You might have had wholesome, magazine-perfect dreams of baking with your child at your elbow, wearing matching aprons and taking it in turns to stir, but the reality is usually a lot less sterile and a lot more chocolate-covered. Our mini testers have been busy in the kitchen (supervised, of course), measuring, mixing and decorating to find kit that gets them inspired and makes trickier baking tasks such as egg-cracking and accurate measuring as simple as possible. Let your budding baker pick the recipe to get them invested in their bake – something that allows them to have some creativity in shaping or decorating is best - pick up some of our essential kit, set aside plenty of time and leave your perfectionism at the door...
1. Bake Me a Story by Nadiya Hussain: £10.99, Amazon (from 8 September)
This, from last year’s Bake Off champ and all-round national treasure, is a great way to get kids interested in baking. Each chapter is a modern reinterpretation of a fairytale accompanied by a sort-of-related recipe (eg, Cinderella and pumpkin and spice flapjacks) so you can combine story time with kitchen adventures. The recipes are suitable for any age but do involve using the hob and/or oven, so children will need to be supervised even if they are confident readers.
2. Joseph Joseph Bowl Set: £30, John Lewis
Children and easily breakable glass or earthenware mixing bowls are not the best combination. Nifty kitchenware brand Joseph Joseph’s set of polypropylene bowls are hardwearing and come with pouring spouts, stainless steel egg crackers on the side and a clip-on egg separator, so you can teach your little one some essential skills with minimal mess.
3. 3 Blonde Bears Printed Children’s Personalised Apron: £14-16, notonthehighstreet.com
Save having to do six lots of washing after a kitchen session with one of these sweet personalised aprons. Available in cupcake, Russian doll, dinosaur and digger designs - let your little one choose theirs to get them excited. Safe to wash at 40 degrees.
4. Let’s Make Bright Silicone Kids Whisk: £2.99, Sizzle
This whisk is not only colourful and child’s hand-sized but is also silicone, so no scratched nonstick pans, no matter how wildly they mix.
5. Colourworks Measuring Spoon Set: £1.86, Ocado
A set of measuring spoons are a must-have for precision baking for any cook, as cutlery sizes vary hugely, but we particularly like these for kids as they make quarter- and half-spoon measurements super simple.
6. Meri Meri Brave Knights Cupcake Set: £5.58, Amazon
Ideal for a children’s birthday party or special occasion, Meri Meri’s cupcake sets come in a variety of themes from knights and cowboys to ballerinas and Peter Rabbit. They include 24 cupcake cases and a variety of fun toppers on cocktail sticks (so decorating is a doddle for you, too).
7. Silicone Dinosaur Cake Mould: £9.99, Lakeland
A bit of novelty, these cake mounds turn out six miniature cake dinosaurs, two each of brachiosaurus, triceratops and t-rex. You will need a fairly sturdy cake mix (such as madeira) and a delicate touch, but as long as you grease and flour the mounds first the results are great and super fun.
8. Eddingtons 8-piece Safari Cookie Cutters: £8.99, Cake Craft Shop
Ditch the usual star and heart shapes and get your kids excited about baking with a set of biscuit cutters that matches their latest craze - Cake Craft Shop have a whole range, from dinosaurs to unicorns, including this great animal set. Try refrigerating rolled and cut biscuits for 30 mins before baking to minimise spreading, then let them go to town with icing pens and sprinkles.
9. Cooksmart Kids 10-Piece Mixing Bowl Baking Set: £16.95, The Little Cook Company
If you've got a keen baker on your hands or want to get your child excited to get in the kitchen by giving them something to take ownership of, this starter set is a lovely option. It includes a whisk, spatula, spoon, six silicone cupcake cases and an aptly decorated ‘I’m licking the bowl’ mixing bowl, plus two recipes for chocolate crispy cakes and cookies to get you going.
10. BKD Mini Bakers Club: £9.99 a month, BKD
If you’ve been through all the usual gingerbread men and chocolate crispy cakes and are running out of inspiration, let someone else take responsibility with children’s baking classes company BKD. Their subscription service delivers a baking mix (flavours include lemon cupcakes and raspberry biscuits) and craft activity every month.
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