For a few weeks I had been hankering after some carrot cake. But the big slabs in cafes seemed too sugary; shop bought versions too full of rubbish. There was nothing for it but to make my own.
Pre-baby I used to love baking but I find cooking with Frida in tow a little challenging – she often wants to grab and touch everything I pick up, which makes things tricky! But instead of trying to redirect her energy I thought I would embrace the chaos and encourage her to “help” me and experience the ingredients. What better introduction to practical life?
She doesn’t like being in her highchair for long periods of time (who can blame her) and so I thought I would grate the carrots in the sitting room on the coffee table. A perfect height for her to observe and get involved. She had a good nibble of one of the carrots and had a feel and taste of the grated end result. She didn’t seem very impressed by it though and spat it out.
When it came to mixing up the ingredients I put her in her highchair at the table; the other alternative was for her to be on the floor or at her little table, but both of those would have made baking quite tricky for me.
I showed her each ingredient as it was going into the mixing bowl and, if safe, offered her a bit to try (raisins, sugar, yes. Raw egg, no).
We smelt the cinnamon and nutmeg together which was a great sensory activity, and she had fun shaking some out onto the table and getting it everywhere. The bonus of this was that she smelt delicious afterwards.
She also liked investigating the jars of flour and sugar although as per usual this meant throwing them on the floor quite quickly.
It felt good to embrace the mess and let her get involved. I really hope she enjoys cooking and baking when she is bigger and look forward to her being able to play a more active part through grating and mixing and cracking and spooning. It also meant I could quickly cobble together a cake, which we all then thoroughly enjoyed eating.
I forgot to take a photo of the end product as I was too disorganised, but it was based on this recipe. I just added a bit less sugar (I think? I don’t use scales) and left off the icing to make it more baby friendly.