A Bake Up!-call: Involving Children in Traditional Carrot Cake Making

She said: “My daddy was right!” About what? – I asked. “That you would not need recipes! That you are the best maker!” I smiled thinking “Baker…”, she then quickly added: ” I want to be a best maker!” And truly: she indeed is…Then he said: “I want to make carrot cake too. But I don’t want to have the carrots.” But truly: he sure did…

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A boy and a girl, who bake…Two breathtakingly gorgeous, happy children who I nurtured to bake right from their early abilities have taught me a book worth of life advice whilst making cake: a good teacher is the one who is willing to make herself progressively unnecessary…The two cherubs were, once again, my little angels for a couple of days, but certainly not as tots anymore, rather being very able youngsters, full of memories, knowledge and future plans. At the age of six and seven years, without  adult intervention, they measured, mixed and baked the most perfectly charming traditional carrot cake  that proves how far an adult’s love for children can really go.

“Accept the children the way we accept trees—with gratitude, because they are a blessing—but do not have expectations or desires. You don’t expect trees to change, you love them as they are.”  Isabel Allende

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Teaching children different techniques of cooking is an investment into the present and future of all. It is joy, fun, achievement, love, laugh, challenge, it is trial, it is error, it is individual creativity yet structure. Baking provides a place for independence with additional understanding of truth and beauty. The idea of baking and cooking without assistance connects with the deep yearning that children have for more freedom and responsibility. Baking is an activity that hosts true love of learning. As its name suggests, the love of learning phase is about falling deeply in love with learning – with true learning which excites children as people rather than pupils. They learn adult skills, with what  they are paving the way towards their more formal learning in the future–but in a way that still inspires, motivates and connects their inner self,  the confident child-mind.

“Research consistently shows that integrating nutrition and food education into the larger curriculum and providing children with hands-on cooking experiences changes what they are willing to eat.”  Toni Liquori,  Journal of Nutrition Education

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Ingredients
250 ml vegetable oil or 225 g butter
225 g light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 big carrots, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225 g self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoon mixed spice
A pinch of salt

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“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” Albert Einstein

Preparation
Heat the oven to 190°c. Place the sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla into a bowl. Whisk them together so there are no lumps of sugar and it turns creamy. Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder and spices into another bowl and using a dry whisk, mix them together. Peel the carrots and then grate them. Pour the egg, oil and sugar mixture into the dry ingredients and then mix them together so there are no lumps. Then stir in the carrot. If butter is used beat butter and sugar together, then add eggs with a spoonful of the dry mixture between each addition. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich cake tins or one bigger tin with greaseproof paper. Pour the cake batter evenly into both the tins. Put the tins into the middle part of the oven and bake them for 35-45 minutes so they feel firm when touched on top and do not wobble in the middle. Remove the cakes from the tins and cool them on a wire rack until they have reached room temperature.
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“The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.”  ― Stephen Kendrick

6 thoughts on “A Bake Up!-call: Involving Children in Traditional Carrot Cake Making

  1. Such a great post and great writing! You have a great gift of not only baking, but sharing such great “works of art” with us! Carrot cake is also one of my favorites…so this post too will go into the file. Cheers!

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