Over the past few weeks, Pip and I have enjoyed lots of creative activities together – painting, book making and drawing – to name a few. This week I wanted to try something different. The first idea that sprung to mind was to bake a cake. I wondered if I was mad to try baking cakes with a two year old, baking with a toddler could lead to all sorts of drama! But after some mulling over I concluded that I wasn’t aiming for a cake worthy of winning Bake Off, a simple recipe was all we needed.
I decided on chocolate rice crispy cakes – minimal ingredients, no oven cooking required – perfect! I had also made these with young children before, a whole class of 4-5 year olds in fact. I was confident I could manage this.
I knew I needed to be organised, so I prepared all the ingredients while Pip was having her afternoon nap. I placed a small table in the middle of the kitchen for us to make the cakes on, which was a good height for Pip. I even lined my cake trays with the cupcake cases, everything was set up, laid out and good to go.
The good thing about chocolate rice crispy cakes, is that young children can be involved in most of the steps. The only stage that Pip couldn’t really help with, was the melting of the butter and golden syrup at the beginning, however, we used the microwave and it didn’t take long.
Once all the ingredients were in the big bowl, she was able to enjoy mixing it all up with a big wooden spoon. She then spooned the mixture carefully into the cupcake cases and then decorated them with mini marshmallows at the end. I was surprised she didn’t attempt to eat much of it, she was very focused on the task, a few mini marshmallows were all that went missing (I may have been guilty of one or two of those).
It’s great to introduce children to cooking at an early age as it gets them interested in a range of different foods and helps them to learn new skills. It’s also great for their language as you can name all of the ingredients and tools and describe what you’re doing throughout.
You can choose a recipe that is suitable for the age of your child, but if you’re baking with a two year old, I think mixing, spooning and decorating are perfect tasks to introduce them to cake making. You can move on to more advanced recipes as they grow and develop.
You can find the recipe I used for my chocolate rice crispy cakes on the BBC Good Food website. We used all milk chocolate in ours and didn’t drizzle chocolate over the cakes at the end, we just decorated them with our marshmallows.
Ensuring the safety of your child when baking is obviously the most important factor, but below are some other tips for cooking with a two year old.
- Prepare all the ingredients and tools in advance
- Line your cakes tins
- Ensure you have a suitable table or surface for your children to work on
- Have a separate activity (such as drawing or colouring) nearby, that they can do in between different stages of the recipe if needed
- A mini apron would be useful, or just be prepared for a potential change of clothes
- Choose a recipe that they can get involved in, if it’s too complicated and you end up doing all the work, then it’s no fun for them
My first experience of baking cakes with a two year old was really positive. Pip really enjoyed the making and decorating, but it was also lovely to see her enjoy one of her own cakes for pudding at dinner time.
I’m considering trying flapjacks next, as there are some simple flapjack recipes that I think would be great for toddlers. If you can recommend any other cakes that are good to make with a two year old, please leave a comment below.