Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tutorial: How to Let Your Pre-Schooler Frost a Cake

For the last couple Mom/Dad birthdays at our house we've let the kids decorate our cakes. I think it's becoming a tradition.

There are a couple good things about this:
  • The kids always want to help and this lets them.
  • It actually saves a lot of time from all the planning and execution that goes into making a "cool" cake like we do for the kids.
  • It's funny to watch them.
  • Since they're in charge, it's actually not as stressful as letting them help with other things because they can't "ruin" the design...it's theirs.
The biggest key to letting the young kids decorate is not to use regular frosting. We use 7-Minute (Double Boiler) Frosting for cakes that just need to be frosted and don't need anything fancy. It has several things going for it
  • We like the flavor better.
  • It still has plenty of sugar...but egg whites instead of fat, so while not "healthy" it is "healthier."
  • It's easier to spread across a cake top without breaking the surface and getting crumbs in the frosting. (Note: If you're two and stab the cake with the spreader, you can still manage to get crumbs in your frosting.)
  • You can still decorate with words and things using piping bags or ziploc baggies, by I wouldn't recommend anything fancy...probably just writing words because this frosting doesn't hold it's shape as well.
  • You don't want to frost a hot cake, but if you're trying to hurry and finish decorating the cake so you can have your little party and put the kids to bed, your cake doesn't have to be all the way cooled because the frosting is cooked/warm in the first place (no butter or shortening to melt.)
So here's how you do it. We just frosted with one color, but if you want to have different colors for writing or anything you'd need to reserve some of the frosting and color that seperately. We made blue because that's Hubby's favorite color.

  1. Put a bowl of frosting next to the cake in front of your two year old. Give him something big to spread it with. Our rubber spatula was dirty, so he used the rice scoopy thing that came with the rice cooker.
  2. After he has gooped a bunch on, stabbed the cake with the rice scoopy thing, and mixed the crumbs throughout, give the rice scoopy thing to your four and a half year old to have her pretty it up a bit.
  3. Give the rice scoopy thing back to the two year old, so he can stab the cake again and make sure some of the crumbs are still showing.
  4. Give the kids sprinkles. Make sure your two-year old's sprinkles don't have a shake top, so he can dump out half the bottle in one spot on the cake.
  5. Then have your four-year-old shake her sprinkles out all over the cake while the two-year-old uses his fingers to spread his sprinkles out a bit more evenly...and YOU'RE DONE!! (No candles since they are already packed.)
And just so you don't feel too hemmed in by one idea, here are some pictures of the cake Firecracker made for my birthday a while ago:

7-Minute Frosting Recipe (from my general Betty Crocker cookbook)...sorry can't figure out why the spacing is weird here.

Combine in top of double boiler:
2 egg whites (1/4 cup)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or 1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/3 cup water

Mix ingredients together in the top of a double boiler. Place over boiling water. (Water should not touch the bottom of the bowl your frosting mixture is in.) Beat on high for 7 minutes over the boiling water.  After 7 minutes remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla. Beat on high for a couple more minutes until spreading consistency.


  1. Happy Birthday to the hubby guy! A tremendous cake. Speaking of traditions, I feel a tutorial about pumpkin hats coming on...

  2. Of course, of course. We get our pumpkins on Saturday at tehe $1 pumpkin sale, so that will be coming sometime next week. :)

  3. I love it! Totally going to do this for our next birthday. My cakes never turn out well anyway so now I don't have to stress. :)

  4. i'm always on the lookout for a new healthier version to things so when i came across this recipe i thought i'd give it a go... now... while my attempt tasted great and looked ok it wasn't as thick as i was hoping... i was hoping to pipe it on the cake but it ended up running off... has this happened to you? any ideas for next time? thanx for giving an alternative to the usual :) (one i might also add is gluten and dairy free!!! yay!!)


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