While I think big and well crafted fondant covered cakes are impressive and beautiful, I don’t think they are a requirement for a child’s birthday. Don’t get me wrong, I have attended the fully-themed-down-to every-detail parties and find them super cute and crafty. I have also noticed that the stress involved in planning these events does not fit in to a “Happy” birthday for my family members. We try to keep it simple and let the theme be “fun times with friends and family”. In the past we have baked cakes, ordered simple cakes from a bakery, or just grabbed a couple of batches of pre-decorated cup cakes at the grocery store. This year my boys baked their own cakes! Here are the reasons we will keep our new tradition:
Practice following directions – building math skills – gaining independence
My newly 6 year old cracked the eggs himself (he is a pro). He helped me measure the water and oil and pour it himself. He was able to read and follow the simple directions on the box.
Feeling of Accomplishment
He was a bit intimidated by the weight of the mixer, but with a bit of my help he was able to feel more confident.
Learning the basics of baking
Pre-heating the oven, greasing the pan, mixing specific ingredients, setting the timer, checking to see when it is done….
Licking the spoon!!!! …and mixer things….. and bowl… and anything else that has batter on it.
Yes we discussed what salmonella was and how we should eat all of the raw egg quickly. (Which is my personal justification for indulging.) Seriously, this is the best part and biggest perk of baking your own cake!
During this whole process I was constantly reminded of doing this when I was a kid and even shared my method of getting every last bit of batter out of the bowl with my finger. The method was well researched as a child and I was happy to pass it on.
I thought of my own mother the entire time and how it was she that taught me these baking skills in my childhood kitchen.
Working with the icing was a new experience. It was not like spreading peanut butter and the idea was to make it look appealing. He added sprinkles and exactly 6 life savers as candle holders.
This was his favorite part.
Sharing with loved ones!
He was proud to present his cake to the people he was about to share it with. They ohhed and ahhed having learned he had made it for them.
My oldest son was going to bake his own cake as well. However, after an all nighter with his Grandma, a full day of fun and hermit crab shopping he returned late in the evening and looking like a zombie. I went ahead and baked his cake after he went to bed and he got to ice, and decorate it the next day before the party. I was disappointed not to share in the experience of baking with him, but he enjoyed his part and the way his cake turned out.