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Baking with kids: easy recipes and tips

Baking with kids is a great way to keep kids entertained, and educate them on life skills and science - as well as have quality time as a family. To make the process as easy and stress-free as possible, here are Mumsnet users' top tips and simple bakes.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Mar 20, 2023

What you need to know when baking with kids

I'm a terrible baker so used Betty Crocker mixes with my own DCs. They're 14 and 18 now and on the occasional boring rainy day will ask to bake cakes so it must bring back happy memories for them.

"It's a great way to get across basic scientific concepts. I normally compromise by letting them watch and lick the spoon afterwards."

"My two-year-old likes rolling out cookie dough and cutting out the shapes, just like Play-Doh except you can eat it when you're finished!"

"Cooking with children is a sensory experience for them and can be joyful and educational. Hang the rules, get messy, enjoy each stage of the experience with them, and eat the spoils."

"It's worth getting electronic scales so that you are the one pouring ingredients while they have to check the numbers and tell you when you have enough."

"Baking helps them develop their language (reading a recipe), maths (weighing/measuring, adding, temp scales, time) and science. As well as health and safety. BUT, they have to be at the age to be ready to do those things."

"You need extra small bakeware (you can get baking sets for kids) so you can let the kids have more free rein."

The education bit

In addition to bonding time, baking also gives you a chance to teach your kids some basic maths and food science. If you're not quite sure yourself, we've whittled it down to the essentials:

  • Count the eggs and spoons of oil
  • Measure out the portions
  • Flour gives structure to the bake and combines with water to forms a new protein: gluten
  • Sugar carries air bubbles into the mixture to make it tender and moist
  • Fat (butter/egg yolks/coconut oil) coats the gluten and makes the cake more fluffy
  • Leavening agents (baking powder/bicarbonate of soda) form CO2, which is held by the fat and gluten, making the mixture rise

9 easy bakes to do with kids

1. Ice cream cone cakes

What you need

  • 1 pack Betty Crocker™ Velvety Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 90ml vegetable oil
  • 180ml water
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 24 flat-bottom ice cream cones
  • 1 tub Betty Crocker™ Vanilla Icing
  • Sprinkles to decorate

With the warm weather upon us, what better way to celebrate with ice cream cone (cakes)? These beauties have no risk of melting all over the floor/garden/sofa and are sure to delight children, as well as getting you in the summery mood.

2. Oat bars

Oat bars

What you need

  • Cup of flour
  • Cup of oats
  • Half a cup of cut-up dried fruit
  • 125g soft butter or spread
  • Splash of water or milk

What to do

  • Mix it all together so it's sticky
  • Spread on small baking tray and bake at 160°C for 20 min or so
  • Cut into squares when still warm
3. Chocolate mug cake

Want a quick and easy dessert? This chocolate mug cake is ready in five minutes.

What you need

  • 30g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to do

  • Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a microwave-safe mug; stir in milk, oil, water and vanilla extract.
  • Cook in the microwave until cake is done in the middle, about 1 minute 45 seconds.

4. Easy triple chocolate chip cookies

What you need

  • 1 box Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
  • 65ml vegetable oil (around 4 tablespoons)
  • 20ml water (around 1½ tablespoons)
  • 90g dark chocolate chips
  • 90g white chocolate chips

Choc chip cookies are very easy to make and are always a crowd-pleaser – especially with triple the chocolatey goodness. Just try not to eat all the dough before you bake them…

“I've tried countless cookie recipes. None of them has ever matched up to the amazingness of Betty Crocker cookies!”

5. Raspberry thumbprint buns

A big hit on Mumsnet, these raspberry thumbprint buns are fun to make and look pretty cute. And if raspberries aren't your thing, try any other type of jam.

“I made these but they'd all gone by tea time! Need to do a double batch next time”

6. Never-fail cupcakes

Cupcakes are arguably one of the easiest bakes, but you certainly wouldn't be blamed for producing paper cases filled with burnt/soggy/[insert problem here] lumps. Luckily, with these 'never-fail' cupcakes, you and the kids will be feasting on treats as light as fairies. Just don't tell anyone the secret ingredient (psst, it's custard powder).

“These cupcakes are gorgeous, I added the custard powder with the flour, sieved them both together.”

7. Brownie pops

What you need

  • 1 box Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
  • Oil, water and egg for the mix
  • 175g dark or milk chocolate broken into pieces
  • 100g white chocolate broken into pieces
  • 100s and 1000s
  • Dried fruit pieces finely chopped (apricots or cranberries)
  • Pistachios, finely chopped
  • Chopped toasted mixed nuts
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Lollipop or wooden craft sticks

Make brownies even more fun (and easy) and save the creativity for the decoration: simply add a stick, dip in chocolate and decorate.

“Betty Crocker's brownie mix is the best I've ever had. The ones I make from scratch are never anywhere near as good (and I bake a lot!)”

8. Cheesy vegetable muffins

A great way to sneak veg into food (maybe while they're getting their apron on), these savoury muffins are the perfect snack.

“Tried these this evening and they're excellent. My scales are broken so I ended up guessing with the flour but they've turned out great. My nine-month-old gnawed on one after tea and he loved it.”

9. Edible flower decorations

Say hello to faff-free cake decorating with this incredible baking hack: gorgeous summer flowers made from marshmallows and powdered sugar.

What you need

  • Cupcakes (or you could decorate whole cake instead)
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Jelly tots
  • Coloured sugar
  • Liquorice

What you do

  • Cut mini marshmallows diagonally in half and pop sticky-side down into coloured, powdered sugar
  • Arrange in a flower shape around a jelly tot