At three, he’s ready to do more tasks on his own every day. Or, occasionally, as a team. (“We’re a team! Right, Mommy?”) I’m excited to spend more time in the kitchen together.
Studies have shown that children are much less likely to reject foods they help prepare themselves—and so cooking can be a wonderful way to expose them to new flavors, new skills, and new responsibilities (like cleaning up). We didn’t really broaden his flavor horizon this time around—dessert!—but I’d been eager to try Gâteau au Yaourt (French Yogurt Cake) with him.
Gâteau au Yaourt is a popular goûter (or afternoon snack) in France, rumored to be one of the first things children there bake. The idea is that (almost) the entire recipe can be made off the measure of a 1/2-cup yogurt container.
I drew the outline of the recipe on our chalkboard for Hudson:
- 1 serving yogurt (1 serving is one 4.75-oz yogurt cup in this case)
- 1 serving oil
- 2 servings sugar
- 3 servings flour
- 3 small eggs (we used two extra-large)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla (my yogurt was vanilla flavored, so I skipped this)
You just combine all of the ingredients. Mix until smooth, and pour into a well-buttered 9″ baking dish. Ours took just shy of 30 minutes at 350 degrees to be done, but I’d suggest checking it with the clean-fork-test as soon as you smell it.
I set out all of the ingredients (like a proper sous-chef) and then showed him the recipe on the chalkboard. Each time we started a step, I asked him to count how many servings we needed based on the illustration.
We washed our hands and got started…
I had to help a bit a few times (scraping the last of the ingredients out of the jar after each dump; pouring into the jar from heavy bags or boxes—though he could have spooned things in himself; and cracking eggs), and I did all of the oven-related steps.
But he even did a fantastic job cracking the eggs. Tip: I had him use a separate bowl in case some shell made it’s way in (it did) and told him to open the egg like a book.
Of course, after handling eggs we washed our hands again. I like this foaming hand wash from Method because he likes all of the bubbles and can easily use it himself (and he’s less likely to over-pump).
Don’t you love those squishy little toddler wrists? (I do!)
He poured all of the batter into the pan. (Raw eggs means no licking the bowl, but he was so engaged he forgot to ask!) And while we waited for the cake to bake, we practiced our clean-up skills.
We didn’t make too much of a mess, so a little dish soap and water was all we needed to tackle the counter clean-up.
You’ll recall that we’ve committed ourselves to exclusively using products from the newly curated Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM (which is convenient since I’m already there all the time), so I’ve been especially happy to let Hudson help me clean-up knowing that he’s using non-toxic household goods throughout the kitchen.
The hardest part of all was waiting. We tried the cake by itself, first. Delicious! It was dense but not heavy at all. It’s a little bit sweet, but not saccharine—just right. It reminded me so much of an olive oil cake that I might try using olive oil in place of canola oil next time. Really, there’s heaps of potential here: you could frost it, bake fruit into it, top it with lemon curd or whipped cream and lemon zest…
Keeping with the jar of yogurt theme, we let Hudson top his with more of the vanilla yogurt and some berries. I thought the whole affair was wonderful—and so did he! I could tell he was proud of the cake (which he really did make almost all by himself), especially when he saw how badly Skyler wanted to try it, too.
We’re excited to continue using these Method and Seventh Generation products in our home. Thank you for following along with this series of Living Clean posts. And thank you to Target for supporting Hither & Thither!