Do your kids like to help you in the kitchen? Do they like to cook and bake and make a mess right along side you? I have four grandkids, and they all like to help in the kitchen. Their mommies (our daughters) grew up in our bakery and catering business. For years, this was all that they knew. In a way, they were born into it - it's in their blood! As a side note, our two sons also stayed in foodservice after they left the nest! So, it really is a family thing!
It was inevitable that when our daughters grew up and had kids of their own, they too, would live, breathe and dream about frosted cupcakes in a yummy, fun-filled kitchen. Our grandkids really had no choice but to love their parents' culinary talents. What kid wouldn't love a house filled with good things coming out of the oven? But it doesn't stop there. The kids actually love to create their own dishes and strange concoctions. We would never think to eat some of it put before us, but we pretend to take a nibble, say "mmmm, good", then spit it out in a napkin when they weren't looking!
They also love to "play bakery", and have menus made up ahead of time with special offerings that not only leave me speechless, but queasy as well! At the age of 5, our son used to come along to the bakery with us between his daycare and pastry chef gig. He would put on an apron that was 5 times too big for him, and we must have tied it around his waist 4 times and hike it up over his chest. He'd have to stand on a 5 gallon bucket just to see over the counter. But he loved to mimic us - that 's what kids do - and "play bakery". One day in particular, he was at his usual perch on the bucket with his snow boots on, when all of a sudden we heard a yell and a squeal. The lid wasn't on securely, and his weight had shifted to one side, caving in the lid sideways. We rushed to find him standing knee deep in a brand new, full 5 gallon bucket of eclair filling!
It's been a while since we had little ones around, but when we go visit, they always ask Opa to make cookies with them, or Nana to help them decorate cupcakes. When our kids were young, we had very little in the way of resources or cookbooks for them. Not that we needed cookbooks for kids, but it would have been fun for them to have their own baking books and recipe journals.
Times have changed, and today's kids have plenty of cookbook choices available to them. They make great gifts for grandparents that want to cook and bake along with them. You can even buy a decorating set with bags, tips, a spatula, sprinkles and icing colors to go with the book. Wrap it all up with a baking sheet and kid-sized apron and you've got the perfect gift for the little baker in your family! My granddaughter picked out these cute Wilton Silly Feet silicone cupcake liners for me one day. They're the most adorable things! When it came time to actually give them to me, she protested. She wanted to keep them for herself!
Here's a list of my favorite kid-friendly cupcake cookbooks on the book store shelves today - for the new generation of up-and-coming bakers and cake decorators in your life!
Super-Duper Cupcakes: Kids' Creations from the Cupcake Caboose by Elaine Cohen
This 96 page cupcake book is geared towards kids ages 9-12. They are super-cute and very colorful. Become a "Cupcake Artist" with the easy recipes and super-duper designs!
Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella
A total how-to cupcake book with great photos, plenty of recipes for cake and frostings, decorating tips and loads of ideas for kids and adults. From kids birthday parties to elegant dinner parties, you're sure to find this book is just what you're looking for!
Confetti Cakes for Kids by Elisa Strauss and Christie Matheson
Not technically a cupcake book, this is the craziest looking book of them all! It has cake and frosting recipes, mini cakes, cupcakes, brownies and more to decorate. Some of the techniques may be over a young child's head, but with supervision from Nana & Opa, they should be able to complete something they feel good about. If anything, it's a great picture book full of fun and colorful creations that even a non-reader will enjoy!
Hello, Cupcake! by Alan Richardson and Karen Tack
This cupcake book is full of playful designs and fun ideas for cupcakes that look like spaghetti and meatballs, TV dinners, penguins, panda and Westies! Hello, Cupcake makes these cupcakes adorable readily available candy store finds like; candy, gum, licorice, twizzlers, jelly beans, sprinkles and smarties just to name a few. Highly Recommended!