The UK is a nation of baking lovers. Millions of us are now tuning in to watch twelve amateur bakers battle it out in a tent in the middle of the English countryside, proving that not only do we love a well-made cake, but that we can also get near hysterical over a baked alaska.
And it turns out we aren’t just watching the fun. The Great British Bake Off is also inspiring us to dust off our mixing bowls and get back into the kitchen. Results from a poll last year found that nearly half of Brits are baking at least once a week. So whether you are a baking novice or professional patissier, grab your aprons and round up the kids – baking is the perfect way to spend some quality time with your little ones.
There may be a little mess to contend with, but it can be both rewarding and educational to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in, working together to whip up a batch of cookies or cakes. Take a look below at why baking with children can be beneficial. Plus, read up on our top tips on kitchen safety, as well as our favourite recipes to make with kids.
Why Bake with Kids?
Help them to learn exactly what goes into their food
Looking at all the individual ingredients that go into recipes can help children understand more about different foods, as well as open discussions about where certain food comes from. Plus,
with home baking you know exactly what’s going into their treats.
Help with their literacy and numeracy skills
Print off recipes – or bring them up on your tablet if you have one – to help get your children reading. Ask them to read out loud to you whilst you work your way through the recipe. Not only will this help with reading and language skills, but following the steps in a recipe can also help your child learn about sequencing.
There are loads of great mathematical skills to be learnt whilst baking too; measuring, reducing, adding, halving, weighing. All these things can help your child build on their mathematical knowledge.
Boost their confidence
Taking a step back until they ask for help can help children to build up their confidence. Having succeeded in a bake and letting their creative juices flow when it comes to decorating are all things that can really make them more comfortable around food.
Learn how to problem solve
If a bake hasn’t quite gone to plan, this can be a great way to work on your child’s problem-solving skills. Having to start again from scratch? This can also help children know that it’s OK if things don’t work out the first time round.
Bake for a good cause
Teach your children the gift of giving by helping them to bake for a bake sale. You could even host your own, raising money for good causes such as BBC’s Children in Need and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Tips for Safe Baking with Children
Before you get started, the kitchen can be an extremely fun place to be for children, but excitement can get the better of them and it can soon become a dangerous place if children aren’t paying full attention to what they are doing. Make sure that some safety rules are put in place before you get baking.
- No running in the kitchen.
- Hands should be washed as soon as you’ve stepped foot in the kitchen.
- Ask an adult when getting out or using any equipment.
- Make sure you clean as you go.
- Use oven gloves when handling hot trays from the oven, pans on the hob or bowls.
- When placing pans on the hob, turn handles away from the front.
- Hair should be tied back.
Recipes to Bake with Kids
Makes around 12 krispy cakes.
- 60g (2 oz) unsalted butter
- 3 tbsps golden syrup
- 1 x 100g bar milk or dark chocolate
- 90g (3 oz) Rice Krispies
- 12 Mini Eggs
How to make them
- Slowly melt the chocolate. You can do this by heating in a microwavable bowl in small bursts in the microwave. Or, you can heat gently using a bain marie.
- Chop the butter into small cubes and add this into the melted chocolate. Stir until all melted
- Stir in the syrup.
- Add the Rice Krispies and stir until all the krispies are covered in the chocolate mix.
- Spoon into 12 cupcake cases and top each one with a mini egg.
- Leave to cool.
- 80g (3oz) self-raising flour
- 300g (10oz) icing sugar
- 40g (1 1/2oz) cocoa powder
- 300g (10oz) dark chocolate
- 180g (6oz) unsalted butter
- 4 tsp golden syrup
- 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract, or essence
- 4 eggs
- 300g (10oz) white chocolate buttons
- 50g (3 1/2oz) sweet popcorn
How to make them
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line your baking tin with nonstick baking paper.
- Sift together the self-raising flour, icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl and put to one side.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwavable bowl, heating slowly in short bursts until completely melted. Chop the butter into cubes and into the chocolate. When all combines stir through the syrup and vanilla extract.
- Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy and pale.
- Once the melted chocolate mixture has cooled slightly. Add the chocolate mixture into the whisked eggs, before slowly folding in the dry ingredients until smooth and combined.
- Fold in the white chocolate buttons and half of the sweet popcorn. Carefully tip the mixture into the lined baking tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven carefully with over gloves and set aside to cool in the tray. When cooled, turn out of the tray and cut into even squares.
- 500g granary, strong, wholemeal or white bread flour
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the flowerpots
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- a little milk or oil, for brushing
How to make them
- Tip the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Pour in 300ml warm water, the olive oil and honey. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture clumps together, then tip out onto a work surface. Use your hands to stretch and knead the dough for about 10 mins, or until it’s smooth and springy. Add a little extra flour if the dough feels too sticky.
- Brush the flowerpots with oil and line the sides with baking parchment. Divide the dough into 5 pieces and shape into smooth balls. Place one ball of dough into each flowerpot and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place for 1 hr to rise.
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. When the dough has doubled in size, remove the cling film from the pots and gently brush with a little milk or oil. Sprinkle with your choice of topping.
- Place the pots on a baking tray in the oven and cook for 20-25 mins until risen and golden. The pots will be very hot, so be careful when removing from the oven. Leave to cool for 10 mins before turning out and eating.
- 500g white bread mix
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 350g icing sugar
- sprinkles (plus food colouring, if you like)
How to make them
- Pulse together the bread mix and sugar in a food processor or table-top mixer. While the motor is running, add the egg and about 250-300ml lukewarm water, until a soft dough is formed. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 5-10 mins. Leave in an oiled bowl, covered with oiled cling film, in a warm place until doubled in size – about 1 hr.
- Knock back the dough by squashing with your fist, and divide into 20 even-sized pieces – keep covered with a clean tea towel so they don’t dry out. Shape each into a sausage and place on an oiled baking tray. Cover with oiled cling film and rise until doubled in size again.
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Remove film and cook buns on top shelf for 8-10 mins, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. To decorate, mix icing sugar with a little water until stiff but spreadable – add food colouring, if you like. Dip in the top of each bun and scatter with sprinkles.
Like to bake? We do too! If you like a sweet treat, but have a gluten intolerance – or you know someone who does – we’ve rounded up the best gluten-free recipes so that no one has to miss out on the cake action! Also, do your know your stuff when it comes to cooking chocolate? We have taken a look into the best chocolate when it comes to cooking and baking here so you can make sure your next chocolatey bake is near perfection!