Thursday, 8 November 2012

Playing with food

I'm particularly pleased about sharing this recipe with you because it's one which appears in a new publication!

An illustrator friend invited me to contribute a food column to her just-launched children's newspaper, The LOOP, a quirky broadsheet-style publication which will be released every couple of months.  It caters for 8-13 year olds with hungry minds (as well as stomachs), and won't shy away from asking big or difficult questions about art, politics and life.  And, happily for me, they also wanted a food element.

The trouble is, I'm not really used to cooking for children.  Many of my friends have restricted or specialist diets - give me a nut-allergic, diabetic vegetarian to cook for and I'm excited by the possibilities - but up until now, I've had little experience of what children want.  However, if there's one thing that Junior Masterchef has taught me it's that children have the capability to be adventurous, accomplished cooks. 

I've started with a safe bet - cakes.  And I like the idea of making an unfamiliar subject more understandable, perhaps introducing a new ingredient or technique in each issue.  So this week, tamarind. 

This is a simple recipe which doesn't involve any knives but might need supervision of the oven.  If you don't have a child to help you, try substituting with a friend or partner.


Makes 12 cupcakes

Remember to ask your parents for help when using kitchen equipment like the oven, and maybe give them a cake afterwards to say thank you!


To make the cakes~
125g room temperature butter
125g caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons tamarind paste (or you can use lemon juice if you can’t find tamarind)
3 tablespoons milk

To make the creamy topping~
70g room temperature butter
4 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons cream cheese
175ml double cream

To decorate the cakes~
30g flaked almonds


1) Preheat the oven to 400f/200c/gas mark 6.

2) Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until they have turned paler. Now crack in the eggs - be careful not to get any eggshells in - and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Sift in the flour and fold through, then stir in the tamarind paste and the milk.

3) Now put 12 paper muffin cases into the spaces in a cupcake tin, and divide the cake mixture between the paper cases.  Try and an equal amount in each one if you can so that they all finish baking at the same time.

4) Get an adult to help you put the cakes in the oven, then bake them for 15 minutes until they are golden on top and they have risen. You can test if they are done by poking a toothpick in the middle - if it comes out without any wet cake mixture on it, then they are done.  Take the cakes out of the oven, and leave them to cool.

5) Before you switch off the oven, spread the flaked almonds out on a baking tray, and bake them for 3 minutes, or until they have turned light brown. Then leave them to cool while you make the creamy topping.

6) Put the butter into a clean, large bowl and stir it with a spoon until it is very smooth. Add the cream cheese and the honey and stir until the mixture is smooth again. Pour in the cream, and get a parent to help you use an electric hand whisk to beat the mixture until it has gone thick and spreadable.

7) Spread some topping over the top of each cake with a knife, then finish by sprinkling over the almonds.

Try not to eat them all at once!


  1. That looks excellent !
    Want some children to test it with?

    1. Absolutely! Small testers are always welcome :)

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  4. I used your topping recipe for baking something else <3 it taste amazing


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