This is part of our ongoing Cooking with Kids series, because bringing them into the kitchen creates bonding moments, opportunities to learn, and plenty of messes! And ginger is our ingredient of the season this fall. You can find more ginger recipes here, but if you want another dessert recommendation, skip right ahead to these chewy ginger cookies.
A few weeks ago, we woke up to our first snow of the season. If that wasn’t special enough, I thought that it was worth fully celebrating the day, and any celebration worth its salt requires a cake. That was the humble beginning of our “First Snow Cake”.
The base of our cake is a delicious ginger cake and it’s topped with a healthy layer of powered sugar snow. It’s a simple cake that’s easy to bake on a whim and should definitely be incorporated into your next snow day. The recipe and more thoughts on celebrating the everyday below. *I’m thinking that next year the cake has to be baked in this pan.
Celebrating the Everyday
As a mom, there’s so much that I want/hope to teach my kids. Of course there are the basics like reading and writing, but let’s put that aside for the moment.
I also want to teach them to be great friends & citizens – to get along well with others, be there when someone needs their help, and even to speak up when a stranger is being wronged. Some of that is heavy stuff. It can weigh us all down at times.
I think that the perfect counterbalance is to remember to celebrate everything and anything. It’s easy to remember to celebrate the holidays, but I think that we can also make life more enjoyable if we find reasons to enjoy the little moments in life. I’m thinking about the moments that may be overlooked or barely acknowledged if we allow ourselves to get too bogged down by to-do lists and the drudgery of life.
Celebrating the change of seasons is an easy way to start. This has the added benefit of encouraging kids to observe the natural world. You can start by celebrating events that occur on schedule, like the equinoxes and solstices, but there’s also something special about celebrating the less-predictable events like the coming winter’s first snow, the arrival of the hummingbirds, or the blooming of the first crocus.
If you’d like to take these celebrations even further, you could start to record their dates from one year to the next, leading to lessons and discussions about phenology.
The phenology lesson would be a happy accident, because really, as trite as it sounds, what I hope to do is help our boys to learn to sit back and enjoy the precious time that they have in this crazy world.
This cake is really easy to put together. Its directions are similar to most cakes – mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet, mix it all up, bake. But with this cake, boiling water is added to the butter. The end result is a batter that’s easily blended by hand. I particularly like that aspect because it eliminates the electric mixer, and the kids are able to do all of the mixing, so they can see the batter come together right before their eyes!
Luc was my assistant in the kitchen for this recipe. As usual, I’m sharing photos of him measuring, mixing, and using his senses as he helps in the kitchen. If you haven’t read any of our Cooking with Kids posts before, this one provides a great overview of how I try to work with the kids and encourage their curiosity in the kitchen.
As you can see, he took his job seriously… and he didn’t crack that darling smile until the cake was sugared and he decided that it was a job well done. What a guy!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 4 Tbsp butter cut into chunks
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup light-flavored molasses (like Grandma's)
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round or square pan.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl. Whisk lightly and set aside.
- Place the butter, sugar, molasses, and water in a large bowl. Whisk until the butter has melted. When the mixture is lukewarm, whisk in the egg.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until just combined (there should be no large lumps).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes. The edges should just begin to brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Let the cake cool slightly in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before topping with powdered sugar or whipped cream.
After the cake was baked, we enjoyed it as an afternoon snack with chamomile tea.
… and on queue, Luc provided a healthy dose of ham.