These little cup cakes hold fond memories of long, hot, summer holidays in Spain as a child, coming home from the beach, salty hair from the sea, sun-drenched skin, and sitting on my yaya Ana’s (granny Ana) balcony as everyone was having their siesta, scoffing my face with them, and washing them down with ice cold chocolate milkshake. That's why they are magical, food is always at it's best when it's one of your childhood favourites – whenever I eat them I am that goofy 7 year old in that magical homeland. Traditionally these are eaten at breakfast dunked in a café con leche (coffee with milk), or hot chocolate, or milk shake - they are a perfect treat for little ones, using nutritious olive oil and a small amount of caster sugar (each cake contains around 6g of sugar – less than most shop bought health sweet baked treats for babies!). On top of that they are really versatile, swap the traditional lemon zest for orange zest or vanilla extract, pop a bit of nut spread on top, or even chocolate and sprinkles for older children. These are a great snack to have with cows milk and encourage you 1+ year old to drink cows milk, as the flavours really complement each other. Also as they don't contain dairy they are a great treat for babies with a dairy intolerance. Legend has it they were first made by a girl called Magdalena for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela.
Makes 8 small cup cakes
50g caster sugar
50g self raising flour
3 tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1. Beat the egg white with an electric beater until it forms firm white peaks.
2. Beat in the egg yolk, sugar and lemon zest.
3. Pour in olive oil and carefully fold with the sifted self-raising flour.
4. Pop approx. 1 tbsp of the mixture into each cup case (ideally silicon cup cases) and into a preheated fan 180C oven for 15 mins. Test the cake is cooked by carefully skewering one and checking there is no cake mixture stuck on the skewer.
5. Cool on a wire rack before removing from silicon cases (if using) and serving.
These are a great snack to have with cows milk and encourage you 1+ year old to drink cows milk, as the flavours really complement each other. Also as they don't contain dairy they are a great treat for babies with a dairy intolerance.
Legend has it they were first made by a girl called Magdalena for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela.
Little monkey's happy banana loaf
Bananas could help you to feel happier as they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to promote relaxation and improve mood. A low sugar banana loaf is what everyone needs as a treat now and again. The cinnamon gives the loaf a deceptive sweetness to taste and the banana is well just banana to taste. The loaf is reasonably moist and crumbly at the same time. In actual fact it is also low in fat too made with only 90g of butter. A 1/16 of a loaf or half an adults portion contains around 10g of refined sugar, roughly the same amount as shop bought baby sweet bar treats. Zahara really really liked this cake yesterday and could have probably have eaten a whole adults portion – but I obviously didn't let her!
90g unsalted butter
2 tbsp honey (agave nectar if under 1)
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
2/3 cup of mashed banana
1 ½ cup self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tbsp milk
1. Grease a approx. 20cm loaf tin and line base with grease proof paper. Preheat oven to fan 180C.
2. Cream butter, honey and sugar by beating with an electric mixer. Beat in egg.
3. Stir through banana.
4. Stir through sifted dry ingredients along with milk.
5. Spoon into loaf tin and cook for around 40 mins – the cake will turn a dark golden colour on top and a fork will come out clean (no cake mixture stuck to it) when spiked.
This is a really easy cake to make with a toddler. It's keeps for 72 hours in an air tight container. Ideally for a baby older than a year due to sugar content, and also they need a good pincer grip to handle chunk bite size pieces - the cake is too crumberly for hand grabbing finger shaped pieces.
The banana is, in fact, not a tree but a high herb that grows up to 15 metres. Bananas could help you to feel happier as they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to promote relaxation and improve mood.
Iron baby orange semolina cake
This cake has no real origin but it's orange and almond base lends itself to being a type of halva cake from North Africa. It's very moist and dense but light and crumbly at the same time, the orange really comes through and the cake can be served hot or cold. The semolina makes the top of the cake crunchy. I had mine cold with a shot of expresso. I have really cut the sugar to a very, low, half a cup, so that's around 10g per serving for little one (based on their piece being 1/16 of a cake, or half a grown-ups piece) - that's pretty low and the same as you find in many shop bought baby snack bars. But yes, it's refined sugar, so shouldn't be eaten on a daily basis, a once a couple of weeks treat should be ok though. The semolina gives a good iron boost and so do the ground almonds, along with B vitamins and other essential minerals, so if you ignore the sugar it's a good healthy eat. It's very simple to make just beat a few ingredients and stir a few others, pop in oven and it's pretty much done. I would wait until baby is 10 months old and can handle cake to avoid it getting stuck on the top of their mouths.
Makes an 8 piece cake
125 g butter
Zest of 1 large naval orange
½ cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup semolina
1 cup ground almonds
Juice of one large naval orange
1. Greece and line with baking paper a 20 cm diameter springform tin. Preheat oven to fan 180C.
2. Cream butter, zest and sugar using an electric beater.
3. Beat one egg in at a time
4. Add half the dry ingredients with 1 ½ table spoon of orange juice. Stir through. Add second half of the dry ingredients with 1 ½ tbsp orange juice and stir through.
5. Spoon mixture into tin and bake for around 40 mins. Take out of oven and brush top liberally with remaining orange juice. Put back in oven for a further 2 mins. You will know the cake is cooked when you can put a fork carefully into the cake and it comes out clean (no cake batter visible).
6. Take out and turn out onto wire rack, brush bottom of cake with remaining orange juice, and leave cake to cool or serve cake hot.
I would wait until baby is 10 months old and can handle cake - to avoid it getting stuck on the top of their mouths. The cake is best eaten on day it's is baked, but can be kept in an air tight container for a further day.
The semolina gives a good iron boost along with the almonds, which themselves provide a wealth of essential vitamins and minerals, making it a reasonably healthy cake. It's most like a North African halva cake due to its orange and almond base.