Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jake Bakes Cakes

As I have mentioned in past posts, Maggie and I belong to a homeschooling co-op that meets once a week.  This week, it was my turn to host our meeting for the kids, and since this week we celebrated National Cake Decorating Day, and my husband is a chef, the wheels started turning.  I picked out this book, Jakes Bakes Cakes by Gerald Hawksley, to read to the kids and started planning a lesson around it.
 The first thing I did to make the story more interactive for the kids was to print out clipart of cake slices on cardstock ...
... and write cakes from the story onto the back of them.
I put all of these into a little pan and had each child pick one "cake card" before we started reading.  I told them they had to pay attention (having additions like this always helps them to sit still and listen) because when their cake was called out in the story, they would then get to come up ...
... and pick out a cardboard cake slice box from my cardboard cake.  (They were thrilled at this prospect.)
Here is my cardboard cake!  (I purchased this from Oriental Trading for this event.)
Inside each cardboard cake slice was a cake order form.  On my computer, I made up these little cake order forms for the kids to fill out, even leaving the space at the top open for him/her to put his/her name so that the order form would read like it was his/her business name.  For example, Maggie adding her name would then make the top of the form read, "Maggie's Cakes."  (This simulated the story as Jake bakes specialized cakes for different customers.)  (To see any photo on this post larger, simply click on it.)
Behind the front sheet of the order form, I made a "Cake Sketch" sheet for the children to draw the cakes that their customers requested.
At the top of each order form, in the space for the customer name, I put some random names to challenge the kids, like "Mickey Mouse," "Manny the Magician," and "your Dad."  The cake slice that each child picked would reveal the customer that would walk into their cake shop.  Once the story was read, everyone opened their cake boxes to reveal their customers.  (They also got to take their cake slice boxes home, which made them very happy.)
Unfortunately, Maggie was sick for this event, so I didn't bring her.  And my special guest for the day (my chef husband) stayed home to care for her, so I was on my own in teaching the group.  But, I did recreate it later for Maggie at home and these were the two sheets we did together.  (I changed the sheets a bit because I decided to recreate this for our traveling book club, for friends far away.)  Here is my sheet.  I got "Simon the Squirrel" for my customer.  I pretended to interview him by filling out the sheet with things I think he would want for his cake, and then I sketched a cake design at the bottom.
Here is Maggie's cake order form.  Her customer was "Ollie the Owl."
Here was my setup, at the Rec Center, where our homeschooling group meets.
 After our activity with the cake order forms, it was my plan to really decorate some cakes.  I made chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for everyone to work from.
And here was the setup at the Rec Center for the kids.   
The first table had cake stands for displaying their masterpieces.  (I purchased these, too, at Oriental Trading.)
The second table had their place settings with aprons at each chair, one of each flavor of cupcake, chef's hats, and knives for frosting.
I don't like to put other kids on my blog without their mothers' permission, so I have no photos of the kids in their gear, but here is Maggie, geared up at home for her lesson.
First, the kids frosted their cupcakes.
Then, we used fondant and a plethora of other decorations to create beautiful cakes!
Here are some of the cakes the kids at the Rec Center made ... 
Once they were done, I told them to pick our their favorite for the display table.
We all did a cake walk around the table to admire everyone's art!
And lastly, I had these great cupcake boxes (again, Oriental Trading) for a safe transport home for everyone's creations.
And once I was home, I got to work recreating the event for my sick girl.  Here is her "Big, Bad Cupcake."  (She loves the big, bad wolf from fairy tales.)  I helped her with this one.
On display!
But, this next one, she did all her own! 
A frog!  I  was so impressed!
She takes after her Daddy!
So cute!
And here is her bee!
We decorated a dozen! 
Our cupcake creations!
What fun!  I was glad the kids had a good time but more glad that Maggie didn't have to miss out after all!  Books can be so fun!


  1. Married to a chef!??!! YOU LUCKY GIRL!

    Wow, the kids in your co-op are certainly very lucky. What a day you had planned for them! I'm sorry Maggie had to miss it, but how super sweet that she got a special one on one version with you at home. Her cupcakes are pretty amazing.....looks like she might take after her foodie father!!!

    1. Brooke, everyone assumes I get fed by a chef at home, but that is WRONG. By the time he is home, the last thing he wants to do is cook, so contrary to popular belief, chef's wives actually eat not as great as you would think!

      And, yes, I think Maggie definitely takes after him! She LOVES to cook (I don't) and she is very creative with her hands.

      Thanks! :)