Kid-friendly Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes

Family Meal Plan: Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes

Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes

by Erin Fletter
Photo by hiro cafe/Adobe Stock
prep time
30 minutes
cook time
18 minutes
6-12 servings

Fun Food Story

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Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes

This recipe will get your kid chefs' creative juices flowing by transforming a basic cupcake into a Not-So-Basic Cupcake! It is especially fun when kids design and present their baked creations using various fillings and toppings they choose! 

It is even more fun when they team up, as they do at our summer camps. Kid chefs compete individually and as teams in the categories of Best Creativity, Best Presentation, Most Enticing, Cupcake that most closely resembles design, and Best Teamwork (teamwork can mean encouragement, closely following instructions, participation, etc.). 

Whether your kids are baking at home or at one of our summer camps or after-school programs, they will learn new baking skills, patience, teamwork, and how to create beautiful desserts and food, and they will have a ton of fun!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • fruit for fillings or toppings—kids' choice! (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, bananas, apple, pear, mango, pineapple, citrus, peach)
  • 1 lemon, lime, or orange—zest for filling or topping (optional) + juice for glaze, if not using milk
  • 1/2 C butter, softened **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 C milk + few T for glaze **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 eggs **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • Filling and Topping Options (depending on Allergies):
  • dried fruit
  • honey
  • coconut (shaved, shredded)
  • chocolate—cocoa powder, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, Hershey Kisses, Hershey Hugs
  • poppyseeds
  • spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon sugar, pumpkin pie spice)
  • fruit jam (choose fun flavors!)
  • fresh mint
  • paper cupcake liners
  • food coloring, optional

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • crack :

    to break open or apart a food to get what's inside, like an egg or a coconut.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • mash :

    to reduce food, like potatoes or bananas, to a soft, pulpy state by beating or pressure.

  • preheat :

    to set an oven to the desired temperature a few minutes before cooking, so it reaches that temperature by the time you place the food in it.

  • wet vs dry :

    to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them: dry ingredients are flours, leavening agents, salt, and spices; wet ingredients are those that dissolve or can be dissolved (sugar, eggs, butter, oils, honey, vanilla, milk, and juices).

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl (2)
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Bowls for fillings and toppings


Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes

  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • {1/2 C butter, softened **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or coconut cream)**
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub applesauce OR mashed banana OR ground flaxseeds and warm water—more info below)**
  • 1 C milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation flavor—check label)**
  • paper cupcake liners
  • food coloring, optional
  • Glaze:
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • few T milk (sub dairy-free/nut-free milk) OR lemon, lime, or orange juice
  • Filling and Topping Options (depending on ALLERGIES):
  • fruit (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, bananas, apple, pear, mango, pineapple, citrus, peach)
  • dried fruit
  • honey
  • coconut (shaved, shredded)
  • chocolate (cocoa powder, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, Hershey Kisses, Hershey Hugs)
  • zest (lemon, lime, orange)
  • poppyseeds
  • spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon sugar, pumpkin pie spice)
  • fruit jam (choose fun flavors!)
  • fresh mint

Food Allergen Substitutions

Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour. Use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or coconut cream for butter. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter milk. 
  • Egg: For 2 eggs, substitute 3/4 C applesauce OR 1 large ripe, peeled, and mashed banana OR 2 T ground flaxseeds and 6 T warm water. Stir and soak flaxseeds in warm water for 5 minutes or until fully absorbed and thickened.


Not-So-Basic Cupcakes + Fun-filled Fruity Fillings, Toppings, Glazes

preheat + line

Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, measure and mix together the dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

crack + whisk

Crack 2 eggs into a medium bowl, and then whisk in the other wet ingredients: 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup butter.


Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until well combined.

fillings and toppings

Let kid chefs individually choose their fillings and toppings and chop, mince, or mash them. Then they can stir some into the batter and save a few for toppings.

fill + bake

Fill the muffin pan with the cupcake batter and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes and let them cool.

glaze + top

While cupcakes bake, kid chefs can make their glaze with 2 cups of powdered sugar in a medium bowl and a few tablespoons of milk or citrus juice in a cup to mix in. Kid chefs can decide how thick or thin they would like to make their glaze: add less liquid to the powdered sugar for a thicker, frosting-like consistency. Add more liquid for a thinner, glaze-like consistency.

glaze + top

Let kids have fun creating their unique cupcakes with glaze and toppings, and then eat and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Flour!

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Photo by WiP-Studio/

Hi! I’m Flour!

"Happy Baking, Friends! I'm Flour, and I'm a VIP (Very Important Powder)! I'm really quite useful (and humble). You can use me to make breads, cakes, cookies, crackers, crumpets, doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, pasta, waffles, and more. (Which is your favorite?) I can coat vegetables and meats before frying them in oil, and you can combine me with a fat to make a roux to thicken sauces and gravies. You can even make play dough and glue with me. Can you see now why I'm a VIP?"


  • Around 8,000 to 15,000 years ago, people discovered that they could crush wheat seeds between simple grindstones to make flour. 
  • When you grind cereal grains, beans, seeds, or roots (like cassava), they become a powder, resulting in flour. Some of the grains besides wheat that can be ground into flour are rye, buckwheat, barley, corn, oat, and rice. Other foods used to make flour are potatoes, acorns, mesquite, cassava, soybeans, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), amaranth, and even bananas! 
  • Flour is the primary component of bread, and bread is a staple in many countries. Therefore, sufficient amounts of flour are critical, which has caused major economic and political issues at various times throughout history. 

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Before grains are ground into flour, they are whole pieces taken from a plant. 
  • Each kernel of wheat consists of three parts: the coarse outer bran layer (which contains most of the fiber), the germ, and the endosperm. The endosperm stores the grain's starch, a carbohydrate that the body uses to create energy. Other foods that contain starch are potatoes, pasta, and rice.
  • Whole-wheat flour is the result of grinding or milling the whole grain. It contains all three parts of the kernel—bran, endosperm, and germ.
  • White flour has been refined or polished and bleached to remove the bran. As a result, white flour has less fiber than whole-wheat flour and fewer nutrients, too.  
  • The word "flour" is originally a variant of the word "flower." Both derive from the Old French "fleur" or "flour," literally "blossom," and figuratively "the finest" (of the milled grain). 

How Flour is made

  • Flour is made in nearly every country in the world. 
  • First, farmers plant wheat seeds, and plants begin to grow. Then, when they are ready to harvest, farmers collect them with giant machines called combines. 
  • Combines cut, separate, and clean the wheat at the same time. The grain must be completely dry before storing, so farmers don't harvest it when it's rainy. 
  • Then, they transfer the flour to a mill (a building where grains are ground into flour), where a miller will oversee the grinding of the wheat grain into flour.
  • One whole wheat grain makes over 20,000 particles of flour!


  • Flour contains protein and is a significant source of carbohydrates.
  • Carbohydrates are a direct source of energy for the body. Our bodies first have to make some changes to the carbohydrates, but then they are quickly converted to energy by our cells.
  • Fiber helps to keep our intestines happy, feeding the good bacteria in our gut. Whole-wheat, unbleached flour is an excellent source of fiber.
  • Whole wheat contains essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
  • Organic, unbleached flour is the healthiest.
  • Wheat-free and gluten-free flours are vital to people who have celiac disease, wheat allergies, or gluten intolerance (or non-celiac gluten sensitivity). Varieties of gluten-free flours include those made from: almonds, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and teff. 


History of Cupcakes!

Photo by Alla/Adobe Stock
  • The earliest recipe for what would be later called a "cupcake" can be found in a cookbook, American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, written in 1796. In it, she described "a light cake to bake in small cups." 
  • The earliest written record of the word "cupcake" was from an 1828 cookbook, Seventy-Five Receipts [Recipes] for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, by Eliza Leslie. 
  • We can conclude from both of these facts that the cupcake is an American creation. Before there were cupcake or muffin pans, bakers used pottery cups to make these small, round, individual cakes. Hence, the name "cupcake!"
  • Baked cupcakes can be decorated just like a full-size cake, with frosting type, fruit, sprinkles, and more. In addition, they are sometimes filled with fruit curd, jam, nut or fruit pie filling, or chocolate ganache after baking. To fill a cupcake, after it has completely cooled, scoop out a bit of the cake in the middle, using a paring knife, apple corer, or melon baller. Then, fill the cupcake using a spoon or filled pastry bag. 
  • Cupcakes can be eaten like a sandwich, a method that allows for frosting in every bite. Pull apart or slice the cake horizontally in the middle, put the bottom half on top of the frosting, then eat it like a sandwich! 
  • Cupcakes are popular birthday and school party treats. Some weddings have also featured an elaborate tiered cupcake display instead of, or in addition to, the traditional wedding cake!

Let's Learn About the United States!

Photo by JeniFoto/ (July 4th Picnic)
  • Most of the United States of America (USA) is in North America. It shares its northern border with Canada and its southern border with Mexico. It consists of 50 states, 1 federal district, 5 territories, 9 Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. 
  • The country's total area is 3,796,742 square miles, globally the third largest after Russia and Canada. The US population is over 333 million, making it the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.
  • The United States of America declared itself an independent nation from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, by issuing the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Revolutionary War between the US and Great Britain was fought from 1775-1783. We only had 13 colonies at that time! On September 9, 1976, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and declared that the new nation would be called the United States. 
  • The 13 colonies became states after each ratified the constitution of the new United States, with Delaware being the first on December 7, 1787.  
  • The 13 stripes on the US flag represent those first 13 colonies, and the 50 stars represent our 50 states. The red color of the flag symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes innocence and purity, and blue symbolizes vigilance and justice.
  • Before settling in Washington DC, a federal district, the nation's capital resided in New York City and then Philadelphia for a short time. New York City is the largest city in the US and is considered its financial center. 
  • The US does not have a recognized official language! However, English is effectively the national language. 
  • The American dollar is the national currency. The nickname for a dollar, "buck," comes from colonial times when people traded goods for buckskins!
  • Because the United States is so large, there is a wide variety of climates and types of geography. The Mississippi/Missouri River, running primarily north to south, is the fourth-longest river system in the world. On the east side of the Mississippi are the Appalachian Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains, and the East Coast, next to the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • On the west side of the Mississippi are the flat Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains (or Rockies), and the West Coast, next to the Pacific Ocean, with several more mountain ranges in coastal states, such as the Sierras and the Cascades. Between the coasts and the north and south borders are several forests, lakes (including the Great Lakes), rivers, swamps, deserts, and volcanos. 
  • Several animals are unique to the US, such as the American bison (or American buffalo), the bald eagle, the California condor, the American black bear, the groundhog, the American alligator, and the pronghorn (or American antelope). 
  • The US has 63 national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, with the Colorado River flowing through it, are among the most well-known and visited.
  • Cuisine in the US was influenced early on by the indigenous people of North America who lived there before Europeans arrived. They introduced beans, corn, potatoes, squash, berries, fish, turkey, venison, dried meats, and more to the new settlers. Other influences include the widely varied foods and dishes of enslaved people from Africa and immigrants from Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in the United States?

  • Education is compulsory in the US, and kids may go to a public or private school or be home-schooled. Most schools do not require students to wear uniforms, but some private schools do. The school year runs from mid-August or the beginning of September to the end of May or the middle of June.
  • Kids generally start school at about five years old in kindergarten or earlier in preschool and continue through 12th grade in high school. After that, many go on to university, community college, or technical school. 
  • Spanish, French, and German are the most popular foreign languages kids learn in US schools. 
  • Kids may participate in many different school and after-school sports, including baseball, soccer, American football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and track and field. In grade school, kids may join in playground games like hopscotch, four-square, kickball, tetherball, jump rope, or tag.
  • There are several fun activities that American kids enjoy doing with their friends and families, such as picnicking, hiking, going to the beach or swimming, or going to children's and natural history museums, zoos and wild animal parks, amusement parks, water parks, state parks, or national parks. Popular amusement parks include Disneyland, Disney World, Legoland, Six Flags, and Universal Studios.
  • On Independence Day or the 4th of July, kids enjoy a day off from school, picnicking, and watching fireworks with their families. 
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November when students get 2 to 5 days off school. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are popular December holidays, and there are 2 or 3 weeks of winter vacation. Easter is celebrated in March, April, or May, and kids enjoy a week of spring recess around that time.  
  • Barbecued hot dogs or hamburgers, watermelon, apple pie, and ice cream are popular kid foods for 4th of July celebrations. Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are traditional Thanksgiving foods. Birthday parties with cake and ice cream are very important celebrations for kids in the United States!

The Yolk's On You

What did the yeast say to the bag of flour? 

Come on! We knead to be serious!

The Yolk's On You

Why couldn’t the teddy bear finish his cupcake?

Because he was stuffed!

The Yolk's On You

What’s the difference between a baseball cupcake and a baseball muffin?

The batter!

THYME for a Laugh

What did the cupcake tell the frosting?

"I’d be muffin without you."

The Yolk's On You

What does a snowman like on his cupcakes?


THYME for a Laugh

What do you call an island populated entirely by cupcakes?


The Yolk's On You

What do bakers give their moms on Mother's Day? 


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