Follow the recipe to bake a cake from scratch.

  • Target Age:  4-7 
  • Learning Goals:  vocabulary, oral language development, science, math, physical & motor skills
  • Related Episode: Martha Bakes

Target Words

bake, beat, blend, combine, from scratch, ingredients, mix, stir


  • basic kitchen tools
  • ingredients (see below)


Note: Adult supervision required for this activity.

Cook with your kids! Use this basic recipe to bake a yellow cake from scratch. (Don't worry, it's not much harder than a box mix.) Let your children do as much as possible, and have them explain to you what they're doing, as if they are the experts or television chefs. Encourage them to use the target words as they describe the steps. Talk about the changes they notice in appearance, smell, and taste as they combine and beat the ingredients, and then when theybake the batter. As you eat the cake, encourage your kids to describe how it tastes. Can they taste any of the individual ingredients?

Quick Yellow Cake

makes one 9x13 or two 9–inch cakes

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Frosting, fresh fruit, or other cake topping
  1. Take the butter out of the refrigerator to soften, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your pan(s) by greasing them thoroughly with butter.
  2. Mix the ingredients together in the order they're listed, blendingthe softened butter and sugar first, then adding the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and finally the liquids. Using an electric beater, beat everything together on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 3 minutes.
  3. Immediately pour into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the tops spring back slightly when pressed.
  4. Let cool on wire racks for at least 15 minutes, then flip each pan over onto the rack and tap gently all over. Lift the pan slightly to get the cake out.
  5. Cool completely then frost or cover with fruit–and enjoy!

Take it Further
Cooking is very educational! Kids practice math as they count and measure, science as they observe how ingredients change when they are blended or heated, and language arts as they build their vocabulary. If your kids want to make more things from scratch, help them look through cookbooks or find recipes online. Pay attention to the action words in the recipes (such as mix, blend, chop, slice) and encourage kids to use the words as they do the actions. Cooking together isn't only educational–it's also fun and tasty!

Related Books
  • Bee-bim-Bop! by Linda Sue Park
    A hungry young girl tells how she helps her mother prepare her favorite meal–the Korean rice dish, bee-bim-bop.
  • Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipesby Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson
    This children's cookbook is full of step-by-step recipes and humorous reviews from young food "critics."
  • The United States Cookbook by Joan D'Amico
    Take a tasty tour of the 50 states and discover fun food trivia and delicious recipes.

DW's Unicorn Adventure


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