Cakes for Kids!
A cookbook review
Joss loves looking through my cookbooks and choosing things for me to make. Most often, my Nerdy Nummies cookbook by Rosanna Pansino. His favorite recipe in this cookbook is for “Perodic Table Cupcakes,”–yes, that is the entire Periodic Table of Elements displayed in cupcake form.
You can guess how many times I’ve caved to his requests that we make this together: Zero.
On a related note, I also recently bought myself “Baking with Kim-Joy” for my birthday. Kim-Joy is probably my overall favorite Great British Baking Show contestant ever, and she is a delight to follow on Instagram as well. She makes adorable animals out of macarons, bread dough, cream puffs, etc., and I love them all! However, I’m not terribly into detail work–or recipes that require more than two components–so it may be awhile before I tackle anything in this fabulous book.
All this to say, I was excited when Betty Casey forwarded me an email from someone, offering to send a hard copy of “Cakes for Kids: 40 Easy Recipes That Will Wow!” in exchange for blogging about it.
Cakes for Kids: The Basics
A quick glance at the preview pictures convinced me that this is exactly the book I need. It provides easy recipes and multiple decorating options–and what’s better, the decorations all look very doable. This is appropriate to the idea that kids should be able to make these recipes, with a bit of adult supervision, of course.
On a side note, my first time shopping Spirit Halloween’s post-Halloween sale did not disappoint! 😉
The author’s note says, “I hope to encourage children to make the cakes of their dreams on their own (with a little help from an adult). I hope they will be happy and proud when they are finished decorating them, and of ocurse, I want them to enjoy tasting their fabulous creations. ALL these recipes were designed to be as simple as possible–not a single stage is complicated, and still, the results are always amazing.”
The beginning of the book provides four easy cake recipes: yogurt cake, chocolate cake, lemon cake and vanilla sponge cake. These are used as the base cakes for most of the recipes in the book. The yogurt, chocolate and lemon cake all use just seven ingredients; and the vanilla sponge cake only uses four! So chances are, you can whip up one of these cakes using staple ingredients you already have on-hand.
The decorated cakes include ideas for each season and holiday, as well as cakes that would be fun at a birthday party. For example, there are instructions for making a Polar Bear cake, a Mother’s Day bouquet, Halloween Graveyard cake, Jungle cake and more.
The Rainbow Roll
I promised Joss that he could choose the first recipe we tried from the book. And of course, he chose the one with the “I’ve Got Time on My Hands! Warning: Masterpiece!” label!
Nevertheless, the “Rainbow Roll” cake starts with a sponge cake base–which, as I mentioned, only requires four ingredients, all of which we had. The filling is simply heavy whipping cream with a little powdered sugar, and thankfully, I had some whipping cream in the fridge. (I’d bought it for Natalie Mikles’ Salted Caramel-Chocolate Pecan Pie, as found in our November 2019 issue. So good!)
So we skipped going to the gym and set out to make a Rainbow Roll.
I’m not very experienced with sponge cakes or rolled cakes. There were several times throughout the process that I doubted whether the cake was even going to be edible when finished. For example, when the cake started sticking to the damp towel we were supposed to use to help roll it into place! I still don’t know if my towel will ever be the same.
It did crack, but we covered that up with extra whipped cream 🙂
The recipe also recommends piping each color of cake batter using a piping bag; however, I didn’t want to use up six piping bags on one recipe, so I just spooned the batter out of the bowls. I was afraid this might mean it looked uneven, but I think it still looked pretty good!
Pikachu waiting for the cake to bake
The completed cake was verrrrry thin, which also worried me. However, looking at the picture in the book reassured me that we weren’t too far off the mark. So I went ahead and filled the cake, and–ta-da! It actually was really delicious!
Even Daniel liked it because it wasn’t too sweet. And the fact that the cake was so thin meant that I didn’t feel too badly about giving Joss a slice of cake before breakfast, ha. It was just a few bites, after all, not a monster of a piece!
Joss had fun helping with the decorations
Check out that swirl!
Lollipop Christmas Trees
Since Christmas is coming, I thought it would be fun to try this recipe for Lollipop Christmas Trees! Especially because it should be easy to replicate this idea even if you don’t have the cookbook. Just bake your favorite chocolate cake or brownies, and frost/decorate accordingly!
I was obligated to eat cake for breakfast Monday morning to make sure the chocolate cake was as good as it looked, and can confirm that it was moist, even a couple days later, and did not disappoint! The chocolate cake recipe the book uses again has you separating eggs and folding in whipped egg whites. A little trickier perhaps, but good practice for aspiring young bakers!
Plus, I love the creativity of serving cake on a popsicle stick that doubles as a tree trunk. So cute!
Wrapping up, I’d say that this would definitely make a fun Christmas gift for a child who’s interested in baking. The cakes are simple but delicious, and the decorations are creative and doable. The book’s publication date is November 12, 2019, which is also the publication date for this blog post! At the time I checked, it was pre-selling on Amazon for $12.50, so it would make a pretty affordable gift as well.
Let me know what your favorite cookbooks for kids are!