23 Aug 2014
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Easy Baking With a Toddler

Here's a fun and productive way to spend some quality time with the kiddos.

There is something so homey about fruit baked into pies and cakes. 

The pastries remind me of desserts my mom would make, and it’s a nice departure from the usual white or chocolate cake variety. 

I wanted to try a Plum and Vanilla Cake Recipe from Bill Granger’s cookbook self-titled Bill’s Food. 

His cookbook is one I go to often since the recipes are simple and fuss-free. But this time, I decided to get my toddler involved and make a project out of it: a Monday Baking Day. 

I read the recipe out loud and got out all the bowls, measuring utensils and ingredients we would need. 

This cake is relatively simple, with two parts: the cake and the topping.

The topping is just three ingredients that need to be blended together with your fingertips until crumbly. Of course, my son used more like his whole hand. While he worked the crumble, I got the cake ingredients ready for the mixer. 

Use the mixer only to mix the wet ingredients. Once you’re ready to add the flour, fold it in until just combined. Mixing the dough too much will result in a cake that’s too dense — that’s what happened to us.

Once all cake ingredients were combined, we topped the mixture with the plums and then the crumble and waited the agonizing hour while the house was overcome with this delicious sweet smell.

All the while, my son asked me to turn the oven light on and he would periodically run to peek in. 

“I can smell the cake…  Is it ready yet?” he inquired every 15 minutes.   

Once the cake was ready and cooled, we topped it with some sweet vanilla cream that we had whipped up.

I knew the three ingredients that I wanted to use for the cream (heavy cream, vanilla, powdered sugar) and found a recipe online for the correct ratios. 

And although you don’t have to top off with the cream, it really propels the cake from really good to amazing! 

The cake is not overly sweet and the plums (which I purchased at Big Lots for 98 cents/1.5 lbs) were not ripe.  So it gave the cake a little tartness, and the sweetness in the cream balanced everything out.

He loved every bite!

I asked him if he would like to do a baking day every week. “We could bake something different each time,” I told him.

“YES!” his eyes lit up.

When the hubby came home and asked, “What did you play today?”

He said, “I played cooking!”

Be sure to try this recipe and tell us how it turns out.

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