I like baking with my kids, as long as it’s my idea. When I am making a seven-layer cake or some other fancy new dessert recipe for company, however, I prefer to work alone. Of course, it always seems to be at those times that eager faces gather around my kitchen counter, fingers threaten to dip into my mixing bowls, and little ones mouth my measuring spoons.
I recently discovered that an effective way to avoid harassment during “grown-up” baking is to invite them to take part in a kid-friendly cooking project beforehand. And I have further discovered that some recipes lend themselves more easily to kid-baking than others. Don’t ask how I know this, but trust me: don’t try tiramisu and save the meringue-topped strawberry trifle cake for another occasion. Kids are happy to mix, measure, and pour just about anything–even boxed brownie mix will do.
In our house yesterday, we baked a chocolate cake and I was a hero. 5 year old Juliette was head chef and never once did I have to say “Don’t touch!” or “Put that down!” For those of you who aspire to be popular parents (or grandmas, or aunties, or uncles) I share the following simple recipe which I have found to be perfect for baking with kids: You mix it in the pan (less clean-up!), it uses no eggs (you’re welcome, Isabella), and you get yummy results in less than an hour:
Mix in the Pan Double Chocolate Snack Cake
1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
? cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
? tsp. salt
1 tsp. vinegar
? tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
? cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in an ungreased square pan 8 x 8 x 2 inches. Stir in remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Sprinkle chocolate chips over batter.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Makes 9 servings.
*If you are baking with an even larger gang of kids, this recipe can be doubled and baked in a 13 x 9 inch pan.
*If you want to be an even bigger hero, serve this cake warm from the ovenwith ice cream.