Cupcakes are always popular in my household and I love baking with the kids. Round up the children into the kitchen and get your aprons on. You’ll have endless fun decorating these cupcakes with animal faces.

Top Tip: For best results when making cakes, the butter and eggs should be at room temperature before you mix them together.

Makes 10 Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 125 g/4 ½ oz butter or margarine
  • (at room temperature)
  • 125 g/4 ½ oz caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 125 g/4 ½ oz self-raising flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Buttercream

  • (or use ready-made vanilla and chocolate icing)
  • 100 g/4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 225 g/8 oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pink food colouring (optional)

Decoration

  • assorted sweets: try liquorice allsorts, marshmallows, mini marshmallows, jelly beans, M&Ms, giant chocolate buttons, dolly mixtures, or chocolate chips
  • biscuits
  • mini chocolate digestive biscuits
  • langues de chat
  • black ready-made icing

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line a muffin tray with 10 paper cases. Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest, eggs, flour and baking powder into a bowl and beat in an electric food mixer or with a hand-held electric whisk until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases and bake for about 20minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the muffin tray for a few minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream (if you are not using readymade icing). Beat the butter in a bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar, the milk and a few drops of vanilla extract. If you like, put some icing into a separate bowl and colour it with a few drops of food colouring.

Once cool, spread buttercream icing on top, then decorate with sweets, biscuits and black icing to look like animals. If you are planning ahead for a party, make the cakes up to a month in advance and freeze in a plastic box. Defrost at room temperature before icing.

Taken from Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel (Ebury Press, £14.99)