Make The Stuff Your Kids Love

Do you have a question about cooking or planning meals for your family? Chef Mom is here to help! Ask her your question, and she will offer you her time-tested, mom-smart advice.
The question:
Dear Chef Mom: My daughter got an Easy Bake Oven for her birthday, and wants to bake something new every weekend. But the mixes are incredibly expensive -- about $3 per cake! Is there some way to make mixes at home?

Chef Mom says:
The Easy-Bake Oven was introduced by Kenner in 1963, and more than half a million of these toys were sold in its first year on the market! By 1998, more than 16 million Easy-Bake Ovens had been sold -- and more than 100 million mix sets have been used.

Since the price of those mixes is so high for what you get, they are not such a good value to parents and kids! You can, however, make your own mixes at home. Start with these:

2-1/2 Tablespoons sugar 2-1/2 Tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon oil 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 teaspoons chocolate syrup Blend all ingredients until the batter is smooth. Pour batter into greased and floured toy cake pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Let cool, and then cut into pie-shaped wedges or squares.

Quick Cake
3 tablespoons cake mix (Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, Jiffy)
1-1/4 Tablespoons water

Blend cake mix and 1 tablespoon water - make sure not to add too much water. You want a traditional cake batter consistency. Pour batter into greased and floured toy cake pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Want more? Amanda Formaro of The Family Corner offers us the two recipes below, and you can find several more on her site here.

Chocolate Cake
6 teaspoons flour
4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon shortening
1 Pinch salt
6 teaspoons milk

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, shortening and salt. Add milk. Pour into greased baking pan that comes with the toy oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Note: For a vanilla (yellow) cake, omit the cocoa and add a drop or two of vanilla with the milk. Makes 1 serving.

Peanut Butter Fudge
1 cup powdered sugar
5 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons cocoa
6 teaspoons peanut butter

Mix sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, and cocoa until smooth. Grease two baking pans with butter. Spoon mix into pans about 1/4" deep. Spread 3 teaspoons peanut butter over mix. Spoon another layer 1/4" thick over peanut butter. Bake each pan about 5 minutes. Let cool. (For quicker cooling, place in refrigerator 5 minutes.) Makes 5 servings.

A few more notes
Just like their costly commercial counterparts, these mixes above don't include one of the most typical leavening ingredients: egg. While that's great for kids -- because the batter is then safe to eat -- the end result isn't usually as tasty as a full-sized (read: normal) cake would be. But since when has making cakes in a toy oven been about taste? As a rule of thumb, you need about 1/3 of a cup of mix for each cake.

A thought from Chef Mom: Be sure to wash and dry the cake pans after use -- I have heard that they can rust. But if you need new pans or any other Easy Bake accessories, Hasbro has an order form online -- click here.

I hope your daughter enjoys these recipes!

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