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Kitchen Cadet: Lemony cupcakes

The best bit needn't be the icing. Watch children eat cupcakes and the most entertaining part is how they approach it. The icing is often licked clean off the cupcakes, which are sometimes pushed aside. There's no issue with that here, as the cakes themselves are light and slightly lemony, delicious in their own right.

Kitchen Cadet: Lemony cupcakes
Photo: Domino Postiglione


  • 125g butter
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 2cm cube of butter
  • Colouring (optional)


Ages 3 to 7:

Far from being a passive chef, four-year-old Daphne (pictured) asks a million questions. "Why do we do that?; What did you say?; Excuse me, what are you doing?" Little face peeking over the counter, she sieves the flour, tapping the side and watching the flour puff and fall. White clouds rise in the air. "Why do we have to be careful?" Holding each egg like a precious stone, she gains some confidence from her success with egg cracking. "Why do they smell so nice?" she asks of the baking cupcakes, which in no time at all are ready to be pulled from the oven. Pressing edible silver balls into the candy-pink icing, Daphne asks the most important question of all: "Can I please have one?''

Preheat oven to 190C. Put cupcake cases in patty or small muffin tins. Cream butter with an electric beater, then gradually add sugar, beating until soft and creamy. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Add eggs, beating well between each addition. Sift flour and salt and lightly fold into the mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk, to make a smooth consistency. Spoon into cases and bake for 15 minutes, until pale golden brown. For icing, sift icing sugar into a bowl, make a well in the centre, add boiling water and butter, stir until sooth and shiny. Add colouring as desired and spread icing on cooled cakes, adding decorations before the icing sets.

Makes 12



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