I can't say that we are 'perfect' bakers, but one of my triplets has taken an interest in cooking and in particular, baking cakes. Once we let him loose on the iPad, he immediately figured out how to access YouTube. Naturally we were concerned about what he might want to watch, but not to fear. We supervise his every move, and lo and behold - he began to obsessively watch, scratch that, study, Betty Crocker cake making videos on the Howdini channel. After re-watching the fire truck cake video for the gazillionth time, he looked up at me and said, "Mom, we have to make this cake". Who was I to refuse?
Off to the supply store we went the next week, combing aisles of baking molds, frosting and decorative things I never even knew existed, until we had what we needed. But wait, that glosses over my astonishment at how much he absorbed on those videos. As we cruised down aisle four at Michael's, my son earnestly looked at me and said, "Mom, we need three nine-inch baking pans, a pastry bag and an offset spatula so we can do the crumb coat right". Huh?? I looked around to see if anyone else had heard that. No one in sight. Wow, ok. He's serious about this.
I began to study the videos myself, and it didn't seem too tough, so we started baking. In case you are wondering how I managed to make time to bake a specialty cake with triplets, I didn't. only one child was involved. I rotate the kids in school so they each get a day with me and I only have to manage one or two of them most of the time. So on this kiddo's day, we broke out the aprons, mixing bowls and child size wisks, and here is what we got.
If you watch the video, Liv and Lori produce a far better final result than we did. But my little guy was so ecstatic that he could make and touch his very own fire truck cake, he started talking to Liv and Lori to tell them all about it. he has almost no sweet tooth and therefore had zero interest in eating the cake, but he did think it would just stay in out fridge indefinitely. After it went mostly uneaten for a few days, I had to tell him it went out to rescue people and go back to the station.
That's when he asked me about the next cake we would make. Hmm, again? Ok. Which one do you want to make? "A train cake Mommy!" This one I did make with all three kids. Here it is:
I felt better about the aesthetics of this one, and started hopping back and forth from foot to foot (a la Rocky gearing up for a boxing match), thinking about how much better the next one would be! I rubbed my hands together in anticipation and the kids got so fired up that we invited some friends to join us in baking. This time around we concocted a dinosaur, and did it with FIVE kids. Yikes! Triplets and a set of twins. And two moms of course.
These cakes were so much fun to make, and are not as difficult as they might look. It was daunting at first, but the learning curve wasn't too bad. It's a great summer activity to do when it's too hot to go outside, you can be as creative as you want, and you get something yummy at the end!
Tips for baking with small children:
· Get small baking utensils and bowls
· Divide the ingredients into separate cups so each child has an opportunity to pour, stir, frost, etc.
· Let them lick the beaters/spatulas!
· Plan ahead to have an activity to do while the cake is cooking and cooling (verrrry tough to wait once they know the work is done)
· Give them very simple instructions each step of they way
· Enjoy the completed treats!