My husband and my daughter are two peas in a pod. They both love to tinker with art projects and organize. She’ll make a little cape for Twilight Sparkle, he’ll paint a chair. They’ll stop to switch gears, make a snack and then go back to their projects. Maybe they’ll find a lonely piece of cardboard that begs to be painted.
Most of the time, I’m busy with errands or prepping meals and although I enjoy solo trips to Target and find a few hours in the kitchen to be relaxing, I hoped my daughter would take interest in one of my few creative outlets.
Our creative interest Venn diagrams overlap on Love for Baked Goods and after a few kitchen successes — she loves baking just as much as art projects.
Here’s what worked for me:
Faux baking: In the beginning of her career, I set her up with a series of bowls filled with dried beans. Messes were manageable and she honestly enjoyed pouring ingredients back and fourth.
Mix-in assistant: She graduated from dried beans to adding in the critical, fun ingredients (vanilla, chocolate chips, nuts, berries).
Right-hand man (or lady): Baking isn’t magic and from her perspective, it appeared to be pretty easy. Add in chocolate, wait 20 minutes and enjoy! She had the patience (around four-and-a-half years old) to assist, or even manage each step.
We started out with one of my favorite kids recipes, Yogurt Cake. It’s so easy, delicious and relatively forgiving.
Recipe adapted from Bringing up Bebe*
- 2 six-ounce containers or plain whole-milk yogurt (the author specifically notes to not use reduced fat. I’m such a fan of reducing calories and upping healthier swaps in baking, but for this recipe, full fat just does the trick). Use the empty containers to measure the other ingredients.
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 containers sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Just under 1 container vegetable oil
- 4 containers flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Mix ins (up to 2 containers, optional but really, much more fun)
- Frozen or fresh berries
- Chocolate chips
Kids can tackle steps three through five. It may get a bit messy, but it will be fun and the end product will be worth it!
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Spray a loaf pan or 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray.
- Combine yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil in a large bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; add in mix-ins until they are just combined (don’t overmix).
- Bake for 35 minutes and if it doesn’t pass the knife test – pop it in for a few more until the cake is crispy on the outside and springy on the inside.
- Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then flip onto a cooling rack for a few more (until you finally say “It’s cool enough, let’s have cake!”)
- Slice and enjoy!
*I read this during my second pregnancy and highly recommend for several reasons. It’s more of a novel than a how-to guide about an America woman raising her kids in Paris. Although some things (obviously) don’t translate to the Midwest, I enjoyed the simplistic, smart and sensible topics and stories. It echoed a lot of my personal parenting style and gave me the confidence to continue on the same path with two kids. Worth the read!