Halloween is the perfect excuse to gather little witches and goblins in the kitchen to bake some on-theme cupcakes, and the finalist of the first ever series of the nation's favourite Great British Bake Off, Miranda Gore Browne, is on hand to help. We spoke to the mum-of-three, labelled by Bake Off judge Mary Berry as "the iced biscuit queen", to get her top cake decorating tips as well as how to make a success of baking with kids. Looking for the perfect cupcakes to bake this Halloween? Look no further – we've got Miranda's beautifully decorated cupcake recipe with step-by-step instructions...
Icing tips from 'the iced biscuit queen'
- Use Fairtrade chocolate buttons for icing as soon as your creations come out of the oven
- Meringues make great ghosts. If you have any black icing handy, you can add eyes and a mouth
- Remember snowball cakes? These also make great ghosts
- Make a pumpkin decoration for your cupcake using a round (or serrated) cookie cutter, orange and green icing. Cut the circle of orange and a green stalk to add on the top.
- To make your butter soft quickly, chop the hard butter into chunks and put it in a bowl of warm water for about three minutes
Miranda was the finalist of the first ever series of Bake Off
Miranda's top tips for baking with kids
- Check you have all the ingredients you need before you start baking together
- Use cupfuls and teaspoons instead of scales to make baking easy with children
- Engage your children by making the experience fun but interesting – let them dress up, and tell them facts about where the baking ingredients you are using come from
The baking expert suggests baking with the little ones at Halloween
- Talk about what you enjoyed making when you were a child or share memories of special things that family members or friends used to bake
- Do they have their own special apron, wooden spoon and a little stool to stand on? Make them feel they are the star baker
- Don't worry about the cakes being perfect - if you want some cakes for a special occasion then perhaps put a few to one side to decorate yourself, then let the children enjoy decorating theirs!
Let children get dressed up and involved in tricky elements of baking, Miranda says
- If you are baking with more than one child, allocating tasks always seems to lead to a more relaxed atmosphere
- Make sure you have enough time. Baking with children can still be quick but it often takes longer than planned and they will enjoy it more if you are not rushing them
- Let children have a go at even the tricky parts of the process - even the youngest children can often do much more than we realise - counting out raisins, putting decorations into bowls, piping on icing
- Seasonal baking can be one of life's pleasures, so make sure you enjoy yourself
Watch a video of Miranda baking with her children: