Good old-fashioned baking is enjoying something of a well-kneaded revival, shaking off its stodgy roly-poly pudding associations and emerging like a gleaming tarte au citron thanks to the likes of divine cupcakes first made famous by the Magnolia Bakery in Sex And The City and moreish Ladurée macaroons in sorbet shades.
Whipping up something scrumptious with your child isnot only a great bonding experience, but is an enjoyable way to help develop her concentration, motor skills and learn about the provenance of food. So, who are the new experts? Well, how about turning to your grandmother for some culinary wisdom?
Mary Berry, doyenne of the new baking elite, esteemed judge on The Great British Bake Off and grandmother of five, believes that children should begin baking from a young age. “Start off simply by letting your child do the weighing, breaking the eggs and mixing,” she says. “Try an uncomplicated recipe like fairy cakes and, of course, let your child lick the bowl afterwards.” Growing up in a busy house where her mother did the cooking, Mary was inspired to find her vocation by a wonderful home economics teacher and still recalls with pride coming home from school with her first treacle syrup pudding. “My father loved it,” she says, proving that the best creations may last mere moments on the lips, but that the memory will be preserved for a lifetime.
Master confectioner Peggy Porschen, who has crafted bespoke wedding cakes for Kate Moss and Stella McCartney, agrees that aspiring bakers should start young. “It’s really important that children are passionate about food and understand what ingredients go into what they are eating,” says Peggy. “Some of my fondest childhood memories are of baking Christmas cookies with my mother every year.”
If you want to inspire your mini masterchef, pop on your apron and get involved in National Baking Week, which runs from October 15-21, by organising a bake sale in aid of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. A chance to bake with your child, gorge yourself on cake and raise money for a truly deserving cause? Sweet.
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