How to Bake a Birthday Cake + 4 Fun and Easy Ways Kids Can Help Out
A great way to spend more quality time with the children in your life is to get them into the kitchen. Cooking and baking together helps families bond, introduces kids to the food they eat, teaches them to use tools and math, and gets their bodies up and moving. Today is Ludo Lefebvre's birthday (happy birthday, chef!), so in the latest installment of Ludo à la Maison, Lefebvre whips up a birthday cake with the help of his two children Luca and Rêve—twins, who were born, coincidentally, on April 17.
“[We] try not to make the birthday about the presents, but what we did together,” Lefebvre says.
While you might think that kids would get antsy or frustrated in the kitchen, Lefebvre proves that they’ll actually find the baking process exciting and entertaining. In order to help them feel involved, Lefebvre gives Luca and Rêve simple, fun tasks that keep them occupied. Take a page out of Lefebvre's book and give your kids one of these jobs next time you're baking together.
Lefebvre cracks the eggs and adds mascarpone cheese to a ceramic bowl, and hands Luca a whisk. Then, he adds salt and baking soda to a bowl of flour and puts Rêve in charge of mixing those ingredients. While it could potentially make a mess (Lefebvre warns his daughter that the flour should stay inside the bowl), mixing keeps both kids occupied.
Greasing the cake pans
Luca and Rêve are thrilled to get their hands greasy, sliding the soft butter around the cake pans. Kids love messes, so let them get messy.
I know it sounds risky, but under Lefebvre's watchful eye and while using a small knife, the kids cut strawberries up into small pieces. He even encourages them to cut uneven slices. Lefebvre also points out that—even though it stresses him out—cooking with his kids helps them learn safety because of the sharp knives, burners, and the hot oven.
The most fun comes when it’s time to decorate the cake: The kids spread the strawberries between the layers of cake unevenly, then Lefebvre hands them tubs of sprinkles and lets them unleash their creativity. The result is a slightly lopsided cake, covered in green, pink, and purple glitter and rainbow sprinkles. But Lefebvre loves it.
“To express yourself as a family is very cool,” he says. “It was a happy cake.”