Almost every day my youngest daughter asks if she can bake something. The funny thing is she’s not much of a sweets eater so it’s not just because she wants to eat something sweet. She just truly enjoys baking and making something for everyone to enjoy. Of course we don’t bake every day but I do want to encourage her in her service towards our family so we bake several times a week. We recently received a review copy of Kid Chef Bakes and have been making some of those recipes while we go through the lessons in the book.
I’ll have a full review of the book at the end of the post, but just in case you’re wondering….it’s fantastic. The author, Lisa Huff, said we could share one of the recipes and we chose to make the Lemon Loaf Cake. We love lemon in our family and I just happened to still have some lemon juice and zest in the freezer from last year’s harvest.
We had a friend visiting the day we made the lemon loaf cake and the girls had fun taking turns measuring, mixing, and pouring. By the way, we don’t *normally* cook in our bathrobes but it was chilly that day and Esther wore her bathrobe over her regular clothes all day. Apparently she does this often because I didn’t even notice until I was editing the photos…lol.
One of the things I really like about the recipes in this book is that they call for real food ingredients. So instead of using spray oil to oil the pan, the recipe calls for oiling with butter and dusting with flour. The old fashioned way. The girls had fun trying to get all the edges of the pan covered with flour without getting it all over the floor.
The book talks about proper measuring and so we used a liquid measuring cup instead of a dry measuring cup like I usually do.
I take a few “shortcuts” when I bake; for instance, I rarely mix dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another, even though I know if makes a better cake. However, I still think it’s important for my kids to learn to do this and if they decide to do shortcuts when they’re older they can.
We always crack eggs in a separate bowl. It’s much easier to get egg shells out of a bowl with just one egg in it instead of a bowl with lots of ingredients in it. And let’s be honest, even the best egg crackers can get bits of egg shell in the bowl from time to time.
We used the stand mixer to combine the wet and dry ingredients.
It baked for about 45 minutes and we probably should have checked it a few minutes sooner. However, no one complained.
Once the cake was cooled we made a simple lemon icing to drizzle on it. My family isn’t super fond of most icings because they’re so sweet and thick, but this one is thinner and not super sweet.
The girls drizzled the cake with the icing until it covered the entire cake. And it was enjoyed by all!
- Butter, for greasing the pan
- Flour, for dusting the pan
- ⅓ cup milk (2 percent or whole)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F.
Grease and lightly flour a loaf pan.
Make the sour milk – In a small bowl, add ⅓ cup of milk and 2 table-spoons of lemon juice, and stir to combine. Let sit about 10 minutes.
Mix the dry ingredients – In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cream the butter and sugar – In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 10 seconds, or until smooth. Beat in the granulated sugar until well blended and light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg is added. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest.
Combine all ingredients – Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low after each addition, until the batter is just combined.
Bake the cake – Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool slightly, then remove the cake from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Kid Chef Bakes review
Kid Chef Bakes is a cookbook for kids who really want to learn to bake. It’s more than a recipe book and it has lessons on things like using the right tools and safety, measuring dry and liquid ingredients, and separating eggs. There are over 75 recipes, both sweet and savory, with many photos. Not all recipes have a photo but most do.
The publisher recommends this book for 8-12 year olds and I agree with that recommendation. However, this isn’t a book you could just give an 8 year old and let her loose. Even those who read well. Personally, I think this is a book that would be best used side by side with a parent. Working along side our children gives us fabulous opportunities to connect with them and to help them until they’re capable of working without supervision.
One thing I really appreciate about this book is that it has real food ingredients. Most children “cookbooks” I’ve looked at are really just assembling premade ingredients into something new. This book has actual recipes made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
We’ve made several of the recipes, the lemon loaf cake and the blueberry muffin tops, and found that they were easy to follow and well written. There’s a lot of diversity in the recipes, there are sweets, but there’s also breads, and main dishes such as pizza and pot pie.
If you have a budding kid chef, or maybe you need a nudge to bake from scratch, then this book is for you.