November 13, 2010

Making vanilla cupcakes with my favorite little girl

No, I don’t have any kid of my own that I have been hiding from you! Back in the Spring I spent a couple of months meeting weekly with one of the sweetest little girls, Carla (of course, not as sweet as your kids…one’s own kids are always the sweetest but I don’t have any, so I am very happy of having her from time to time).  What I used to do with Carla was not a normal babysitting. We were meeting once per week for an hour so that she could have some Italian conversation (she used to go at the school where I teach) and to bake! Yes, to bake. One hour per week I got to speak Italian and bake with Carla. Is there a better job than that? It doesn’t even feel like a job. Needles too say, I always had a lot of fun!

Since last Thursday, my weekly hour of fun with Carla is back into my life. How cool is that! I decided to regularly blog about our baking experiments! They are experiments because, as with my blog, every week we try a new recipe, and not one that I necessarily tested already. Also, cooking and baking with a six year old is not like doing it with a teenager! There still are many things that she can’t do but there are also many things that she can’t do but can learn on the way, with me. That is double cool!

We usually do everything from scratch and I think the hardest task is to find recipes we can really make in 1 hour only. [That exclude yeast goods for example, but I want one day to figure out how to make them with her.] This time, though we did not make everything from scratch. The cupcakes were, of course. But not the frosting. The fact is the other day was a very special day: her sixth birthday! [And like her mom told me, she is a very proud six-year-old kid J ] So I thought it would be fun to put aside the “do-from-scratch” rule to have her instead color some icing and decorate the cupcakes in the way she preferred. Again, needless to say, we had a blast! I don’t use icing that much but bringing her all the colors, showing her toothpick method and letting her do all the job was great. For her, that meant a great sense of achievement! Without mentioning she got to eat the cupcakes as an afternoon snack!

Let’s see what I can figure out for us to make next week. I want something fall/autumn related. Any suggestion?

Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 9 cupcakes

130 gr (4.5 oz or 1 cup) all purpose flour
7 gr (1 ½ tsp) baking powder
1 pinch of salt
150 gr (5.3 oz or ¾ cup) sugar
75 gr (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
175 ml (¾ cup) milk
2 ml (½ tsp) vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees and prepare the muffin pan with muffin paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, the baking powder, and the salt and mix them.

In another bowl, mix the sugar and the butter until you obtain a soft cream. Stir in the egg and mix well. 

Gradually add the milk and the vanilla extract.

Finally, stir in the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or a spatula until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into the muffin liners. Bake for about 20-25 minutes (depending on the oven) until the cupcakes are golden and they spring back when gently pressed.

Cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting them

Have a sweet day!


  1. So if I ask you to teach me to speak Italian, will I get to bake with you too? :-) Sounds like a fun way to spend Thursday afternoons to me. :-)

  2. Today I took a cupcake decorating class. Everyone was so serious. I wish we had some kids in the mix. You're such a fun mom!

  3. I'm with Jean, you can work on my Italian as we bake cupcakes together!
    Thanks for a wonderful post, I look forward to seeing more of your baking fun with Carla!

  4. How fun to teach her Italian and bake at the same time! That's so sweet of you. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your weekly baking projects with Carla! :)

  5. Aw, how fun and what a wonderful way for her to learn Italian. Happy birthday to her!

  6. I loved that your little helper was able to join you in some baking fun. Maybe one day with your own little bundle of joy! But being a pre-school teacher I bet your days are always filled with joy!

  7. What a great afternoon! A lucky little girl - cooking and learning Italian - perfect!!! It is such fun to cook with little kids. Happy Sunday!!

  8. Can you come over and teach my child Italian while she bakes with you? Heck, can you come over and teach ME Italian while we bake together? Now THAT would be fun!

  9. What a fun job you have. And I think this fun activity would really keep the child interested in the language conversation too. The cupcakes look and sound delicious.

  10. I am super jealous of Carla....I've been telling myself since I got back from Italy this summer that I'd like to learn Italian. And she gets a treat too!? I wish I could be a part of this great activity!

  11. How do you get a job like this one!?! I love it! Hope you continue to enjoy your afternoons...and make such wonderful treats!

  12. How fun, I'm sure she had a great time! Oh, you should show her how to make a Crostata, apple or plum perhaps?

  13. Absolutely adorable! I love cooking with kids. Both of my kids were stirring, sifting and whisking as soon as they could stand on the stool. My girl scouts created treats with me too. Good for you Sara! Your pictures are really nicely done. Liv will love the cupcake recipe too!

  14. This looks so fun! And the cupcakes look delicious :) And maybe you could make an apple pie or something? or pumpkin whoopie pies, those are quick.

  15. Guys, next time we meet we can do an Italian baking class altogether. In exchange for an English class of course :)
    Thanks you all for the great suggestios! @Megan funny cause after looking for quick pumpkin pies I gave up and decided for an apple pie. Pumpkin whoopie that is a cool idea! I'll do that next Monday, right before Thankgiving!
    @Damaris: kids make everything more messy and more fun! It is indeed a great job!
    @Lisa: one day when I'll have a kid my house will be smelling good every day! I bet you love cooking with your little dude!
    @Christiane: do you have plans for Xmas holidays? :)
    @Josie: we did make crostata once...she loved it! Crostata is easier and quicker I should make it again with her!
    @Kim: you should have Liv come help me out. She looks like a wonderful baker in your posts!

  16. Cute! Love those pudgy little hands! Cooking with kids is always so much fun!

  17. That's so sweet. And what cute photos! Your blog is already wonderful but I like the addition! What a lucky girl. Cookies, marshmallow pops, and quick breads mini loaves are under an hour. You can change those for all seasons.

  18. How cute that you bake with little Carla and parlate in Italiano:) hope your week starts out great Sara:) xo

  19. What a great story. Such a positive impact you are making on this little girl when you bake with her. We all remember who taught us to bake, and we will never forget. I say apple muffins next week.

  20. Marshmallow pops, apple muffins, mini loaves...all great suggestions! Thanks

  21. Wow, what a lucky girl. She gets to hang out with you, cook, learn Italian, and eat cupcakes. Sounds good to me!

  22. Aww, I love the idea of making cupcakes with kids! Actually any sort of baking with kids is super fun. What a cool weekly activity! :)

  23. what a fun way to learn Italian and bake and asa a reward eat the cupcakes

  24. Such a wonderful way to engage a child...I do have some of my own, but all children are precious :)
    Learning is the most important gift to a child, a language, a how to cook/bake or a life experience.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.