Kids in the Kitchen :: An Anytime Celebration Cake

Kids in the kitchen :: An anytime celebration cake!

Maia loves to cook and has been doing so almost every chance she gets lately. 

She says that when she grows up, she either wants to work in a bakery as a chef, be a sewer, or work in a garden store. Sometimes she adds in artist. I look at that list and see myself—baker, sometimes seamstress, gardener, artist—and am struck anew by the extraordinary influence we have on our children.

If I were a scientist or animal shelter volunteer, would those appear on her list? It makes me think that maybe I should be more careful and strategic about the ways I spend my own time. I doubt I will change too much, but I could be more thoughtful about exposing my kids to new experiences and people.

Kids Baking Cake 03

Anyway… That's all a lead in to Maia's recent cake. She's been cooking a lot these past few months and mostly on her own or with Daphne as sous chef and special taster. At 7 and 3/4 she is very careful, knows how to use the stove and oven, and sometimes even remembers to clean up after herself.

At first it was popovers, pancakes, muffins, baked bananas and other simple recipes from her own cookbook and recipe cards. But lately she's been lobbying to cook something more complicated on her own. Specifically from my big "grown-up" cookbooks.

Earlier this week I got down my doorstop Best Recipe cookbook and Maia spent a good hour going through the dessert section and reading off the recipe names and discussing the merits and ingredients of each. 

Kids Baking Cake 04

She eventually settled on the all-purpose birthday cake with raspberries and almonds. Just for fun (It wasn't anyone's birthday.)

Kids Baking Cake 10

…and baked and decorated it herself (with Daphne as helper/cheerleader). I helped interpret a couple things and chauffered the cooks to the grocery store (twice) but otherwise did my own thing while lovely cake smells starting wafting about the house.

Kids Baking Cake 16

We all declared it was an absolutely delicious cake! Perfect for an anytime celebration.

(Now if I could just get Maia to cook dinner…)

Do your kids like to cook? Do they cook anything on their own?


  • Reply
    gidgets bookworms
    July 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    awesome my girls love to bake with me more so now that I have the Kitchenaid Mixer. I don’t know who was more excited about it being my Christmas gift me or my then 6 year old. I say it was a tie!
    Pastry Chef would be a awesome job! :)

  • Reply
    July 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Tell Maia that I think her cake is BEAUTIFUL! If she had a bakery in Los Angeles, I would definitely buy my birthday cake there!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I treasure the days of my son, when he was just a little nipper, climbing up on a step stool and working/playing right there with me in the kitchen. Donning his own cooking apron and real oven mitts which I made to size gave him the sense of being an official chef. Now I delight in making these aprons and child size oven mitts for other little nippers, boys & girls to begin a love of cooking.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Just came across your blog and have fallen in love with your artful approach to life. I’ll sure be back for more but just wanted to say thanks for filling my head with craft ideas for activities with kids, perfect for summer vacation.

  • Reply
    Lacey Smith
    July 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Love your blog and your post!! My kids are still really small but I love food and cooking so much that I can’t wait to bring them in to the kitchen with me. There is something so beautiful about cooking with your family, especially children! Have you ever heard of a book called “Mofongo” by Cecilia Samartin, If not, you should check it out. I’m reading it right now and it’s such a great book and combines my two loves; cooking and family. I think you’d really like it! Looks like you all had a lot of fun and the cake looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Man thats an awesome job on that cake

  • Reply
    July 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    You are amazing Jean. I’m afraid to let my kiddos use the stove/oven. They do love helping though. Coincidentally, I made your cherry pie for dinner tonight, yum. I think about the influence thing too – my son said he was going to be an engineer when his teacher asked him at school (almost all of my family members are engineers). Our kids are lucky, they are exposed to lots of different things early and often, which shows them many of the possibilities that are out there. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Maia liking the things you like either, she is your girl after all and the things you like are pretty cool. :)

  • Reply
    Liz Rose Bowman
    July 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    love her artful design :D

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:49 am

    That book sounds great, Lacey! I just looked at it, following your link and also on Amazon. I’ll definitely get it when I finish my current book!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Oh! So glad to hear you made the cherry pie, Molly! And that’s interesting to hear about your son saying he was going to be an engineer. It’s something that’s not even on my children’s radar because of their current influences (us).

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Welcome, Shalini!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:51 am

    We don’t have one of those yet, but maybe one of these days… :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Thanks, Maiz!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:53 am


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