One blessing in my teaching role is taking weekly electives. It’s a time outside of our “normal” Literacy and Maths programs to learn something completely different. Without a doubt it’s the highlight of the week for students. Little do they know, teachers look forward to it as much as them!
Three out of four terms, I choose to take the Cooking Elective. A chance to cook and eat while having fun with children. The dream! Here’s the catch though, the elective timeslot is less than an hour. This means less than an hour including preparation and cleanup. And trust me, you don’t want to be left doing the cleanup from children filled kitchen.
Since these electives, I’ve started a collection of recipes that are quick and child-friendly with minimal ingredients and equipment. Some children have never been allowed to cook in the kitchen so even the idea of cracking an egg causes anxiety. I take a stand-back approach when cooking with children (thank goodness I teach the older kids!) so this recipe is perfect as one of the first classes. No mixer required and only basic ingredients are needed.
This cake comes out beautifully moist – the key comes from the water. So don’t be alarmed if the batter looks thin with too much liquid. Instead take this opportunity to talk about solids and liquids! This recipe combines all the dry ingredients together first. As usual though, once the liquid is added to the flour, be careful not to be too zealous with the mixing spoon. This is particularly true when children mix! (See this post about the science behind overmixing the batter.)
Once you avoided the chance of a dense chocolate cake from overmixing, avoid the accident of a dry chocolate cake by keeping an eye on the cake in the oven. The recipe calls for 40min at 180°C but if unsure about your oven, always bake for less and use a skewer to check. Once it’s too dry, there’s no going back! Whipped cream and ice cream have been my saviours in the past. In my school oven, it needs around 50min. Just keep testing!
This is one of the first recipes I used back in high school when I started dabbling in baking. Enjoy and tweak as needed. You’ll see I substituted vegetable oil for butter until butter prices come down (if ever!)
Foolproof Child-friendly Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups standard flour
- 2 cups castor sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup butter, melted / 227ml oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt)
- In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, water)
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Make sure all the lumps in the mixture are gone.
- Grease a tin before pouring in the mixture.
- Bake for 40min.
Easy peasy. It’s a great base for any chocolate themed cake. Go hard with the decorating. You can even add Kahlua or Baileys in your icing for something different. Tag @ultimateomnoms on Instagram if you use this recipe – I’d love to see your creations!