This Princess-themed product can be a great afternoon activity for younger foodie, but as with any baking kit for children, it requires some patience and there’s a good chance the cake won’t be the tastiest you’ve ever had.
At 22 years old, I prefer activities that remind me of my childhood over what other millennials my age are probably doing – you’re much more likely to find me glazing an overpriced bowl at Color Me Mine as opposed to knocking back beers at some hip bar downtown on a Friday night.
Imagine my excitement, then, when an editor approached me with a brand new baking kit for a princess cake.The kit, produced by toy manufacturer Real Cooking, is called Princess Cakes, alluringly marketing the promise of easy step-by-step guidance. It’s $29.99 at most major retailers, which seems a small price to pay for a couple of afternoons of fun for your little ones.
Of all people, why would I, a 22-year-old male who clocks in at 6’4” (way too big for toys and playgrounds alike) be the man for this job? Well, I’ve baked once in my entire life, which makes me the perfect tester for a product made for six-year-olds.
As more and more crafty baking kits become available on the market, parents and gift-givers alike might be finding themselves puzzled on how one product stacks up against another.
Here are some pointers to help you work through the Princess Cakes set:
1) Read The Instructions Thoroughly
Don’t be fooled – creating a princess cake from scratch isn’t a walk in the park, especially for younger cooks who might have a hard time when it comes to the fine details.
The Princess Cakes set has a full-sheet of instructions that were thorough enough for you to help your little one through the process. However, The Princess Cakes instructions called for ¾ of a single egg to mix within the set’s packaged cake mix – an insanely specific amount. I gave it my best shot, and kept moving onto the next step, but I may have been better prepared had I read the instructions closely beforehand.
Whatever baking kit you may opt to buy, it’s crucial to read the instructions and understand them well before you rip open any of the contents in the kit. It’s far more magical when your princess-themed cake doesn’t fall apart because you read the fine print.
2) Keep An Eye Out For Tricky Ingredients
This kit requires users to assemble each part of the cake separately: First, you whisk the cake mix together and use the kit’s mold to quickly bake it at 350 degrees. You’ll also have to follow a few steps to turn the packaged fondant icing into a mixture you can actually knead and roll out with your hands.
Then users will break out the product’s included tools – stencils, a baking mat, pie server, and other decorative aids – to assemble the cake’s fondant icing layer. While it was relatively easy to assemble in my kitchen, fondant can be tricky even for a baker with experience and skill on their best day. It tends to dry easily, so transferring the fondant from the kit’s baking sheet to the cake didn’t work out quite as well as I hoped it would.
Most of the Princess Cakes kit is age-appropriate minus a few steps – so if fondant, or another tricky ingredient, is in the picture, you might want to keep in mind that you’ll likely need to assist them.
3) Always Have Your Back Up Ready
Given that I’m a complete klutz when it comes to baking and measurements, I thought my quest to bring my princess to life was over when I accidentally dumped in tablespoons of water versus the prescribed teaspoons and ended up with a gloppy mess. But the Princess Cakes set has you covered, as there are two sets for a reason; I was able to continue with the set by switching from the pink princess to the green fairy after realizing my error.
Mistakes happen, and baking kits that come with a backup such as this will ensure that the fun doesn’t end if your little one missteps in their work.
4) Don’t Use Your Own Kitchen Tools
There’s a great upside to a baking kit like the Princess Cakes set – they come preloaded with all the necessary tools. And they are usually in fun colors and appropriate sizes, no less. Each step on the kit’s instruction page had an accompanying tool for the task within the kit. For example, when it came time for me to roll out the fondant, there was a miniature rolling pin right in the kit. Which was crucial for me, as my next resort would have been to use a bottle of wine to roll out icing for a child’s cake. Not exactly kosher, huh?
Kits that are equipped with all the appropriate tools to get the job done are best – no one likes having to buy AAA batteries after the fact, right?
5) Is There A Magical Moment?
I will say, there’s something to be said for decorating the fondant that struck a chord with me. It was the most relaxing part of the whole process, and at the end of the day, it was the part of the process that didn’t require me to complete the rest of the advance work ahead of me. Even if I had managed to mess up the entire kit, and wouldn’t dare to eat the cake itself, I still would have been able to enjoy my time decorating the fondant. That’s was Princess Cake’s most magical moment.
Any baking kit that you pick up should have an element that is similar – if it’s all step-by-step work and little fun, then it might not be the best choice.
I thoroughly enjoyed securing the sugared crystals and pearls to my princess’s fondant dress, and I know your child will, too. It stood out in my mind as the highlight of the whole afternoon. So even if the cake you’ve managed to bake isn’t the tastiest you’ve ever had, you (and/or your kiddo) can still have the joy of decorating it to look like a dream come true.
As the market becomes more saturated with products like this one, it’s important to remember they’re meant to be fun. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a not-so-magical messy kitchen and an unimpressed kid – an opportunity missed for what could be a great experience for them in your kitchen.
This product is sold at Walmart, Toys ‘R Us, and Target, as well as on Amazon.com.