it into muffins.  That was easy, the batch made about 12 muffins.  I also chopped up some spring onions (kind of like the shallots they used on the show), and added some dairy-free cheese into them.  I liked the muffins by themselves – they were light and fluffy with a hint of the savory-ness (is that a word?)

And then the frosting.  I had some dairy-free chive and onion cream cheese that I had bought to have on my gluten-free bagels (there are some advantages of living in the US and access to all these sorts of foods!).  So we used that, and added some dairy-free margarine and then … some powdered sugar to make it into a normal cream cheese frosting.  I think that was our downfall.  I think I should have watched the episode to find out how to keep the frosting savory.  I just don’t think it worked.  

2015-11-08 'Ruth' Savory cornbread muffins

But, having said that, I handed them out to the ladies at my Bible Study and 3 out of 4 who took them (after cautionary warnings from me) said they liked it.  Only one ended up throwing it into the garbage!

So, lessons learned:

  • cornbread muffins are awesome!
  • savory cornbread muffins are awesome!
  • savory cream cheese frosting … needs more work.  I found out later that Abby thought they just whipped the cream cheese and dolloped it on top – that would have worked!

And why they’re called Ruth … this is all part of Abby’s attempt to bring the Bible into our baking.  Check out Ruth 2:2 (NASB) – And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.”  Some translations use ‘corn’ for ‘grain’ … I thought it was a good reference!

Hope you enjoyed reading about our … ahem … failure.  Hopefully our next cupcake attempt will reap (!) better results!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!

Sarah (and Abby)

‘Peace’ banana toffee cupcakes

Another in the series of Abby’s cupcakes.  Banana toffee cupcakes, with a peace symbol on top.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Well, we learnt a lot about toffee this weekend!

We tried to make toffee ourselves.  Looking at recipes on the internet it looked pretty easy – mix equal portions of butter (or margarine) with sugar and heat until a certain temperature, then allow to cool.  Sounds simple?  Well, we burnt the first batch.  And then we couldn’t be bothered trying to make another batch, so we bought some toffee bits from the grocery store.  These bits we put into the cupcakes, which we made using my banana bread recipe (see here) and just added it ‘until it looked right’ (thanks Mum!).  The cake part of the cupcakes were awesome.

But then Abby wanted a toffee buttercream frosting.  Buttercream frosting we think we’ve got reasonably good now.  I thought – well, we often melt chocolate to put that in frosting, lets try that with toffee.  It didn’t work.  It didn’t get creamy, it didn’t get spreadable, it just got warm and into one gooey mess.  So we kind of crushed it up and put it in the frosting.  And then I realized that piping frosting with ‘bits’ in it leads to the tip getting clogged, and then the bag splitting due to the pressure.

Abby’s plan was to pipe peace symbols out of the melted toffee as well.  That didn’t happen (see above paragraph).  So we got out the old faithful chocolate chips, melted them down and then Abby went to town piping her peace symbols.  Some worked, some didn’t.

So instead of a banana toffee cupcake with toffee buttercream frosting, a banana and toffee peace symbol on top, we ended up with this:

2015-11-01 'Peace' Banana toffee cupcakes

They tasted pretty good, although we ended up taking the banana slices off the top after a day or so … would have probably been better with dried banana.

We gave some to Abby’s karate teacher for his birthday and he was quite impressed (haven’t heard whether he ate them and liked them yet, though!).  Grant took some to his Bible Study and apparently one of the guys ate 3 of them.  So all in all, it was a learning experience for us, and a win for everyone who had them.

Hope you enjoyed reading about Abby and my cooking at home together … I’m a little scared at the next installment from Abby’s sheet of cupcakes.  Tune in to hear how we went!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


‘Joy’ almond citrus cupcakes

Another weekend, and another batch of cupcakes, dreamed up by Abby, based on some concoction that did well in Cupcake Wars.

So this week we made citrus almond cupcakes.  The cake recipe was based on my honey almond cake recipe (see here) that I’ve always had great success with.  We added in some orange zest, thanks to a suggestion from one of my friends who had some of the original cake (thanks Jess!).  For the frosting, we made a simple buttercream frosting, with some orange juice in it, then decorated with colored frosting, candy pearls and a sliced almond.  Abby called them her ‘pumpkin’ cupcakes.

Well, actually no, Abby wanted to relate these to one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), so because eating oranges gives people joy, these were the ‘Joy’ cupcakes.  See for yourself!

2015-10-24 'Joy' almond citrus cupcakes

I think they look pretty cool!  And they tasted awesome as well!

Every time Abby watches the Cupcake Wars, I get a little scared at what she would like to do next.  On her list, that I can remember, includes things like savory cupcakes with jalapeno cream cheese, green tea cupcakes …. eeek!  Wish me luck you all!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures in the kitchen with Abby.  Remember if you like this website to pass it onto your friends and family, and get them to sign up if they want the recipes as soon as I post new ones!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


‘Let there be light’ cupcakes

It’s been a few weeks since my last ‘cooking with kids’ post, but rest assured we’ve been doing lots in the kitchen.  I just haven’t had the time to post either the blog, or the photos!

Abby is still really keen on making cupcakes.  Basically turning most of my cake recipes into cupcakes.  And obviously making them gluten and dairy-free for little old me …!  So this week, she wanted to do a pineapple mango cupcake that she had seen on … you guessed it … Cupcake Wars.  But since we didn’t have most of the ingredients to do it exactly like on the show, we adapted it.  And had lots of fun doing it.

We took the lemon polenta cake (recipe here) that we had recently adapted with orange instead of lemons and added buttercream frosting (see here) because we knew that worked well as cupcakes.  This time, instead of the lemon zest in the cakes, we chopped up some pineapple and added a bit more juice, and a little bit more cornmeal/polenta to make sure we had the right consistency.  

The frosting was meant to be a mango whipped cream with a decoration of a white chocolate fondant rocket.  I thought that was slightly out of our range of decorating skills and expensive to try to make gluten and dairy-free.  So we improvised with a white chocolate buttercream frosting (using some sugar-free white chocolate syrup that we’ve found here), and then cutting some dried mango pieces into suns.

'Let there be light' pineapple cupcakes

‘Let there be light’ pineapple cupcakes

So, you may ask, why are these called ‘let there be light’ cupcakes?  Well, Abby is really keen on our food truck dream and she wants to help make cupcakes for it.  And all of her cupcakes she wants to relate to a verse, or verses in the Bible.  Hence, the mango suns (instead of the white chocolate rocket) and this was tagged as when God created the sun and the moon (Genesis 1:14).  Hence – ‘let there be light’ cupcakes.

There is a postscript to this story.  These cupcakes we made for my ladies Bible Study group that meets at my house every week.  One of the ladies is also gluten and dairy intolerant, and so are some of her kids.  She took two of the leftover cupcakes (yes, we didn’t eat all of them in one night!) home for her kids and her son loved his so much that he wanted it for his birthday cake.  So Abby and I offered to make the cake and the frosting, and Jenn took on the task of decorating it.

Aaron's cake

Aaron’s cake

Awesome job isn’t it?  Haven’t yet heard how it tasted, or how it was received by the rest of the family, but I was impressed by how this kind of snowballed.

And … I just found out that another of my friends is using the lemon polenta cake recipe and making it to bring to dessert for a lunch.  Amazing … and I feel very humble that a small little website like mine, and a small little recipe, could gain so much enthusiasm and joy.  And that’s what I do this for – to make other people happy.

Thanks for reading.  Remember, if you like what you read, or see on this website, you can subscribe to get new recipes delivered to your inbox as soon as they are published.  I’ve got a number of them that I’m going to be posting in the next few weeks, so you have been warned.

And tell your friends and family … and be joyful in the Light!

Until next week, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


Chocolate cherry pistachio cupcakes

The end of September is always a busy one for our family.  Grant and Henry’s birthdays are 8 days apart.  This year, I asked each of them what sort of birthday cake they’d like … and this year they both came up with rather elaborate ideas (which will be the subject of a post next week after Henry’s birthday!).  Anyway, as I was making the first part of Henry’s cake, I had some batter left over from the chocolate base part of it, and suggested to Abby that she use it to make some cupcakes … her favorite.  

This was part of an awesome Mummy-Abby afternoon that included a Mexican lunch followed by frozen yogurt, then baking followed by chilling out watching a kids movie.  I had a really good time and hope this was one of those moments that stick with Abby when she starts going through her rebellious teenage years.

2015-09-27 Abby cooking cupcakes

So the base cupcake was adapted from the chocolate olive oil cake recipe (see here).  We didn’t have olive oil, so we used canola oil instead.  Then Abby wanted it to be a little ‘spicier’, as according to the Cupcake Wars show she’d seen, so we added a pile of cinnamon to it.  We tried to make mini cupcakes, but didn’t spray the pan too well and couldn’t get them out of the tin without breaking the tops off.  We used them as experiments, and then the ones we were able to extract without breaking the tops off, we gave to Grant to take for his men’s Bible Study session.

And, because Abby is into all things decorating (and following the ideas from Cupcake Wars), she hollowed out a small gap and put a cherry in each (from a tin of cherry pie filling), then we made some pistachio butter cream frosting, followed by some crushed pistachios and green candy pearls.  See for yourselves the result:

2015-09-27 Chocolate pistachio cupcakes

I think they look pretty impressive!  But since we used actual butter, I haven’t tried any with the frosting.  I HAVE tried the cake and will update you with how Henry’s birthday cake to end all cakes ends up next week.  It’s going to be epic!

But I am so proud of Abby and look forward to her next creation idea (which she has lots of!).

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


Chocolate chip cookie dough brownies

This is a recipe that Abby’s been wanting to do for ages.  And I’ve been wanting her to do it for ages to use up a tin of condensed milk I’ve had in the pantry for ages.  We had a great opportunity to make it this weekend – full of gluten, dairy and ‘normal’ sugar – and give most of it all away.  Our neighborhood had a block party this weekend, and I naturally volunteered us to bring dessert … and then I kind of went over the top with other things that I brought as well as this.  But this was definitely the highlight of the party – it was the first dessert to be totally consumed – so proud of Abby!

2015-09-12 Choc chip cookie dough browniesOk, so the recipe we used is here – but we topped it off with the cookie dough truffle recipe (here), just so I could use up the condensed milk.  I also actually prefer this choc-chip cookie dough recipe compared to the one with the brownies, but you can try both versions and let me know what you think.  When I was eating gluten and dairy, these didn’t last long in our house either … and not many got eaten by the family!

Abby did really well with the baking – I just basically stood and directed, rather than getting in and doing much more.  She’s getting to be really good at the baking side of things.  And the eating of the dough from the bowls, spoons, spatulas … I’ve taught her well!

We’re coming to the end of her list of what she wanted to make during Mummy-Abby time, but I’m sure this will continue for quite a while yet.  There are so many more of my recipes that she can try as cupcakes …!

Hope you enjoyed reading – let me know in the comments if you would like us to take on a particular challenge for our baking time together!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Strawberry cupcakes

Can I just start this post by saying how awesome Abby is?  She had a friend over for a sleepover last night and when I went down to see them this morning, I found that Abby had done all the ironing for the week WHILE her friend was here.  How cool is she?

Anyway, this is the next installment in the translation of cake recipes into cupcakes.  Abby has had this recipe in her sights for a long time now – it’s on the list she originally wrote out as to what she wanted to make with me during Mummy-Abby time way back in February.  I don’t have this recipe on my website because it’s a direct copy of one from Sally’s Baking Addiction (see here).  I have made it once before, as part of when I was doing the US National Food Day Challenge, last year.  It was great.  It was yummy.  I wanted to make it again.  And Abby wanted to make it into cupcakes.  So, win-win for us both.

This afternoon, after Abby and her friend FINALLY woke up, and did some stuff together, the 3 of us converged on the kitchen to make these cupcakes.  And the result:

2015-09-05 Strawberry cupcakesSo these were gluten-free (gluten-free flour blend) and dairy-free (almond milk), but the ganache was the same as Abby used on her marble cupcakes (see here).  OK, so I did the icing, and it’s not as pretty as Abby’s have been, but it was a little difficult just with ganache!  Now, since the marble cupcakes were NOT gluten OR dairy-free, I made sure to leave one of these strawberry cupcakes aside without the ganache so I could have one.

And the verdict?  Well, it was nice and moist and yummy.  Abby and her friend loved them.  Henry loved them.  Everybody loved them!  So, thank you to Sally’s Baking Addiction for the recipe and to Cupcake Wars for the inspiration of making these into cupcakes.  Yes I know that Abby just made cupcakes yesterday and we made some more today.  And in the next few days there may be another post where Henry and I spend some time together in the kitchen.  Keep you waiting with bated breath!

Thanks for reading – I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions on anything you read on this website.  And please spread the word if you like what you read to your friends and family – the more the merrier!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



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