Birthday cake in a box – the ‘Doing is Learning’ gift

Cake ingredientsHow about a birthday gift that turns into a fun learning activity? This homemade gift introduces a child to the joys of cooking and self-reliance and is especially good for someone you think has too much “stuff”, or has everything done for them and is never asked to challenge their life-skills. (It’s also a nice gift to give a family in need).

You will have to give your time as well, so allocate an hour to hang around the kitchen making sure the child doesn’t get hurt.

Birthday Cake in a box

Collect together these items to bake and frost this very easy to prepare cake. Include candles or other decorations, a 9”x13” cake tin, an inexpensive mixing bowl, and a small wooden spoon. Pre-measure the ingredients and put into small jars or containers (if you’re arty, decorate them) and wrap them up in small parcels. If you have more than one child to treat, measure out the ingredients and store for later. Decorate the box so it looks like a special gift (it can be reused for toy storage later).

Dry ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

11/2cups white sugar

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

11/2 cups shortening/margarine/butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (add to milk to transport)

1 cup milk

3 eggs (Be careful! And remember, knowing how to crack an egg is the first step to a whole world of culinary expertise. Kids love to do it.)

Tub of frosting.

You will need a beater. Kids like using the electric ones, you may want to show them the hard way with a handheld.

What to do

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour pan.

Cream sugar and fat until fluffy. Adding eggs one at a time beat thoroughly. Add milk and vanilla extract. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Pour batter into pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Top of cake will be starting to turn light brown and a toothpick poked in the cake will come out clean.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes and go mad with frosting and candles. Don’t forget to lick the spoon when you’re through. Makes 24 servings of frosted yellow cake.


Tiny SquirrelThe Squirrel says: The 15 minutes cool-down period is a good time to introduce children to the concept of clearing up after themselves. Let them clean the utensils they used, in the sink.