Got kids? Need some "fun" time? Then here's the perfect book to help you spend that time with the kids in a fun and foody way.
"Cake Decorating with Kids" is the outcome of 2 moms who love their kids and love their profession and made a rather enjoyable inclusion of both. Jill Collins and Natalie Saville are the co-owners of "The Great Little Cake Company" located in Great Britain. While their talents stretch across the baking field with cakes, wedding cakes, specialty cakes, etc, it was the love of family that brought them to this, their second book. (Their first book from the Bake Me, I'm Yours series is entitled "Whoopie Pies"; great little book!)
The projects range from simple to more intense; you can determine the project based on the age and talent of the children. You'd be surprised what some aspiring little bakers can tackle!
There are ten themes with other various projects within such as cake pops, cupcakes, etc. The dexterity of your wee ones fingers will help you figure out whether they will need some help or whether they can just have a go at it. For an example, there is a cake project where the cake is shaped like an apple and it has an adorable worm sticking out of it; very simple project but loads of fun. Other projects have more elaborate steps but which can be just as much fun for older or advanced baking kids. But to be honest, you would need to be just a tad familiar with the baking kitchen and the skills involved for some of the projects such as working with fondant, cutting out shapes with cutters, making cake pops----nothing requiring a degree mind you, but just being comfortable with some of the mediums out there. Otherwise, there are plenty of simpler projects for even first-time folks that will slowly get everyone to the next level. The weights and measures, as well as baking times, are given in both American and Metric versions. They have supplied plenty of photography to make the steps easy to follow, especially if you are a visual person who appreciates that type of instruction.
They begin the book with Introductory Sections that may sound too simple but are necessary, especially if you want to teach the children the basics of tools, equipment, recipes for the cakes and cookies and cupcakes and how to follow them, plus toppings and flavorings, cake size and amount determinations. But for me the best was the "Safety in the Kitchen". Kids get excited and want to just start working but if you are starting the project from scratch, this would be a great time to teach them the do's and dont's of kitchen safety.
As an aside, you will probably be having to repeat yourself a thousand times not to stick the frosting bag in their mouths; I make sure that each child has their own set of bags (I know....it makes for more work but lets be honest here). And one more thing........try to have them wear aprons otherwise you will need to hose them down after.
The projects are:
FAMILY CELEBRATION Cake and cakepops and balloon cookies are great party food; how you can take a simple cake and turn it into a real piece of art is all explained. For this cake, I really appreciated the simple but wow effect of making patterns in fondant so that your cake really pops! (They took white fondant and layed various cut strips of black then lightly rolled them into the white fondant; place that on the cake and watch the smiles on the kids faces!
WHITE CHRISTMAS This was probably my favorite. They teach you how to create gorgeous white swans which "swim" in a pond in front of white Christmas trees that are set in the background. So very, very pretty along with the other treats.
EASTER SUNDAY An extremely simple cake shape with enough required work that your kids will probably all be able to take turns piping the "feathers" on this adorable chick without arguing. Cookies and cupcakes finish the theme with alot of pastel prettiness!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN Now this would probably be a more "grown up" of projects for the older kids. Ghosts and goblins, eyeballs and skulls will surely keep things busy and fun as they will try to gross each other out.
PICNIC PARTY Here's where little fingers will have a fine time making little food for the Bear family picnic. Shaping the bears and the tiny food for the bear picnic, plus cookies and whoopie pies, will make for a grand time.
MOTHERS DAY DELIGHT Wow! What a pretty gift this will be for any blessed Mom or Grandmom! The cover photo of a cake with delicate butterflies (that are so easy to make!) plus flower cookies and cupcakes will make any special mom smile!
GIFTS for TEACHERS This was soooo cute! You won't mind the worm you find in this adorable apple-shaped cake! Edible "pencils" and candy apple red cake pops finish out the fun.
SUMMER FAIR An easy cake and simple treats make for a festive party.
RAINY DAY FUN This would definitely be a rainy day project, but any day would be fun to bring together the abstract swirls and splatters in this palette of bright and happy colors to any cake or cupcakes. But the best part is the colorful surprise inside the cake!
BE MY VALENTINE What a great way to get the whole family involved in loving Valentine treats and goodies that have chocolate all over them! I think the cake that is surrounded by chocolate swirls pieces (cigarellos) was one of the prettiest parts. And you need not just go with regular chocolate; you could easily substitute this with white chocolate. What a combination of red and white and wow!
They finish the book with a couple more sections that delve into the more detailed aspects of cake construction, assembling, carving, dowelling, piping, flooding, figure modelling, etc. This was a righteous chapter in and of itself and is a great primer for the first time decorator, in particular for the adult. You're given an extra lesson in the basics of cake decorating and you will really appreciate the way they show you.
The end of the book gives you suppliers who can be found in the UK, Australia, and the US. Templates are also included.
I thought this was a fun book that any adult would enjoy with children of just about any age. I always tell the kids that they best part of any project is that you get to eat your mistakes and for some reason, they love to get involved. Thanks Jill and Natalie!!