Caterpillar Iced Buns

Or just good old iced fingers really. They would just have been iced pink with sprinkles had Biggest not remarked that they looked like caterpillars when we were rolling out the dough. Definitely more fun this way. You could make a whole gaggle of mini beasts. An iced bun decorating competition would be a great birthday party activity.

Bread is a great thing to bake with Smalls. Lots of people are deterred by the proving requirements etc. but if you're in for the day or it's raining outside, bread baking is a great activity for keeping everyone busy. It can be done in stages, several short bursts of activity through the day, or you can prepare the buns in advance and make it a quick decorating session. It's super flexible and who wouldn't want to sit down to one of these and a cup of tea for elevenses?

This recipe is for a little batch of 6, but if you wanted to make these for a party or as gifts, you can simply double, triple or quadruple the recipe.


I'd forgotten how magical butterfly painting is. Biggest LOVED this. Perfect for thank you cards.

250g white bread flour

25g golden caster sugar

7g instant yeast

1tsp salt

20g unsalted butter

1 egg

75ml warm milk

70ml water

100g icing sugar

Approx. 2-3 tsp water

Food colour gel of choice.


Personally, I make the dough in advance and get the first prove out of the way before anyone knows that we're baking. That way you reduce the waiting time for impatient bakers. This dough is so quick to make that you can mix it together by hand or in a mixer whilst the Smalls are busy breakfasting and then get them involved at the rolling stage as a great mid morning boredom buster.

1. Mix the all the ingredients except the water together in a large bowl. Add the water a little at a time and bring the mixture together into a dough. You don't have to use all the water. If the dough feels smooth and malleable you're there.

2. Ideally you now knead the dough for about ten minutes, but in my case it's usually for as long as the Smalls are interested or they require my attention.

I mix and knead the dough in a large casserole pan. This is big enough for several pairs of hands and big enough for me to knead the dough where it is, meaning that I don't have to turn it out onto a floured surface. Meaning very little mess. Even little hands will stay relatively clean, as once a dough is smooth it will squish and squash without leaving a sticky residue.

Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for about an hour. The dough won't necessarily double in size, but it will do it's yeasty business, so don't rush it. You'll get better buns if you let the dough snooze leisurely now.

2. Have a lightly greased baking tray at the ready. Divide the dough into 6 parts. Roll each part into a sausage shape approximately 12cm long. Lay the fingers on the baking tray. Cover and prove again for another hour.

3. Bake in the oven at 220° for ten minutes. Cool on a wire rack or chopping board.

4. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar and water, along with a few pin pricks of your chosen colouring, together to make a thick paste. Best if you can do this in a wide, shallow tupperware pot. Children can then simply dip the fingers top-down into the icing to glaze them. If desired, use a knife to smooth the icing for a more picture perfect finish. Once the icing has dried you can let them go wild with icing pens and sprinkles.

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