I like to think of my child-rearing method now as carrot and stick. As in carrot cake and carrot stick. I’m not averse to cake, as you can tell by my well-fed Baked Goods label. But I am averse to anti-cupcake Nazi-types, who only fuel my desire to cheer the pro-life (pro-cake) population by regular and prolific baking. My boys eat relatively healthily and I have, after many years, learned to be more relaxed about them having chocolate and sweets now and again. Of course, to protect their healthy little arteries, I do intervene to rescue them from the evils of excessive chocolate (by consuming the lot myself).

Our oldest son turned 11 recently, and gave me carte blanche to bake him whatever cake I felt like. So, here’s what he got. A batch of his favorite orange cupcakes with both orange-buttercream and chocolate-buttercream frosting, and lemon cupcakes with lemon curd and lemon-buttercream frosting.

Do note, in one of these photos, there’s a wee hand grabbing a little tomato. I was surprised and pleased that the tomatoes and carrots and wholegrain chips and hummus disappeared almost as quickly as the cupcakes. Perhaps the boys were ravenous after a playing Capture the Flag for a couple of hours.

The other surprise was that tweenage boys – and there were about ten 10-to-11 year olds at the party – adored the *dainty lemon-curd cupcakes that I’d baked with their mums in mind, and also gobbled up all the mini lemon tarts that would have delighted girls their age. These are macho fellas, mind you, who play football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, baseball and tennis. More power to them.

And many happy returns to my gorgeous son!

(*Having grown up with three brothers, I had absolutely no intention of making macho-themed cupcakes decked out as tennis balls, baseballs, little dogs’ tails, snails or whatever!)