Campfire Cupcakes

One of the grandest rituals we girls did this summer was baking cupcakes. I would pick up the granddaughters, Avah 10, and Savannah 4, for a baking day at my farmhouse AKA In The Kitchen With Sherry. In the car, I would show them the cupcake picture we were going to make and recite the simple grocery list.    Avah would write it down—or enter it on her tablet. We would then stop at the grocery store to buy our ingredients on the way home.   

As our “cupcake baking summer” progressed, they did all the shopping. I tagged along behind the small shopping cart.  Avah would share the list with her younger sister and allow her to find the items, too. At the checkout, they insisted we use the self-checkout. Each granddaughter was accustomed to using self-checkout with their mom, me, not so much. They were delighted to show Mamaw how to use it properly. I was learning, too. 

At my kitchen’s newly assembled baking station, with my new pistachio green KitchenAid mixer, each girl was to share the tasks of measuring, pouring or stirring for the mixer to blend.   Reading is important. Measuring.  Cracking eggs. Dumping oil. Setting the oven. Counting the liners. All these things are examples of learning. And they love learning.   

 For the older sister, who has been baking in the kitchen with Mamaw much longer, there was a lesson in patience. “Avah, you must remember when you were little like her one time, too. Little hands and minds are learning. Be patient.” (A lesson for us older grandmas, too.) It’s part of their development. So, an eggshell in the cake batter can be fished out. Spilled oil can be wiped up.  No worries. Soon they’ll be a pro at it. Patience is a virtue! 

While the cupcakes cooled, we mixed up our orange flavored icing that would represent the campfire. Pretzels for firewood and marshmallows for roasting.   “What colors make orange?” “Yellow and red!” Start with yellow then add a little red.  

 When it came time to decorate, we again followed the inspiration Pinterest picture from my phone, shared before shopping.  They studied it, then went to work trying to match it or doing their own thing.  This is the time to allow “creative energies” to flow.  Remember, there’s a creative gene in each one of us and it’s time to unleash it. 

Of course, all in all, the best time is eating our creation. Nothing tastes better than something you bake with your own hands. The summer isn’t over yet. Why not start your own tradition of Cupcake Baking with your grands.    

Campfire Cupcakes Recipe


  1. Dark Chocolate Cake Mix  
  2. 2 Cans Vanilla Icing
  3. Pretzel Sticks
  4. Mini Marshmallows
  5. Cupcake Liners
  6. Yellow and Red Food Coloring
  7. Orange Flavoring (optional but delicious) We used 1 tsp. zest of an orange. 

Follow directions on cake mix box. Use an icing bag to make the fire tall. The pretzels represent firewood. The marshmallows on toothpicks for roasting. 

My Grand Girls are ready to get started. 

Avah demonstrates for little sister just how much to put in each liner. 

We made an icing bag from a baggy. Savannah gets started. I can do it! She says. 

This is 4-year old Savannah’s creation of a Campfire Cupcake!

Let them be creative. Heck, be creative yourself.

Plain and simple chocolate cupcake with orange icing is delicious, too. 

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