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Toddler holding a cupcake

Have fun with your toddler (and keep her out of mischief!) by doing some baking. These cupcakes are perfect for a party, picnic or snack and they’re great fun to decorate, says nutritionist Amanda Grant. They’re guaranteed to be a big hit, and there are lots of ways tots can get involved with the preparation (see our ‘toddler tips’ below). Give them a whirl today!

What you’ll need for the cupcakes

  • 12 hole cake tray
  • 12 paper cases
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk

What you’ll need for the icing

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1-2 drops food colouring (optional)
  • Smarties packs

Step by step

Step one

Turn the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Put the butter and caster sugar into a large bowl and beat together, using an electric whisk or wooden spoon, until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

Toddler tip: Your tot will love having a go at mixing, as well as putting the paper cake cases in the tray.

Step two

Add a little beaten egg and beat well, then add a little more and beat again. Repeat until all the egg is used up. Sieve the flour into the mixture and gently fold in, using a metal spoon. Then stir in the milk so the mixture softens enough to drop easily from the spoon.

Toddler tip: Give your little one a go at gently shaking the remainder of the sieve’s contents into the bowl.

Step three

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, filling each case three-quarters full. Put the cake tray into the oven and have them baking for 15-20 minutes, until the cakes are risen, golden and springy to touch. Take the tray out of the oven and let the cakes cool for a minute, then lift them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Toddler tip: Let your toddler spoon the mixture into the cases – great for hand-eye co-ordination.


Step four

For the icing, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in a little hot water until you have a thick pouring consistency. Add the food colouring (if using) and mix.


Step five

Pour teaspoons of the icing onto the cakes and decorate each cake with several Smarties. Leave the icing to set and then store the cupcakes in an airtight container if you’re not eating them straight away.

Toddler tip: This is a good chance to talk about colours with your tot as he chooses his favourite-coloured Smarties. Try other cake toppings, such as dolly mixtures or hundreds and thousands.


For safety reasons don’t leave your child unattended while cooking