Lara Katz: Dreaming Up Delicious


Little Strawberry Cakes Recipe

have your little ones do the dirty work

by: Lara Katz

My children love to help me in the kitchen but they usually ask to help during very inconvenient times like when I am about to put something on the bbq or use a sharp knife. When my three year old son Sam asked to help me make these strawberry cakes I thought I would have to come up with something simple for him to do. Surprisingly, the recipe turned out to be very child-friendly and I was happy to have Sam help me. I have divided the recipe into adult steps and children steps to make it an easy and fun activity. Thankfully this recipe does not call for a bbq or a sharp knife.


Strawberry jam
3 cups strawberries, halved and or quartered if large
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
3/4 cup buttermilk*
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbsp raw sugar
*If you do not have buttermilk on hand do the following: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup. Add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Use as much milk as the recipe calls for. This is what I used for this recipe.
Strawberry Jam 
  Child: Place strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan.
  Adult: Place saucepan over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture becomes thick. Pour into a shallow bowl and allow to cool.
Little Cakes
  Adult: Preheat oven to 400.  If using a food processor, which I recommend, place the following ingredients in processor bowl with steel blade.  If not using a food processor place ingredients in a large bowl: sugar, baking powder, salt, 2 1/4 cups flour.  Pulse on and off 3 times, or mix by hand with a wooden spoon, to allow ingredients to become well mixed. Add butter and lime zest, pulse ingredients or mix by hand until coarse crumbs form.  Add buttermilk and pulse or mix until dough just comes together. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface.
  Child: Knead dough approximately 5 times.
  Adult: Roll out dough until it is about 1/2" thick.  Using a 2 1/2" cookie cutter or inverted glass, cut out circles. Gather scraps of dough and keep re-rolling dough until you have almost no dough left. Place circles of dough on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  Child: Using your thumb make an indentation in the middle of each little cake. Using a pastry brush, brush egg over all of the cakes. Sprinkle lots of raw sugar over egg washed cakes. Spoon approximately 1 tsp of strawberry jam in each indentation made with your thumb. It doesn't matter if the jam runs over or is messy. I didn't think my son would be able to do this step but he did it quite well!
  Adult: Bake little cakes 15 minutes or until edges start to brown. Take out of oven and allow to cool.
  Adult & Child: Enjoy together!
Makes 20+ Little Strawberry Cakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2013.
Looking for another child friendly recipe? Try These Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Cookies Recipe