While it's nice to bake from scratch, using organic ingredients from the farmers markets, in my world the occasional cake mix is ok too! In fact, my kids love them! Most are very child friendly, with pre-measured ingredients and clear instructions. Today I thought I'd share some of our favourite cake mixes and perhaps you'll share some of your favourites too!
Using a cake mix, your child will still have a baking experience, it's all about the fun and the company. They will learn the basic ingredients that go into a cake - often we have to add the eggs, milk, and butter, they will also learn how to quickly and easily make a cake and how to get good and consistent results baking. These are really good skills to have. Using cake mixes can help a child learn or practice following instructions and can promote literacy and a little math, while keeping the work fun!
Cake mixes are perfect when you are short on time, a bit run down or the children want to pick something out from the store (rather than a recipe book). They can also make baking enjoyable if the child (or adult) doesn't have a long attention span or a huge interest in baking. They can also be very budget friendly. One box is often cheaper than a packet of flour, baking powder and sugar.
Yesterday Otis (8yrs) and Otto (20 months) made Funfetti Cupcakes (pictured above). They are one of Otis' all time favourites. I may have peeked over Otis' shoulder to make sure that no egg shells went into the mixture but other than that they made it themselves, including using the oven. It's great to see Otis teaching and guiding Otto. It's definitely messier without my 'help' but it worth it to see them do it together and independently. The Funfetti inside the cupcakes are gorgeous and we've struggled to replicate this with our own recipes.
Caspar (11yrs) just wants a warm afternoon treat fast. He loves the Chocolate Brownie in a Mug. These are fantastic for older kids as they can whip them up really quickly and only make a small amount (1 mug) if needed. I can see these being a nice treat for teenagers, especially during winter. The child uses the brownie mix, butter and milk and it all goes into the microwave.
Our Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookies (UK link) are always eaten in seconds! This cookie mix only requires water and makes only 6-8 cookies. We always have a packet or two in the cupboard. This cookie mix is especially useful for when we don't have any eggs which most other cake mixes need. They are so easy and quick, it's such a nice treat. Otto and I can bake these together and start to finish it's only around 20 minutes with very little clean up. Otto still gets to mix, scoop and make the cookies so it's a very worthy sensory and baking experience and for only a couple of dollars!!
Caspar also makes this family size brownie using the Bakedin Double Chocolate Brownie Kit (UK link). It's a little different to all the other cake mixes. It's more like Hello Fresh but for desserts. All of the ingredients are in separate, pre-measured packets. The child needs to follow the instructions and mix everything together! It even comes with a pan which can be washed and reused. The best part is it is delicious, the right mix of crunchy, soft and gooey. Better than any recipe we've used. Although this one does have a little more packaging I would recommend it for children if you don't usually have all the ingredients at home. It's great for building independence as you can give the entire box to a child perhaps 6-8 years+ and with some supervision (using the oven) they could make it independently with excellent results. The instructions, pictured above, are super easy to follow, you could even keep the instructions and pre-measure your ingredients for next time!
Please share, do you use any cake mixes, if so which are your favourites, do your children use them independently?
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