We love books and we love eating in our house so we were very excited to open Cathryn Dresser’s new book full of recipes to bake with your children. Or any children you might be able to borrow to give you an excuse to delve into this wonderful book and get baking!
It’s a beautifully illustrated book full of delicious recipes organised by season. It’s look and content feel grown-up enough to not be irritating, yet simple enough for children to appreciate. Interestingly after a good look though the book my apron-hating child decided that Baking Had To Be Done Properly and for the first time in his life donned an apron! Then after some deliberation we decided to get down to business and try one simple recipe and one more complicated recipe.
Let's Bake by Cathryn Dresser is out on 22nd May from Orion Children's Books.
Number one was "Egg Soldiers". I found the instructions clear and easy to follow. It’s great to have a picture of each stage as that helped my non-reading boy to follow the recipe, although it might have been good to have the pictures numbered with the corresponding written step. I hadn’t realised the full implications of letting a preschooler crack eggs but it provided much enjoyment as well as mess. The baby found the whole thing quite entertaining. The end result was a yummy breakfast with an egg yolk that was pleasingly dippy. It did take us ten minutes preparation, rather than the suggested five, but we did have a baby in tow. The best bit about this was that having let our preschooler look through the book, choose what to cook and then help cook it he was more than happy to try a new breakfast, whereas usually he would be quite suspicious.
For the more complicated recipe we roped in extra support from Grandma. This was a good idea as it took us 48 minutes to do the bake and then 23 minutes to do the icing and decorate. I’m not quite sure how one is possible meant to do it all in 25 minutes preparation, especially when children like to take their time over things. Plus, accidents are almost certain to happen - cocca powder ended up everywhere after being mixed a little too enthusiastically resulting in a full change of clothes and wipe down of the floor. Therefore I would use the preparation times as an optimistic guideline but add in some extra time to avoid having to rush.
Following the recipe was easy enough, good to have the pictures to compare our cakes consistency to (the bake was surprisingly runny compared to other chocolate cakes I’ve made) and it was useful to know how long the cake would then keep for as we we’re going to use it as a birthday cake. Another big plus about this book is having two lists for each recipe - an ingredients list and an equipment list so you can collect everything you need before you start and helps prevent mid-bake emergencies. The finished result was pretty yummy. Not sickly sweet but a proper indulgent, dark chocolate cake. I would recommend a small serving of vanilla ice cream alongside it.
Most importantly we had done what Cathryn suggested - started baking with our family. We all enjoyed reading her book and planning our baking and I am keen to try out other recipes in the book.