Try Annabel Karmel’s deliciously simple baked treats

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Little ones will love getting messy helping you decorate these nature-themed treats. And they taste pretty good too!

Chocolate nest cupcakes

Cooking time 45 minutes

Makes 10

Ingredients

  • 30g good-quality cocoa powder
  • 120ml boiling water
  • 55g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 1⁄4tsp salt

To decorate

  • 55g plain chocolate, chopped
  • 110g butter, at room temperature
  • 110g icing sugar
  • 1 chocolate Flake, roughly crumbled
  • 30 mini chocolate eggs

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a bun tin with 10 paper cases.
  2. Put the cocoa in a heatproof jug and add the boiling water. Stir until dissolved, then leave to cool. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then trickle in the cooled cocoa, beating constantly. Sift over the flour and salt, and fold in.
  3. Divide the mixture between the paper cases (they should be half full) and bake for 15-17 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the icing, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot water. Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from the pan and leave to cool slightly. Beat the butter until pale, then beat in the cooled chocolate. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, until the icing is thick. If it’s very soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Using a palette knife, spread the icing over the tops of the cupcakes. Arrange the pieces of chocolate Flake around the edges of the cakes to make nests. Sit three chocolate eggs in the centre of each nest.

From Annabel’s Kitchen: My First Cookbook (Ebury Press)

Marshmallow sheep

Cooking time 40 minutes

Makes 10

Ingredients

  • 100g soft margarine or butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1tsp pure vanilla essence

To decorate

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 225g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1tbsp water
  • Mini white marshmallows
  • Large white marshmallows
  • Black and white writing icing

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the cakes into a mixing bowl or food mixer, and beat together until smooth.
  3. Line a bun tin with 10 paper cases and half fill each case with the cake mixture.
  4. Bake in an oven for 18-20 minutes, until the cakes are well risen and spring back when you press them with your fingertips. Leave to cool, then decorate.
  5. Beat the butter until creamy with an electric mixer. Then gradually beat in the icing sugar and, finally, the water.
  6. Spread a layer of buttercream over the cupcakes and make a small mound of buttercream in the centre.
  7. Arrange mini marshmallows in two circles around the edge of the cakes.
  8. Cut a large marshmallow in half. Place one half on top of the mound of buttercream for the face.
  9. Cut the other half of the large marshmallow in half again and place on either side of the sheep’s face for the ears – you can use a blob of white writing icing to attach it. Stick some halved mini marshmallows on the top of the sheep’s head using white writing icing.
  10. Draw eyes and noses on the sheeps’ faces using black writing icing.

From Annabel’s Essential Guide to Feeding your Baby & Toddler iPhone app