Sturdy sliders invite budding bakers to measure out flour and sugar, mix ingredients, and decorate a four-egg “let’s pretend cake!”
A “pretend cake” is the only sort that will come out of this recipe. In the cartoon illustrations, cute mice in toques pose next to the required bowls, kitchen implements, and ingredients. With sliding tabs, a stream of sugar pours into a bowl as readings on a scale change, a mixer and a spoon can be moved back and forth, and temperature and time set on an oven. Baumann only suggests adult help for this last step—leaving everything else, including taking out the hot pan and flipping it over, to the child. Though it is a common practice in international recipes (this is a French import), real beginners may be confused to see the flour and sugar quantified in “cups” in English measure but “grams” in the metric equivalents. Prospective bakers are also instructed during the preparation to separate egg whites and yolks without being shown how. Moreover, the direction to put the cake pan in the oven is mistakenly repeated on a later page. Worst, when it comes time to pour on the raspberry sauce at the end, a second, smaller cake suddenly appears atop the first—since layers were previously unmentioned, readers will be hard-pressed to know which layer they have measurements for and which they don’t.
Future chefs may enjoy flicking the moving parts back and forth, but only grown-ups who know their ways around a cookbook are going to get a passable sponge cake from this. (carrying handle) (Novelty. 2-4)