Easy Bake Oven: Nostalgia For Mom, Fun For Kids
I can still picture the orange, brown and white Easy-Bake Oven that I coveted for years in the late seventies. I never did get one, which may be why I was so excited to try out the modern version ($26) – silver, white, and fuchsia (or turquoise) these days – with my daughters.
The box trumpets the fact that the “classic” is back, hitting the product’s target demographic (me) right in the heart. And it really couldn’t be easier or simpler: My girls mixed the dough (several kinds of cake or cookies dough come with the oven) and put it in the tiny pan. I used the pan pusher to gently slide it into the preheated oven (so satisfying to finally get to do that!). We waited 10 minutes while that famous light bulb did its work, then pushed our finished delicacies out the other side. The diminutive cookies and cakes are actually quite perfect for tea parties. What can I say? It’s all I dreamed it would be.
Danielle adds: Like Tracy, I always wanted an Easy-Bake Oven so I tried it out as well. The product is now called Easy-Bake Oven and Snack Center, alluding to the myriad “meals” you can cook with it. In addition to the many cakes (some co-branded with Betty Crocker!), you can make doughnuts and waffles, s’mores, muffin tops (because they’re the best part!), brownies, and cookies. I’ve also seen pizzas and Cinnabon mixes, though they may have been discontinued. They even have an auto-ship program that ships mixes and tools every eight weeks ($60), baker’s hat and apron ($13), tool kit ($10) and a frosting pen kit ($16) which allows your little baker to get really creative with kid-sized tools. All mixes are $6 which is pretty steep for two teeny little cakes but it’s more about the activity and experience. Though I didn’t try them, I am aware that there are sites that list recipes for making your own Easy-Bake Oven treats from scratch or from a regular mix, though you should proceed at your own risk!
While it’s recommended for kids eight and older that doesn’t mean younger kids can’t enjoy it as long as you do most of the work. You’re using a 100-watt lightbulb which gets very hot and though there’s no way to touch the bulb directly, the whole shebang does get pretty warm. An eight year old would know better than to touch it if you told them they would get burned, but a three, four, five or six year old? Maybe not.
Anya, now 3, and I baked a yellow cake and a chocolate chip cookie together. She didn’t understand the whole cooking process so she wanted to eat it as soon as we put the batter in the tin! You also have to wait another ten minutes for it to cool after baking and she didn’t understand that either. However, she really enjoyed the mixing, pouring and eating parts. Even my gourmand husband thought the final product was tasty.