Kids Bake: Birthday Cupcakes

It’s my birthday today. My 40th birthday. Aside from all the lovely cards, Facebook birthday messages, and a 14-layer Lego cake, it’s pretty much a regular day. The Hub is at work, the kids are squabbling over who gets to occupy which room in their mega blanket fort, and I still have to chair a board meeting tonight. We have a little celebration planned for the weekend–featuring cocktails and grown ups–but this morning the kids worked together to bake some birthday cupcakes.

I hung around in the background, but Mr. Ten directed the operation and only solicited my help when instructed to by the recipe (mostly for handling the hot stuff).

They followed a recipe from Honest Pretzels by Mollie Katzen, which is perfect for guiding kids to be independent in the kitchen, making real food. Nothing “semi-homemade” here. The instructions are clear and complete, and broken down into numbered steps. Now that I have kids who don’t need a stool to reach the counter and can read and measure, I’m looking forward to stepping back and letting them cook for me. It takes a little longer, but that’s not a bad thing when we have long summer hours to fill.

These vanilla cupcakes are supposed to have chocolate kisses pressed into their centers, but all we had in the pantry was chocolate chips, which make a fine substitute.

If you want your kids to bake these, do yourself a favor and get the actual cookbook. If you’re a grown up and just want to bake some quick and easy cupcakes, here you go.

Birthday Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

chocolate kisses or chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in the sugar. In a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Beat 2 minutes at low speed with the electric mixer. Scrape down the bowl, and beat for another 2 minutes at medium speed. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups and then press a chocolate kiss, upside down, into the center of each unbaked cupcake (or press several chocolate chips into the batter).

Bake for 20 minutes.

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