Kid-friendly Puffy Greek Baklava Honey CUPcake with Orange Honey Syrup + Honey Cinnamon Milk Steamer Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Puffy Greek Baklava Honey CUPcake with Orange Honey Syrup + Honey Cinnamon Milk Steamer for One + Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

Family Meal Plan: Puffy Greek Baklava Honey CUPcake with Orange Honey Syrup + Honey Cinnamon Milk Steamer

Puffy Greek Baklava Honey CUPcake with Orange Honey Syrup + Honey Cinnamon Milk Steamer for One + Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Natasha McCone and Kate Bezak
prep time
22 minutes
cook time
6 minutes
1-2 servings

Fun Food Story

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Puffy Greek Baklava Honey CUPcake with Orange Honey Syrup

What do you hear when you throw a chicken into a volcano? "Bak-lava!"

We're making a cake inspired by one of the world's most delicious desserts and a true gift to the sweet culinary world: Baklava (BAHK-luh-vah)! It's probably a new word and dessert for many kid chefs; the joke above might help them remember it! 

We're going to explore how taste and smell go together with our ingredients today by performing some simple experiments that will get kid chefs thinking of ways to bring out the ingredients' flavors. Although this cake is not the same as baklava, it is very delicious. We know kids will love it and remember it when they have a chance to try the real thing!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 1 small orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pinch fresh chopped parsley (or dried parsley/dried dill)
  • Kid Chefs' Choice for “Crudités:”
  • 4 to 5 baby carrots or carrot chips
  • 1 to 2 celery stalks
  • 1 mini cucumber or 1/4 large cucumber
  • 3 to 5 cherry tomatoes **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 to 2 red radishes
  • 2 to 3 jicama sticks
  • 1/2 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 3 to 5 mini sweet peppers **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 T butter **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 egg **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 4 T full-fat plain Greek yogurt **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 3/4 C milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 pinch of garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar
  • 1 T + 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 T + 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 T sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon OR cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • dip :

    to briefly put a solid food, such as chips, fries, battered fried fish, hot sandwich (French dip), or veggie slices, into a liquid, like beef broth or a thicker sauce, like ketchup, dressing, or a dip to impart moisture and extra flavor to the solid food.

  • juice :

    to extract or squeeze out the juice of a fruit or vegetable, like a lemon, orange, or carrot, often cutting open or peeling the fruit or veggie first to access its flesh.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • melt :

    to heat a solid food so it becomes liquid, like butter or chocolate.

  • microwave :

    to heat or cook food or liquid quickly in a microwave oven, which uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to generate heat in the food's water molecules.

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • seal :

    to close tightly, keeping filling inside.

  • shake :

    to rapidly and vigorously move a covered container filled with food up and down and side to side to combine ingredients and create a different consistency, such as shaking whipped cream to make butter.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • tear :

    to pull or rip apart a food, like basil leaves, into pieces instead of cutting with a knife; cutting breaks cell walls more, so herbs can discolor faster.

  • toast :

    to brown and crisp food in a heated skillet or oven, or in a toaster.

  • whip :

    to beat food with a whisk or mixer to incorporate air and produce volume.

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe mug
  • Potholder
  • Pint-sized glass or plastic jar or container + matching lid
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Soap for cleaning hands
  • Small microwave-safe plate
  • Paper towels
  • Small whisk or metal spoon
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Zester or (or grater with small zesting plate/side)
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife (a butter knife works great)
  • Small bowl
  • Citrus zester or box grater with small zesting holes
  • Citrus juicer (optional, but encouraged)


Puffy Greek Baklava Honey CUPcake with Orange Honey Syrup

  • Mug Cake:
  • 1 T butter, melted **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub nut-free oil OR dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance brand)**
  • 2 tsp + 1 T brown sugar, divided
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1/4 C applesauce)**
  • 2 T full-fat plain Greek yogurt **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free yogurt OR coconut cream)**
  • 2 T shelled sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, toasted **(Omit for SEED ALLERGY or sub raisins)**
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 pinches pumpkin pie spice
  • Syrup:
  • 1 small orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp honey

Honey Cinnamon Milk Steamer for One

  • 3/4 C milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon OR 1 cinnamon stick

Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

  • Kid chefs' choice for “Crudités:”:
  • 4 to 5 baby carrots or carrot chips
  • 1 to 2 celery stalks
  • 1 mini cucumber or 1/4 large cucumber
  • 3 to 5 cherry tomatoes **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • 1 to 2 red radishes
  • 2 to 3 jicama sticks
  • 1/2 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • 3 to 5 mini sweet peppers **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • Ranch Dip:
  • 1 pinch fresh chopped parsley (or dried parsley/dried dill)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 T full-fat plain Greek yogurt **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free plain Greek yogurt)**
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 pinch sugar, optional

Food Allergen Substitutions

Honey Cinnamon Milk Steamer for One

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk.

Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

  • Nightshade: Omit optional cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet peppers.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free plain Greek yogurt.


Puffy Greek Baklava Honey CUPcake with Orange Honey Syrup


Kid chefs can smell their aromatic ingredients one-by-one: butter, pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, seeds, honey, and orange! How can we make each of these ingredients smell even better? Have kids brainstorm and then compare the aromas before and after doing some of the cooking steps, like melting the butter, toasting the seeds, whipping the honey, and zesting and juicing the orange. Kids can also rub the spices on their palms and slowly wave their hands in front of their noses (not too close—they can go up nostrils and sting!).

melt + mix + whip

Add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 teaspoons brown sugar to a microwave-safe mug and microwave for 30 seconds to melt it. Remove carefully with a potholder. Whisk 1 tablespoon honey for a few seconds, then mix in the whipped honey and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar with the melted butter and sugar.

crack + whisk

Crack 1 egg and add it to the mug. Add 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt and whisk!

toast + measure + mix

Toast 2 tablespoons of pumpkin or sunflower seeds by placing them on a small microwave-safe plate and microwaving for 1 minute. Measure and add 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 pinch of salt, 2 pinches of pumpkin pie spice, and the toasted seeds to the mug. Mix, making sure all of the dry ingredients are mixed in with the wet ingredients. Scrape down the sides of your mug to be sure!

cover + microwave

Cover mug with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute. While the cake cooks, make the Orange Honey Syrup.

zest + juice + mix

Wash and zest 1 orange, adding the zest to a small bowl. Slice the orange in half and squeeze a few drops of juice into the bowl. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon honey.

drizzle + microwave

Drizzle the syrup over the mug cake and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove carefully with a potholder and let it cool a bit before serving.

Honey Cinnamon Milk Steamer for One

measure + seal

Kid chefs can measure and add 3/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 pinch of cinnamon to a clean jar or container and seal with its matching lid.

shake + microwave + stir

Have kids shake the sealed jar for a total of 30 seconds. Add the honey cinnamon milk to a microwave-safe mug. Microwave on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Carefully remove the mug with a potholder and stir.

cool + sip

Let it cool and sip. Cheers!

Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One


Each of our SFC Sweet Mug Recipes also include this section of the lesson, where kids snack on raw veggies and dip. All veggies are good for the brain! The purpose is to reinforce and encourage kids to eat veggies and have them learn a little about what each vegetable does for the body! Kids will show which veggie(s) they’ve chosen and share the benefit below. Snack on veggies and encourage kids to eat at least 3 pieces to power up their brains before making the mug cake! Green veggies help keep you from catching a cold! White veggies give you energy! Yellow veggies help make your bones strong! Orange veggies are good for your heart! Blue and Purple veggies are good for your memory! Red veggies are good for your blood!

tear + zest + juice

To make the dip, tear 1 pinch of parsley leaves into tiny bits! Add the parsley to a small bowl. Zest 1 lemon and add a pinch of zest to the parsley. Slice the lemon in half and add a squeeze of juice. Watch for seeds!

measure + mix

Measure and add 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt, 1 pinch of garlic powder, 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of water to the bowl with the parsley and lemon. Use a spoon to mix! Taste! What does it need? Add more lemon, salt, pepper, or garlic powder a little at a time until your dip tastes great to you. Add 1 pinch of sugar to balance flavors if you wish.

slice + dip

Have kid chefs slice up their raw vegetables of choice into sticks or bite-sized pieces, and then dip their Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks in the Cool Ranch Dip! Delightful!}

Surprise Ingredient: Honey!

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Photo by Jag_cz/

Hi! I'm Honey!

"I'm a golden, thick, naturally sweet liquid made by honeybees! My flavor varies depending on the particular flower nectar that bees carry home to their hive. Did you know I can last indefinitely? That's forever! Try squeezing or dribbling me into tea, on biscuits, toast, or fruit, and add me to desserts."   

  • Honeybees make honey—they are one of the world's insects that makes food people can eat. An average bee makes about one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey during its whole life.
  • In Spain, an 8,000-year-old cave painting in the Cuevas de la Araña (Spider Caves) depicts a person gathering honey from a beehive. 
  • Egyptian hieroglyphs record the practice of beekeeping in ancient Egypt and honey's use as a sweetener and as a soothing ointment for wounds. Egyptians also buried their dead with honey or used it in mummification.
  • Ancient Greece had its beekeepers, and references to honey also appear in ancient Indian and Israelite texts.
  • Honey has an indefinite shelf life—it can last forever if well stored because it has natural preservatives. It may crystallize eventually, but the crystals will melt if you warm it by putting the jar in a bowl or pot of hot water or in the microwave on low power. 
  • People initially used honey as a culinary sweetener but now recognize it as a healing ingredient in medicinal treatment. For example, honey can help soothe a cough or sore throat and heal burns or cuts on your skin. 
  • Eating local honey, made from bees living in the same area where you live, may help you build up a resistance to pollen, thereby reducing your allergies. However, there is not sufficient evidence for this. 
  • Infants do not yet have any resistance to the bacteria in honey, so keep it out of their diet until they are over one year old. 
  • Honey consists primarily of fructose and other natural sugars and has insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals, so it is wise to limit your honey intake as you do with other sugars. 
  • Honey soaks up moisture rapidly. To make cake and cookies last longer and retain their moistness, substitute half of the sugar in a recipe with honey.

What is Baklava?

Photo by Cagkan Sayin/
  • Baklava (BAHK-luh-vah) is a crispy, flaky, baked dessert made with paper-thin sheets of phyllo dough, spread with melted butter and chopped nuts. Honey syrup is poured over the layers in a large pan as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  • Classic flavors of baklava are nuts, honey, orange, and cloves. Before baking, it may be cut into diamond, rectangle, or triangle shapes.
  • The history of baklava is disputed and includes Greek, Arab, or Central Asian origins. It is familiar to the cuisines of many countries in these regions. The word "baklava" is believed to be borrowed from Turkish, meaning "wrapped" or "piled up."

Let's Learn About Greece!

Photo by NadyaEugene/

Ancient Greece

  • Ancient Greece was a civilization in the northeastern Mediterranean region that existed from about 1100 BCE to 600 CE. Democracy began there in Athens in the 5th century BCE.
  • The first Olympics were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the plains of Olympia. Ancient Olympic sports included running, chariot racing, mule-cart racing, boxing, discus throw, long jump, wrestling, and pankration, a wild cross between wrestling and boxing with no rules except biting and eye-gouging!
  • A few of the well-known figures from this period were: Alexander the Great, who ruled over the whole empire from 336 to 323 BCE; Hippocrates, a physician referred to as the Father of Medicine; Herodotus, called the Father of History, who wrote his "Histories" about the Greco-Persian wars; Socrates, considered the founder of Western Philosophy; Plato, an author and philosopher who founded the first academy of higher learning in the West; Aristotle, a student of Plato's who also founded a school of philosophy; and Thales, a mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece.  

Modern Greece

  • Greece, in Southeast Europe, is officially called the Hellenic Republic. Its government is a unitary parliamentary republic with a president, prime minister, and parliament. The capital and largest city is Athens, and the official language is Greek.
  • Greece declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821 and was recognized as an independent country in 1830. 
  • The size of Greece is about the same as the US state of Alabama but has twice as many people, over 10.5 million. 
  • The country of Greece consists of 6,000 islands, but only 227 are inhabited. Nearly 80 percent of the country is hills and mountains. 
  • About four-fifths of the people live in urban areas in Greece, and almost everyone is literate.
  • Greece has three times the number of annual tourists (about 31 million) as residents. It is one of the most-visited countries.
  • Greece is the third-largest producer of peaches and the fifth-largest producer of olives in the world. 
  • In the past, most Greeks were farmers, and they ate the food that they grew. Since Greece had a mild climate, they could grow many different fruits and vegetables as long as they got enough rain. Vegetables were a considerable part of the Greek diet and still are. Most Greeks eat a Mediterranean diet that includes plenty of olive oil, legumes, fruits, veggies, grains, and fish. They generally consume less dairy and meat.
  • Greek cuisine includes "fasolada" (soup of white beans, olive oil, and veggies), "moussaka" (eggplant or potato dish with ground or minced meat), "souvlaki" (grilled meat on a skewer), and "gyros" (pita bread filled with meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, veggies, and tzatziki sauce). 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Greece?

  • Greek kids have three stages of education: primary school for six years, gymnasium (junior high) for three years, and lyceum (senior high) for three years (this stage is not mandatory).
  • Kids may participate in sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, and handball. 
  • There are many museums and ancient sites to explore in Greece. Families love being outdoors and enjoy hiking and going to the many beaches. 
  • There are several different sweets that Greek children enjoy. These include "pasteli" (sesame seed candy), "bougatsa" and "galaktoboureko" (phyllo pastries filled with semolina custard), and "baklava" (nut-filled phyllo pastry soaked in a honey syrup).

Lettuce Joke Around

What kind of bee can't be understood? 

A mumble bee!

The Yolk's On You

Why couldn’t the teddy bear finish his cupcake?

Because he was stuffed!

The Yolk's On You

I named my dog Cinnamon!

He's a lot of bark!

The Yolk's On You

Why do oranges wear suntan lotion? 

Because they peel.

Lettuce Joke Around

Why do bees have sticky hair?

Because they use a honeycomb!

THYME for a Laugh

Why does a milking stool have only three legs?

Because the cow has the udder!

The Yolk's On You

How did the gardener mend his trousers? 

With a vegetable patch!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the orange stop at the top of the hill?

Because it ran out of juice!

That's Berry Funny

What did mama cow say to baby calf?

It’s pasture bedtime.

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