Super Starts Here.

Why I Let Each of My 6 Year-Olds Bake a Cake

A couple weeks ago, I opened my Joy of Cooking cook book and began reading out the names of cakes listed,

“Angel Cake, Sponge Cake, Daffodil Cake, Marble Cake, Coconut Pecan Cake, Italian Cream Cake, Red Velvet Cake…”

“STOP! That’s it!” My daughter Rachel yelled.  We had a winner.

Claire took a little longer, wanting to hear every option.  Some twice.  She landed on Flourless Chocolate Decadence.  After I explained what decadence meant.

This was not a regular activity for us.  We don’t shy away from cake in our house, but we definitely don’t sit down to make two in one weekend.  I had to buy two bags of powdered sugar for the buttercream frosting alone.  That’s a lot of sugar!  But I know that I passed on my sweet tooth to my daughters.  One of them would eat carbs for every meal, every day, until the end of time, if allowed.  Because of this, I know that “off limits” sugar means built up obsession for it.  I experienced it myself as I grew up.  I can still experience it now, if I let it.  But now that I know more, I do better for myself and I want to help them learn that balance is everything.  That even though eating cake at every meals seems like the best option, there are a few (dozen) reasons why it’s not.  I want to explain quickly and away from the table how different foods helps us grow.  I want to show them that cake isn’t an off limits, 2 times a year, evil, delicious confusing mess.  Because at 6, they won’t understand most of that on their own.  (I’m 36 and I still appreciate the guidance!)

So, when we started tuning into the 2nd season of the Food Network Kids Baking Championship, I thought I would take their growing interest in the kitchen to our own competition.  (You may remember from last year that we are big fans).

We had winners across all categories:

  • Biggest mess in the kitchen: Rachel.  She takes no prisoners.
  • Best use of 2 weekend afternoons: Mom.  I loved every second of the sticky experience.
  • Biggest boost in confidence: Claire.  “Mom, I’m the best baker in the world.” (Though, in fairness, she has a pretty healthy confidence level in general)
  • Best cake: Red velvet with cream cheese buttercream frosting.  I was the only fan of the flourless chocolate decadence, but I LOVE dark chocolate.  Even Claire admitted her sister’s cake was better (much to her competitive dismay).

Overall, a huge win for all of us.  We are already talking about what we will make next time.  And this past weekend, buried in snow, both daughters jumped at the chance to help me make everything from pumpkin pecan granola to whole wheat banana muffins.

My husband reassures me that he is happy to be a taste testing judge any day of the week.




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