Growing your own food in a polytunnel is great fun for the whole family. One of the best parts is cooking up the ingredients that you have grown in a range of delicious recipes. To inspire you to create baking masterpieces with your family this summer, here are three easy cake recipes that you can bake with your kids, using fruits you may have grown in your polytunnel.
A Victoria Sponge Cake (With Homemade Jam)
Take 170g of sugar, 170g of butter, 170g of self-raising flour and three eggs. Mix softened butter with the sugar until they are fully combined, then add eggs and flour. Mix thoroughly, trying to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture, then spoon this mix into two greased 20cm sandwich tins. Bake at 180C for around 20-25 minutes. (Check them after 20 minutes). They will be done when the top is golden brown and they are springy to the touch and coming away from the edges of the tins. Turn out the cake top and bottom and leave them to cool fully on a wire rack.
While waiting for the cake to cool, you could make some butter cream or prepare some whipped cream. You could also make some jam using polytunnel produce if you have not yet done so. There are plenty of amazing jam recipes to choose from that can be created from fruits you could grow yourself in your polytunnel. Once the cake is cool, spread the bottom with jam and cream or buttercream and place the other half on top. Dust the top of your cake lightly with icing sugar and enjoy.
A Carrot Cake
A classic carrot cake is another easy cake recipe that you can make with your kids. You will need around 525g of carrot, grated, 450ml vegetable oil, 400g plain flour, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 550g sugar, 5 free-range eggs, a pinch of salt and cinnamon to taste. You can also add ground walnuts to the mixture if you wish. If you have grown plenty of carrots then this could be one way to use some of them to make a sweet treat. Mix up the ingredients above thoroughly and place in a greased 26cm cake tin. Bake for around 1 hour at 180C. Check after this time. Stab a skewer into the middle of the cake – when it comes out clean, the cake is done. Leave the cake a little longer if it is not quite cooked. Remove the cake from the tin and leave it on a rack to cool. You can make some butter cream for a topping, or make a tangy fruity icing using more produce from your polytunnel.
Summer Berry Cupcakes
To make some delicious summer berry cupcakes, you can simply adapt the basic sponge recipe used for the Victoria sponge. Take flour, sugar, butter and eggs as above, then stir in some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or other summer berries that you may have grown in your polytunnel. Bake in muffin tins or paper cake cases and bake for around 10-15 minutes at 180C. Leave to cool then top these cupcakes with butter cream and garnish with more vibrant summer berries from your polytunnel garden.
Do you have a favourite easy cake recipe to bake with your kids? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.