My 8-year-old loves cooking and is a big fan of ‘Master Chef‘ and ‘Great British Bake Off’. He wanted to experiment baking – so he took out one of my recipe books (from the shelf in our kitchen) and listed down the ingredients that he would need. He then requested us to take him for grocery shopping, so he could buy what he needed to bake a cake of his choice- ‘Blueberry Cake’.
While I was at work, he (with supervision of course) followed the recipe to make this cake. However, to his surprise, the cake didn’t rise and it remained under cooked in the middle. He was a bit upset.
When I came to know about this- I was reminded of an incident when I was a ‘New’ driver. I was a lecturer and I was driving to work one day, and I met with an accident. I had no choice but to drive back home (later) but I was shaken to be honest and I didn’t want to be in the driving seat ever. I still remember the day- my dad was travelling for work and I was on the phone with him telling him how much ‘damage’ I did- and in his calm voice he said- take the car out and drive it again. I resisted and hesitated and he said- if you don’t take it out (again) today itself, your fear will win over you. And this is exactly what he didn’t want to happen.
I know ‘baking a cake’ is not the same, but for me it was some-what related- in the sense that if you fail at something, don’t stop doing it but try again and again- until you become good at it or succeed at it. So, as soon as I came home- I asked my son to come and bake with me- so we can both try the recipe again- with a little tweak as we both knew the one didn’t work for him and also as he had finished all the blueberries. At first, he said- I don’t think it will come out nice and I calmly responded- ‘No worries, if that happens- we will try again’.
Baking a cake sounds like a huge task, but believe me; it can be both, fun and relaxing. We used a a super easy chocolate cake recipe. I used to make it when I was young- recipe of a normal sponge cake with cocoa powder to add the chocolatey taste.
Here’s what we both did:
- 1 bowl Butter (unsalted – the one for baking cakes)
- 1 bowl Self -Raising Flour
- 1 bowl Sugar (I used Caster Sugar)
- 2 Eggs (If the batter is thick, you can add another egg- I tend to use fewer eggs to avoid the smell)
- 3-4 Tablespoons of Milk – to adjust for fewer eggs in case you get less liquid from the eggs. It acts as a substitute to prevent a “dry” cake.
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- Vanilla Essence as Flavouring (Optional)
- Icing Sugar for dusting on the cake (Optional)
- Cocoa Powder- 4 teaspoon (According to taste and the colour)
- We preheated the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- We sifted the flour into a Mixing Bowl.
- We then added the flour, sugar, butter (melted), baking powder and cocoa powder.
- We then added the eggs and using an electric blender, mixed everything together until well combined.
- We then added a little milk and vanilla flavouring to the mixture and mixed again till the mixture was of soft ‘dropping’ consistency and we saw bubbles in the cake mixture which meant that the cake mixture was aerated.
- We then grease and lined the cake tin with butter paper. [Grease it even if you are using a non-stick cake tin]
- We then poured the mixture into the cake tin – we filled up to half the height of the tin.
- Placed the cake tin in the middle shelf of the oven. [Majority of cakes are baked in a regular oven at 180c for 30-40 minutes]. [To check the cake for doneness, my son loved taking a toothpick and inserting it into the centre of the cake. As soon as it came out clean we knew the cake was ready to enjoy. [If it comes out wet, add more baking time.]
- We then just took some icing sugar and dusted it on the cake
- We took out the cake, allowed it to cool completely.
- Once it was cool, we sliced it and enjoyed almost straightaway
My son loved the cake and I could see him get a sense of accomplishment. He was so happy, and I just said to him- “Always remember one thing in life- Failure is a part of success and if ever you fail in anything you do, don’t give up but try again and again until you succeed”. So, essentially- 2 ‘wins’ for me here as a mum:
- He loved my cake and said- “I am awesome at baking”- ha ha (don’t take this literally as I just do basic baking, but complements are always welcome)
- I was able to use this example as a perfect opportunity to teach an important lesson of life to my son in the simplest of way
As parents, we all want to impart not just great values in our kids but also life skills, skills that are essential for living life to the fullest. We don’t necessarily have to teach these values and life skills. Rather, we as parents must seek opportunities in our day to day activities or our kids’ lives to help them understand and appreciate these.
I am sure- many of you do the same- do share your experiences with me. As they say ‘sharing is caring’- share your experiences for us all to learn from them.
Have a lovely evening.
Rads (A Mum of 2)