Most kids develop an interest in cooking because they love sweets and want to make them. Sometimes it’s because Mom isn’t a baker and never brings sweets home from the market. So their only opportunity to eat sweets is to make them themselves!
It’s a place to start, so long as you encourage them, after a reasonable amount of time, to move away from box mixes and other processed foods.
At first, any type of cake will do, but theme cakes occupy them for longer hours and can be a group effort. Theme cakes spark their imaginations and creativity, so why not give them a project to develop a theme cake for a special occasion?
The Cub Scouts have a great time with theme cakes that generally have to do with the outdoors. You can do whatever you want for a theme cake.
Theme or no theme, the cake will be wonderful no matter what it looks like. Encourage kids by accepting the end result. We’ve had cakes with top layers slipping off, lop-sided cakes, cakes with way too much frosting, or weird colors. This isn’t a contest or a cake fashion show. If parents didn’t make it, don’t worry about it!
Here are some ideas:
- For Father’s Day, decorate a cake with buttons, a collar made from slices of the cake cut off the top of the bottom layer to make it flat (and stackable), and a frosting tie.
- For Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, a heart cake mold will produce a great theme cake. If you don’t have a heart mold, you can cut it in the shape of a heart, but things get tricky when applying frosting, so bear with it.
- Summertime theme. For a camping theme, make trees by frosting some ice cream cones in green and turn them upside down on the top of the cake. Stacks of Tootsie Rolls make great logs around the campfire, and a blue waterfall can run over the side.
- 4th of July theme. A flag (of any nation) is easy and fun.
- Gingerbread houses. Every child’s dream, the gingerbread house is lots of fun to make. Michael’s has sets with pre-made gingerbread walls and roofs, etc., or, if you are lucky enough to have (or borrow) gingerbread molds, you can make it all yourself. If you are really into it, you can visit a candy store for gum drops in various shapes and sizes, lemon and lime wedges, M&M’s, etc. It’s a holiday activity that provides loads of fun for kids.
Start with a simple box cake according to the instructions on the box, or, better yet, have your kids help you make it from scratch. Then make lots of frosting (there are often instructions on powdered sugar boxes or try a cream-cheese frosting that we include), separate out gobs into different bowls for different food colors, and let your imagination run wild.