We love baking here at The Madhouse and, when you want young children to get involved in the kitchen, the all-inclusive baking kits that you can buy at the supermarket are always a great idea. By cutting down the time needed for gathering together ingredients, weighing them out and finding equipment like cake cases, it makes the whole process quicker and easier so kids don't have time to get bored or tired and grumpy. We often use the kids' character cake kits, but when Greens sent us through a couple of their new Cupcake Mixes to try out, that was a new one for us.
In honour of National Cupcake Week (otherwise known as a great excuse for stuffing your faces without feeling guilty !), we decided to try out one of the kits today. We unpacked the box and discovered the contents : cake mix, icing mix, 6 cupcake cases, fruit filling and a piping nozzle. (The fluffy red slipper at the bottom of the picture doesn't come in the kit - it was attached to my foot when I took the photo !)
Juliette's friend was drafted in for mixing up the cake mix - no slacking allowed at The Madhouse, even for visitors ! (If her mum is reading this, she asked, honest !) You just need to add a lump of butter, 1 egg and a couple of spoonfuls of water so it's all just store cupboard basics you're bound to have at hand. The mixing was a bit tough going to begin with because I hadn't thought to take the butter out of the fridge before we started, but you could get around this by using a soft spread instead (or not forgetting to take the butter out !).
Time to put the mix in the cake cases. A few slops and splashes and you have six cupcakes ready to go in the oven. Don't worry about not having a smooth finish - it all sorts itself out in the oven.
12 minutes later - ta da !
The next bit is slightly fiddly so you'd be better off doing it yourself, rather than letting the kids have a go. You need to cut out a circle in each cake to make a well that you will then fill with the fruit filling, before popping the "plugs" back in. The girls had great fun doing this part - and licking up the mess ! (Speaking of mess, make sure you don't cut right through to the bottom of the cake or it will be VERY messy to eat !)
Then it's time to sort out the icing. You need to mix more butter in with the icing mix and, if necessary, a little warm water. As my butter was still too hard, I tentatively zapped the bowl containing the icing mix and butter in the microwave for 15 seconds. The butter melted and mixed in beautifully with the icing sugar with absolutely zero effort and no lumps but if you try this method, be extremely vigilant so that you don't burn the butter. The girls loved the fact that it magically turned a lovely shade of pink !
The sachet containing the icing mixture is designed to turn into a piping bag with the nozzle attachment, which does work really well but is a bit messy, so again, this part is best done by an adult. Even with me being careful, a big lump splurged out of the top of the bag instead of the bottom, all over my fingers ! The cupcakes came out looking much more impressive than I was expecting, especially when the girls added little silver balls all over the top.
On to the all-important taste-testing ! They got a huge thumbs-up all round, but everyone agreed that half a cake each was enough because the icing is extremely sweet and they would get sickly otherwise. As the pack only makes 6 cupcakes, this is great news though, or there wouldn't have been enough to go round !
The kids were very impressed that they had managed to produce something "so yummy AND pretty all by themselves" (!) that they had enormous grins plastered on their faces all afternoon and couldn't wait to tell Madhouse Daddy Mike all about it when he got home from work ! You don't get that sense of satisfaction and confidence-boosting when you buy your cakes at the supermarket !
This was the Blueberry Cupcakes kit, but we also have the Lemon variety to try out another day. Probably this weekend, if the girls have their way ! (I've noticed that there is also a Strawberry Cupcake kit and that they're on special offer at half price in Morrisson's at the moment so grab them quick !)
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £2.15
for more information : http://www.greenscakes.co.uk/products/cakes.aspx
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