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Toddler Baking: Dump Cake

Updated: May 14, 2020

My husband's birthday was today. Under normal circumstances, my mom would keep the boys so we could have the rare date night to celebrate, which in our current life stage means an early dinner and home in time to breastfeed the baby and put the toddler to bed.

But things are not "normal" right now; his birthday, like so many others, just happens to fall during the middle of a pandemic. Still, I wanted to find a way to make it special so I decided to have my toddler help me bake a cake. And by "help" I mean do something that is within the realm of his ability and attention span.

A few weeks ago we went social distance strawberry picking (you can read about that here) and we still had some frozen strawberries in addition to some fresh blueberries from our last grocery store curbside pickup. I had just seen Katie Lee make a Berry Crisp Dump Cake on "The Kitchen" so I looked up the recipe.

A dump cake is every bit as simple as it sounds. The only prep work was melting the butter and slicing the strawberries. Then it is just a matter of dumping everything in in the right order. So easy a toddler could it, right?

Sidebar: I learned from my teaching days that if you want students to be successful doing something new, you (the teacher) have to model it for them. It just so happens that my sister's birthday is the day after my husband's so I decided to make her a mini cake and deliver it to her doorstep, which also provided a "model" for my toddler.

STEP 1: Dump in the Fruit

STEP 2: Dump in the Cake Mix

STEP 3: Sprinkle Rolled Oats

STEP 4: Pour in the Melted Butter

STEP 5: Remind Toddler This is Not a Sensory Bin

STEP 6: Bake at 350 Degrees for 55 Minutes and Enjoy (after the kids have gone to bed, if so desired).

I'm not saying it is perfect or even pretty, but it was easy and we had fun and at the end of the day, that's what it about. And the pride on my son's face when he told his Daddy he helped make him a cake for this birthday was priceless. I was pretty proud too when my husband (who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth) said it was the most delicious birthday "cake" he'd ever had.

For the full recipe and instructions visit the Food Network: Katie Lee's Berry Crisp Dump Cake.

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