Baking with children. Sounds like a lovely idea. We will make some nice, wholesome baked goods. It will be a truly rewarding experience for the kids and for me. Such fun, such fun.
*deep breath in. deep breath out*
I love to bake, I always have – my passion is decorating cakes. One of the things I really looked forward to when I had kids was passing this passion on to them. I mean, I learned to bake and decorate cakes from my mother, so makes sense that my kids would follow suit. I’m sure that I was simply the best student when my mum was teaching me. I bet I never talked back to mum and I most certainly didn’t eat the goodies while we were making them.
Truth be told, my mother may paint a different picture, I realise that now. Nevertheless, I still love baking with the kids. I truly do. Honest. I do. I just do it a little differently to how I would if it were just me. And, if I’m baking something that actually matters (like a cake the adults are likely to eat) then I wait until the dead of the night when the kids are fast, fast asleep before cranking out my Kenwood Mixer.
Choosing what to bake
“Shall we bake this lovely banana loaf?”
“Oh, yes, Mum! I love banana loaf! Oh, bananas!”
“Shall we bake this lovely banana loaf?”
“No! I hate dumb bananas! Lets make this chocolate cake but with lots more chocolate and some icing and lollies Mum can I have some lollies now I want to eat them now lets make cupcakes I want to make cupcakes I like lollies Mum PLEASE”
Gathering the Ingredients
“Dear, can you please help me, we need cocoa .. yes, that’s it. Flour? Thank you, you are such a good helper! And butter? Good girl!”
“Dear, can you please help me, we need cocoa .. yes, that’s it. Please don’t eat it. I know it smells nice but it tastes … I told you not to eat it, please don’t spit. Can you please get me one egg … one egg … ONE EGG … thank you, you are such a good helper. No, we don’t need chocolate chips. No, you don’t need to eat one now. Come on, let’s mix this up”
Mixing it up
“Here is your bowl, Princess. And here is your bowl, BoyChild. One cup of flour for you, one cup of flour for you. And here is the egg, great mixing, guys!”
“Here is your bowl, Princess. And here is your bowl, BoyChild. No, this is your bowl. No, his bowl is the same size. Yes, it is. Here is a cup of flour for you, and a cup of flour for you. And here is the egg … BoyChild, please don’t eat the flour. Here is your mixing spoon. No, his spoon is the same size as yours. Yes, it is. No, you shouldn’t eat the mixture, it’s not very nice. Great mixing, guys!”
Baking the cake
Cake pours perfectly into the cake tin, a la The Food Channel
“Sure, you can lick the bowl. Let’s put this cake into the oven. It’ll be a little while now so shall we play? Great!”
Cake pours half into the tin before my elbow is knocked by a child, sending mixture all over the bench
“Sure, you can lick the bowl. And you can lick the mixer. No, his is the same amount as yours. No, you can’t dip it into the cake tin. Please don’t try to carry the cake tin, I will put it in the oven. Yes, the oven is very hot! It’ll be a little while now so shall we play? A little while. Half an hour. No, not yet. No, not yet. Let’s go play! No, not yet. Come on! No, not yet”.
The Finishing Touches
Icing nicely spread over the cake before being delicately decorated
Icing flopped onto the cake, the floor, my tshirt, my hair, her hair, his face (probably due to sticking his entire head in the bowl). The entire surface area of the cake covered in lollies. As well as in the kids mouths, harvesting the things like squirrels before winter
The End Result
The picture in the recipe book, with two tidy children looking on with polite smiles.
A lumpy mess of chocolate and lollies. A kitchen that looks like it’s been hit by the flour-pocolypse. Two wired children licking their lips like rabid dogs. One exhausted Mumma.
But, you know what? An awesome afternoon spent by all. Baking with children is entirely different to baking alone, but it’s no less fun. In some ways, it’s more fun. Because amongst all the things that seem to go wrong, you get the things that go right – like Princess’s ability to crack an egg single-handed without shell falling into the mix. And BoyChild happily counting the cups and measurements as they go in. And, of course, the pure ecstatic joy of them showing off the cake they made.
If it means I have to set aside my control-freak-in-the-kitchen-ness and be prepared for one heck of a clean up, then so be it – it sure is worth it.
Once a month.