Junior Bake Kit (Better Quality, Made By You!)

Katy and I went out to lunch last week, while her daddy was at work and her brother in school. It was a little girl time and produced some great conversation. Anytime you get an almost-four year old to sit still long enough to be able to express their thoughts, you know you’re in for a treat!

“Mama, when I get big, can I do anything I want?”

This seemed like a trick question to me.

“Well, kind of, Katy. What do you want to do when you get big?”

Her face lit up and she stared off a bit, as if seeing something truly wonderful in her mind’s eye.

“I want to put icing on cupcakes all by myself”

My heart melted and this JR Bake kit was born.

There are a lot of baking kits for girls on the market now. Easy Bake Oven and Gourmet Girl Cupcake thingiemabobber (just watch tv for ten minutes and you’ll see a commercial!). I looked into them both and couldn’t help but think of how quickly the chintzy little pans rust and how expensive the odd tasting mixes are. I decided to make my own Junior Baking kit, stocked with economical and easy to find ingredients, quality and kid friendly tools, and just the right amount of creativity! Add to this the fact that one mix out of my kit makes enough for your junior chef to provide dessert for his or her entire family and you’re sure to have one proud little chef peacocking around your kitchen!

I started out with Jiffy Cake mixes, which cost only .52 each. These little gems have always been a handy helper around the busy mom’s kitchen, at least since I was a little girl! One box of mix will make a single layer eight inch round cake or six cupcakes. I got some yellow, but mostly white. Kids can then use food coloring easily to create all sorts of colored cakes and cupcakes!

Its always fun to make a tie dyed cake. Simply take 1/4 cup of cake mix and dye it on its own with whatever color you like. Repeat with another 1/4 cup and a different color. Then pour carefully into your batter and swirl before baking! This is very pretty when you cut into it! I bought ready made icing but if you have older jr bakers you might want to let them make it from scratch or use a Jiffy Icing Mix. My icing cost 1.09 after I used the coupon on the package. If your bakers are a bit older, you could let them make icing from scratch or even buy jiffy icing mixes. Katy just wants to ice the cupcakes, she’s not that concerned with how she got the icing!

These cookie mixes were .50 off when I used the coupon which came on my ready made frosting, making them $1.00 each. Quick and simple, kids will love making their own cookies “from scratch” ~winks~. Each package makes about a dozen and a half so there will be plenty to share and even take to their teachers if they like!

Our baking kit could never be complete without sprinkles! I LOVE SPRINKLES! These just cost .98 and the food coloring set was only 1.88. Now your Jr Chef can color their frosting, their cake mixes, and even their cookies if they like!

These are miniature cake pans, nonstick and dishwasher safe. In my house, the only way a dish can avoid the dishwasher is to be older than I am. Other than that, if you aren’t dishwasher safe, you have no home among me and mine!

Each package has two pans in them. These are so much better than the little rinky dink, rust easy pans which came with my Easy Bake Oven back in the day.

These color coded measuring cups and spoons are a must have for Jr. Bakers, especially those just learning how to read fractions or for those who are too young to read at all. While preparing a mix, you can refer to the spoons and cups by their color instead of measurement! At only 1.97 for the cup set and 1.47 for the spoon set, I picked up an extra one for me, too!

Red seemed a good color for my kitchen tools. This plastic mixing bowl was found on the seasonal aisle for 1.64. The spoon is heat resistant silicone and I just love it. Since I already own two myself, I didn’t fret over spending 3.50 for my Jr Chef to have one, too.

I picked out a Sterlite brand container to put it all in. This will make storing it an keeping it all together easy peasy! Mine was a bit pricey at 6.50, but I love this type of container and have a few in my pantry already which I keep cookie cutters, cake sprinkles (I have that many!) and cupcake papers and such in. There are certainly less expensive options though!

And everything fits perfectly. mixes, icings, food colorings, and sprinkles on the bottom.

Topped with cake pans and spoon…

Then add your mixing bowl with measuring cups and spoons inside.

Put the lid on and you’re done!

Jr. Bake Kit

jiffy cake mixes 5 @ .52 each
latch box 6.50
sugar cookie mix 1.00
sugar cookie mix 1.00
chocolate chip cookie mix 1.00
vanilla frosting 3 @ 1.09
chocolate frosting 2 @ 1.09
color coded measuring cup set 1.97
color coded measuring spoon set 1.47
sprinkles .97
bowl 1.64
spoon 3.50
two heart shaped non stick mini cake pans 2.67
two six cup nonstick mini muffin pans 2.67
GV food coloring 1.88
34.32

Jr. Bake Kit (Less Expensive Option)

Wooden spoon .99
3 Jiffy Cake Mixes 1.56
2 icings 2.18
sprinkles .98
1 set Nonstick mini pans 2.67
food coloring 1.88
bowl 1.64
Container 3.50
Measuring cups 1.97
measuring spoons 1.47

Total (before tax) $18.84

Food science is also a great subject for homeschooling, and we all homeschool at least a little! I know very few parent’s whose child’s education begins and ends in the classroom! Food Science is an invaluable life skill, teaches math, chemistry, art, and builds a great sense of confidence and accomplishment. Teaching a child to cook with you is a lesson which can be tailored to any age (as long as they can sit up and hold a spoon!). Whether you make a junior bake kit, buy something ready made, or just let your kids use your own tools and help out, I strongly encourage you to get them involved in the kitchen.

*All items for my JR Bake Kit were found at Wal Mart, a great chain that REALLY needs to sponsor Southern Plate by giving some things away to my readers!

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Comments

  1. Abbie says

    What a wonderful idea. My 7 year old wanted a new easy bake this year but this idea is so much better – I could almost kick myself for not thinking of it – we’re definitely ready to graduate to big girl cooking….Great job!!

  2. maryanne silvers says

    What a great gift idea for all the kids in our family. They get enough trucks and dolls. This is a wonderful way to let them lead the way in the kitchen and feel special. LOVE IT! Thank you!

  3. socalmal says

    You never cease to amaze me! I thought my Christmas shopping was complete, but not now, oh no! Now I’ve got to get to a Walmart, nearest one is 45+ minutes, and make this kit for my daughter & maybe my youngest son too only his can be blue. Thanks!

  4. says

    Hahaha! I love that last line. I guess they should have picked you to be one of the 11 moms. Wonderful idea, BTW. I have pretty much all those things in my pantry stockpile, so it would be even less expensive for me. Thanks for this!

  5. Su says

    What a great gift idea! I really like the idea of creating your own gift, one year for Christmas I gave my godmother a large enamel colander (I think it was a really pretty pastel purple colour) and inside I put an assortment of useful items. And I got the colander on sale at Target for $4! haha
    A little interesting tidbit, your sprinkles/nonpareils, we call them hundreds and thousands here. If someone said sprinkle to me I would be thinking more of the kind you put on icecream, the longer shaped sprinkle rather than this ball type of sprinkle. I also don’t know if you’re familiar with fairy bread, but that’s a must have at any child’s birthday party! One of the best uses for hundreds and thousands! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_bread

  6. Memoria says

    Wow. I can’t believe we’re in the year 2008 and commercials and companies are still acting like only girls are or are expected to be interested in cooking. I am also surprised by some of the comments above referring to only girls as appropriate receivers of this kit. Not all girls are interested in cooking (I know I wasn’t when I was a kid!), and some boys are interested in baking/cooking as well. I think some societal attitudes and commercials delimit our potential by dictating what is appropriate for a person based on her/his gender. This is so wrong. Most of us have external body parts that can help bake and cook (i.e., arms), so why does having different amounts of estrogen or testosterone determine if a baker kit or the color pink, for example, is “appropriate” for us? I am glad you mentioned “her or his” and acknowledged that any child could benefit from this kit. It is awesome idea. If I had a child, I would definitely put one together for her or him.

  7. Tiffany says

    I LOVE this idea…I’m currently expecting and the sex is a surprise…I hope I get a girl so I can use this idea for a present one day! I LOVE cooking and can’t wait to teach my baby…actually, I would even use this for a boy and make everything boy oriented maybe with gummy worms and stuff to make dirt cake and mud pie…lol….I’m so excited and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE homemade gifts!

  8. Angela says

    What a fantastic idea!!!

    I have a 17yo daughter who wants to be a pastry chef so she’s very comfy in my kitchen using all my tools but my 3yo daughter already shows signs of loving to be in the kitchen. I definitely see an easy bake oven in her future. I make all my own mixes though. MUCH cheaper and so much tastier than the EBO ones you buy in the store.

    Also, try dollar tree or the 99cent store for some of the baking tools or mixes. They have TONS of kitchen supplies now.

    Thanks for the ideas! I LOVE your website and am making some of your recipes at least once a week. SO far my kids fav have been the taco soup and the cheesy chicken corn casserole. Kee the recipes coming. =)

    Angela from San Diego but southern at heart, =)

  9. says

    Merrie Oh Merrie, thank you so much!!!!! You are gonna be the coolest grandma! Save room for dessert on the day you give them this!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that you read my blog and recipes!!!!! Having y’all here is the icing on my cake!!!

    Olga o.O Well now you’re talking my language!!!!! It just so happens I have fantasized about a babysitter! LOL. Before I had kids I used to borrow them from cousins to get my fix, always had a blast with them!

    Mary You got me blushing!! Hehe, Brilliant? Me? Personally, I think I just have an overactive mind and so little focus that I can’t actually think of only one thing at a time, I kinda bounce ideas around like a ping pong ball – BUT I’ll take brilliant anyday!!!
    THANK YOU!

    Abbie hehe! I know just what you mean. The reason I didn’t do this for my son is that he is tall enough (and big enough) that he just uses all of my things when he bakes or works in the kitchen. Well that and the fact that his list of lego requests for Christmas is a mile long! You know, I was exactly seven when I got my first easy bake oven. I would have LOVED this and I know she will too! Thank you!!

    Nancy Oh wonderful, WELCOME TO SOUTHERN PLATE!!! Sit a spell, join in our chat, grab a glass of tea, and come back often!!!! Another seven year old! Lol! It must be the ideal age for baking now as it was when I was young!

    Mary Anne Hey girl!! (I have known MaryAnne since third grade!). I know they’ll love it!!!! Kiss dem babies fer me!

    Micha OH great!!! Hey you know, I had my son start baking with me his very first Christmas! He was five months old and we propped him up to watch while I made monkey bread! Another fun thing to do if they are babies or toddlers is to just give them a set of measuring cups or spoons and let them play with them while they “help” you!

    Beth oh yay!!! Get ready for dessert!!!! Thank you!!

    Socalmal LOL. Hey, its good that I can amaze someone! ‘Round these parts I’m just the woman who does the laundry and cooks! Lol. I do hope they enjoy it, let me know!!

    Dora I am trying so hard not to sing the song…I know you must hear it ALL the time!!! Your son sounds like a boy after my own heart!!! I hope you enjoy it and thank you!!!
    ~begins to hum…~

    Laura hehe, April and Morgan would be so proud!!! We need to have coffee soon..I know we just did but I am soooo ready for another coffee night!
    I got some Starbucks beans today at Wally World and they are SOO GOOD

    Amiyrah hehe! If they’d just return an email or something, lol! I have contacted them a few times but I don’t reckon they are taking any notice of my lil ole emails a sittin’ in their big fancy Arkansas emailbox. Your pantry sounds a bit like mine! I keep my VERY well stocked but didn’t want to part with any of my “reserves”! lol
    Thank you!

    Tina Thank you so very much!!!

    Stephanie I agree!! I would love that!! Oh wait…I already have that stuff. Oh well, I can NEVER have enough kitchen stuff!

    Su Okay, I had NEVER heard of Fairy Bread before and you know as soon as I saw your comment I had to follow that link to see what it was! HOW COOL!! Why haven’t we done that before?? We WILL be doing it now, rest assured!! I LOVE that you took the time to tell me what they call sprinkles and all of that! I just love learning about these things. You know, anytime I get to go somewhere new the first thing I want to do is go to their grocery store and see what they have that is different! Those sprinkles you talked about are what we all “jimmies”! lol
    Thank you so much! Your colander gift sounds great! I would have loved to have gotten that, too!!

    Memoria I understand just what you are saying. My son has been cooking with me, as I said in a previous comment, since he was a baby and we would prop him up to watch me make monkey bread! My brother is a great cook, owns his own restaurant, and has won the Jack Daniel’s Grand Champion Cookoff twice now! We all cook in my family….well except for my sister. Her gifts lie in shopping ~grins~.
    The funny thing is though that a lot of children tend to put themselves in gender roles even if their parents don’t. My daughter (who DAILY tells me she loves pink, pink is her favorite color, and pink is for girls) LOVES to cook, paint her nails, put on makeup, do her hair, etc. She is always pointing out to me what is and isn’t a “girl” activity and I try to kind of explain to her that things don’t have to be pigeonholed, specified for girls or boys, but at the age of three, she seems to really take comfort in her own gender identification.

    My son was much the same way, especially with four male cousins! He always cooked though, because we’ve just always had fun doing that and I have always included them in my baking and cooking just like my mom did for all of us.

    When I was in college, during my early childhood development classes, we were taught that boys and girls are not born with any specific gender identity and that they are taught how to behave like a boy and like a girl. Until I had kids, I believed that, too! I bought into it hook, line, and sinker! Then my boy was born making VROOM sounds and my daughter was walking on tip toes and wanting her nails painted before she could even talk.

    Born with it or taught? Hmm, I would say a little of both. Either way, you are right, cooking is not a gender specific activity by any means. I bet most readers who mentioned girls specifically either A. Don’t have boys or B. Have boys who are just not at a point in their lives where they are interested in cooking.

    As for my kids, I want to make sure that whoever brings me that plate of food in the nursing home is fully capable of making some darn good food to go on it!

    Zesty Hey!! Thanks Mr. Zesty!!

    Darius You made me shoot coffee out of my nose when I read that!!!!!!!!!
    Seriously, you don’t bake??????seriously?// DARIUS??

    Tiffany Oh Tiffany, you gave me a good laugh too!!! I am a fast ready and tend to skim a comment before I actually read it!! The first thing that jumped out at me from your comment was the word “sex” and I thought “OH MY LORD WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT ON SP!”
    Lol
    I LAUGHED SO HARD after I slowed down and read it, because of my initial thoughts! Lol
    Oh thank you so much!! When are you due???? I am excited for you!!! You better come back here and let us know what it is!!!!! Ooh and names…and weight….

    Thank you all so much!!!
    Gratefully,
    Christy

  10. says

    Hey Angela!! What great ideas!!!! I love the dollar tree,too! It seems like I am always buying measuring cups and that is a great place to pick them and other tools up, just as you said!!

    Seventeen and three year old? Wow, I bet y’all have some SERIOUS kitchen fun!!!!

    I am SO THRILLED you are all reading SP and I promise I have a lot more up my sleeve!!! You all have a WONDERFUL Christmas and tell your daughters I said “thank you”!!!!!

    Gratefully,
    Christy

  11. Priscilla says

    Christy: You have the best site!!! I have followed you for a long time and this post is the crowning glory. My daughter and I used your gift ideas for Christmas and now this is a party bonus. My daughter is 5 and she has been in the kitchen with me since birth.
    Thank you for all the cool and groovy ideas and recipes that you share with us.

  12. Liz says

    I’ve been going through and reading old posts and stumbled across this one (in a search for something to do with this box of chocolate cake mix) and I love it! I have a niece and two cousins who are just getting to the age where they want to cook and this is perfect!! Thank you so much for your great advice as well as your great recipes. =)

  13. Camille says

    Thanks! Just figured out what my 4-year-old niece is getting for Christmas. This is an awesome idea, and more thoughtful than a regular store-bought gift. I think I will use paint pens and put her name on the plastic bin.

  14. says

    A brilliant idea for kids! A bonding time activity between your kids. Something that kids will absolutely dig. At a very young age your kids will learn how to cook and bake and it is something they will bring when they grow up…something that they will also share with their future kids.
    You even have a less expensive kit…cool!
    I salute you Junior Kit!

  15. Kerry Palmer says

    I love this idea! It makes me sorry that my baby girl is 24 and has a kitchen of her own :) But it brings back memories of standing her on a chair at the counter so she could “help”. Over the years, she became a genuine help, and we still do all our Christmas baking together. What a lovely start to a lifetime of fun together in the kitchen!

  16. donna eisnaugle says

    Well I have a boy and he is always wanting to cook and help me. Thinking this will be great for him his own kit if he wants to bake a treat well here you go. He is 10 so he would be able to pretty much do it himself. Love this idea.

  17. Erica says

    Thank you so much!! You have me in tears!! My 3 year old loves to bake but the easy bake oven thing is so far out of our financial grasp. This will be perfect for Christmas!! Thank you Christy!

  18. deerslayincook says

    Christy, you are so bad…I just had a birthday and PRAYED to get your cookbook. My loving little sis came through and now I am pouring/poring through every recipe and story and, bless my heart, I can’t put it down while I am supposed to be studying for my nursing school finals. Can I blame you if I don’t pass? Oh, well – that will just be more time for me to make cheesy chicken casserole, sticky chicken and on and on….Hope your injury has heeled (I felt for you as I had similar experience). LOVE your website, books, recipes,stories, all of it!! Have a Jesus-remembered Christmas.

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