Cupcakes! The boys’ eyes lit up as they entered the science lab on Monday afternoon and spied the muffin tins and cupcake liners on the bench with the ingredients all laid out. As they know well (and as I am sure you will be aware if you have been following the Petits Chefs for the past four years), we don’t often make desserts – for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, and most practically, desserts tend to require more time than many savoury dishes and certainly baked goods are challenging to make in just under an hour. Secondly, well, whilst I believe that a healthy diet is all about moderation, I don’t just want the boys to be learning to make desserts. But every now and then there comes an occasion where I feel it’s time to teach them a dessert and certainly, if they are going to eat sweet treats, I’d rather they be “from scratch” items than store-bought processed foods.
That occasion just happened to be one of my monthly Food Revolution Ambassador challenges for September. The Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassadors (I’ve been one since the very beginning back in 2012) are celebrating their second year together as a global volunteer group, working across the world to spread the good word about food education. Each month we work our way through a few different food-related challenges which help keep us focused on our mission and, in turn, spread the word across the globe.
This month, we were told to Celebrate our Anniversary and do some celebratory cooking. This month, Jamie launched his latest cookbook – Jamie’s Comfort Food whose recipes are inspired by everything from childhood memories to the changing of the seasons, AND, it takes into account some guilty pleasures and sweet indulgences that everyone enjoys, including a Hummingbird Cake – the ultimate celebratory cake. It most definitely is an indulgent recipe but as I said to the boys on Monday – it’s a special occasion cake and who doesn’t need a couple of those recipes up their sleeve? I figured in an hour, if we worked fast, we could make the cake and icing and try our hand at the homemade toffee….
The hummingbird cake is thought to have originated in Jamaica, and was originally called the “Doctor bird cake” (a nickname for a Jamaican variety of hummingbird – the name comes from the way the bird’s long beak probes flowers, like a doctor inspecting a patient!). Some say the cake was named after the bird because it was sweet enough to attract hummingbirds (it’s sweetened with sugar, pineapple and coconut), while others say the yellow streaks of banana was reminiscent of the bird’s feathers. Read about the history of the Hummingbird Cake here.
We practised weighing our ingredients this week (who knew that watching the number on the scale increase would be so fascinating to the boys?)…
Meanwhile, Miss Carter and some of the older boys tried their hand at the toffee brittle. Considering we used the wrong type of sugar (icing not granulated and totally my mistake!) I think they did pretty well. So well, in fact that one of the boys went straight home to make some more!
Most definitely an indulgent recipe but considering how many it serves (the entire cake recipe “serves 14″and we made 28 cupcakes – with a lot of leftover icing since the cake has a layer on the inside that we obviously didn’t do), the boys didn’t think it was “TOO bad for you” 😉 In any case, learning how to bake a cake from scratch is most definitely a useful skill and the boys did so well! I don’t know how many of the cupcakes made it home though…
Get the recipe for Jamie Oliver’s Hummingbird Cakes here.
Get Jamie’s healthy living tips for eating a balanced diet here.
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Canadians – win a KitchenAid Produce Preserver and a $50 to stock up on fresh produce. Closes Wednesday October 1st 6pm EST. Details here.
Canadians – win a copy of Charmian Christie’s “The Messy Baker”! Closes Wednesday October 8th at 6pm EST. Details here.