• 100g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 140g Fairtrade soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 30mls whole/semi skimmed milk
  • 2 ripe Fairtrade bananas, well mashed
  • 190g self-raising flour
  • 25g Fairtrade cocoa
  • 140g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 280g Fairtrade icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Fairtrade vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 12 banana chips
  • 4 x 32g packs of Fairtrade chocolate buttons

Another half term over, another set of scribbles on my husbands dear Habitat table to scrub off. The house is a bombsite, there are toys strewn everywhere but we had a great time. And I also had an epiphany. A parenting epiphany no less.

I tried to plan the week with a mixture of at home activities and day trips but after a rather sullen visit to the cinema where my husband and I seemed to be more engrossed in the plight of Princess Ana than our two young sons, I realised that actually all they wanted to do was be with us. In that, they wanted our full and undivided attention, not shared with a cinema screen. So simple, so obvious and yet so easy to miss in the wake of soft play centres, cinemas, bowling and all the other half term must haves.

So home we went and set about a spot of kitchen therapy. My sous chefs helped bake and decorate these cupcakes with gusto. They mashed, mixed, whisked, folded, spooned and tasted. You can guess which part was the most popular.

One year ago: Love cupcakes and White chocolate, lemon and macadamia cake and Roasted celeriac, carrot and parsnip soupand My lightest Yorkshire puddings

Two years ago: Bake me not chocolate cake and Jelly and ice-cream meringue roulade and Good flapjackand Banana, butterscotch and fig traybake

Three years ago: Treasure hunt ice-cream and Rhubarb and ginger chutney and Carrot cake

Chocolate banana flower cupcakes

Makes 12

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 100g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 140g Fairtrade soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 30mls whole/semi skimmed milk
  • 2 ripe Fairtrade bananas, well mashed
  • 190g self-raising flour
  • 25g Fairtrade Cadbury cocoa

For the icing:

  • 140g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 280g Fairtrade icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Fairtrade vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk

To decorate:

  • 12 banana chips
  • 4 x 32g packs of Fairtrade Cadbury chocolate buttons

Line a 12 hole cake tin with cupcake cases and preheat the oven to gas 4/180C/fan 160C. Cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or with a mixer for about 4 – 6 minutes until really light and creamy looking. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture a dribble at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk, beat again.

Fold the mashed bananas into the mixture using a large metal spoon. Then sieve the flour and cocoa over the top and fold in again with a metal spoon. When no traces of the flour or cocoa are visible, spoon into the cases equally and bake for 20 – 25 minutes in the centre of the oven until they’re well risen, a little cracked at the surface and a toothpick comes out of the centre of each cupcake clean. Cool on a wire rack, removed from the tin.

To make the icing beat the butter with a wooden spoon or electric mixer for about 5 minutes until light and creamy, then add the icing sugar 1 tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and milk, beat well for another 5 minutes to ensure the icing is really fluffy, then spoon onto the cupcakes once cooled. Use a knife to spread an even layer over the top of each cake.

Press a banana chip into the centre of each cupcake then push 12 chocolate buttons into the buttercream in a circle pattern, to look like petals. These cupcakes keep in an airtight tin, at room temperature for 4 days.

This recipe was developed for Cadbury for Fairtrade Fortnight.

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