The Recipe

A four-year-old friend of mine at BCS recently had an idea for a recipe. This is a kiddo who is endearing, loving, energetic, and challenging, and who isn't always that interested in lunch, for a variety of reasons. So I was surprised and thrilled when he stopped me as I headed for the kitchen one morning a few weeks ago, waving a homemade book.

"Erinn!!! I made you a recipe!"

the recipe

The recipe, it turned out, was a multi-page, illustrated list of ingredients. With a drawing on the back of me...

back cover of the recipe, with my notation

He wanted to get started that instant, but lunch had to be made, so we made a date to meet and make a plan. I asked a few preliminary questions and discovered that the recipe was intended to turn out as a cake, that he anticipated we'd need a big bowl and a little spoon in order to make it, and that it would likely need to cook for either 5 minutes, or 20 hours.
Armed with this information and the proposed ingredient list (flour, milk, cereal, raisins, apples, and rice) I set out to look for cake recipe inspiration.
I found a ton of cake, muffin, and quick bread recipes online that incorporated cereal, and thought that raisin bran would be ideal since it essentially gave us two ingredients from the list for the price of one. I printed out a muffin recipe that seemed like a promising starting point and we met the next morning before lunch prep began.
We looked through the recipe booklet he had made and talked about each ingredient. We had quite a discussion around the rice. I gently suggested that we try rice as a side dish with our cake, since cakes with both rice and cereal as ingredients were unusual, if not completely unknown to humankind. We agreed that we'd proceed omitting the rice, this time.
We decided that the finished cake should be a rectangle, and there should be enough to share with his classmates and teachers.

He invited one friend in to help us out, and we gathered our ingredients...

Our preschool recipe developer and friend gather our ingredients

Preparing our baking pan.

We went over the muffin recipe I found and talked about why we'd need to include some other ingredients in our cake that weren't on the original list - eggs, sugar, a little butter, baking powder - and how we thought it would taste when we were done. 

We measured, poured, and mixed ...

measure and mix

And we made a beautiful cake! 

The pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from cooking something from scratch, to share with people you care about, is a powerful thing.  I couldn't have been happier when I showed this kiddo his finished product, and he couldn't have been more proud when it was served to his friends. 

Food is love, folks. 

BCS Cereal Cake

  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups raisin bran cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled apple chopped into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat your oven to 400.  Oil and flour a 13x9 inch baking pan and set aside. 
First, stir together this flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, combine the cereal, milk and honey. Let stand 3 minutes or until cereal starts to get soggy - for once this is a good thing!
 Add the egg and the oil and beat well until everything is combined. Mix in the apples.
Add the flour mixture and stir just until everything comes together. Do not overmix!
 Pour the batter into your prepared pan. 

Bake at 400° F for about 25 minutes, then check by inserting a toothpick into the center. The cake may need more time, but you'll know it's done when your toothpick comes out clean and the top is turning a lovely, crackly brown. 

If you're so inclined, serve with a side of rice. 


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