Birthday Cakes for Toddlers
The birthday cake is rightly the centrepiece of the tea table. For gummy toddlers with big eyes and small hands, though, it’s good to offer more manageable alternatives as well.
Madeira sponge is ideal for children because it is soft and does not need extra flavouring or colouring; it is also one of the easiest cakes to decorate. (See ‘Birthday Cakes for a First Birthday’ article for the recipe.)
Another unfussy cake that fits the role beautifully is carrot cake-without chopped walnuts. We can even tell ourselves that it contains some healthy ingredients...
You can make whatever shape cake you choose-either use a square or round cake tin, a pudding-basin shape, or a moulded tin. I like to make square cakes for toddlers simply because they are much easier to cut into ‘finger food sized’ pieces and I can estimate how many pieces there will be!Preheat the oven to 180CPrepare the cake tin by lining it with baking parchment first.
Ingredients for One 18cm Square Cake Tin
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 175g self-raising flour
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 175ml sunflower oil
- 150g grated carrots
- finely grated rind of 1 orange
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
The mixture should be soft and almost runny in consistency.Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake just above the centre of a preheated oven for 40-50 minutes.
Leave your cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then, turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.The cake can be drizzled with frosting-made with 175g icing sugar and 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice-or, 125g softened butter, 50g icing sugar and 250g cream cheese whizzed together.If you wish to add more elaborate decoration do so when the topping has set.
Individual Hedgehog CakesNot such healthy ingredients but loads of eye appeal!
Ingredients for 16 CakesPreheat the oven to 180C
- 50g softened butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 50g self-raising flour
- 1 tablespoon milk
Divide the mixture into 16 round-bottomed patty tins (grease with butter paper first.)Bake for about 15 minutes then leave to cool on wire racks.
Chocolate Butter Frosting
- 225g icing sugar
- 100g softened butter
- 1 tablespoon cold milk
- 30g melted plain chocolate
Use this to cover the cooled cakes and tweak one end of each into a snout shape.While the frosting is soft, stick halved chocolate buttons upright in rows; so that they look like hedgehog ‘spikes.’
Round jelly sweets make good ‘noses’ for the hedgehogs and two-coloured dolly mixtures make good ‘eyes.’ Do not use anything small to decorate these cakes with.You could have your main cake on a board in the centre of the table and a circle of hedgehogs around it.
Another option is to use the recipe for Madeira cake to make little fairy cakes. Simply divide the mixture into cup cake cases then decorate as you wish when they have cooled completely.So, for toddlers, a birthday cake that isn’t full of naughty stuff and, for the camera, some that are...