Baker Amirah Kassem Shares How to Get Kids Baking—and the Secret to Making Her Magical Explosion Cakes at Home
by Collier Sutter
Explosion cakes have made a colorful trail into celebrations everywhere, from gender reveal parties to celebrity kids’ birthday bashes and everything in between, these iconic cakes that, once sliced into, look like sprinkle-filled piñatas, all trace back to baker and founder of New York’s Flour Shop, Amirah Kassem.
Parenting caught up with Kassem on the release of her first cookbook, The Power of Sprinkles, which hit shelves this spring. With her cookbook out in the world, Kassem’s kaleidoscope dessert is reaching far beyond fans scrolling her rainbow-curated Instagram or customers purchasing cakes out of her Manhattan-based shop. The Power of Sprinkles now allows at-home bakers everywhere the chance to whip up her famous sprinkle-filled cakes from inside their own kitchens.
Kassem thinks anyone has the ability to make her cakes, she told Parenting. The cookbook author shared what brought her into the kitchen in the first place, and just how approachable baking with your kids can actually be.
When did your baking obsession begin? How did you learn to bake?
“I started at a very young age! I was always fascinated by anything my mother was doing in the kitchen and I always wanted to help! Mostly because it looked fun and involved eating! After helping my mom a bunch, I started experimenting myself.”
We’ve read that you grew up loving to cook and bake with your mom, can you share more about how important that experience is to you now?
“My childhood was very colorful and full of imagination and creativity! I grew up in a house where things like baking for friends was an activity because we got to decorate cookies or play with chocolate! I think it was very important to me that being in the kitchen didn’t feel like work or something you had to do or a chore but a reward that you are finished with homework and get to help with the fun stuff.”
How do you see your creations as perfect for kids?
“Children have the most creative and imaginative minds, and I think they are drawn to colors and textures and well SPRINKLES! There’s something very playful about everything I do and part of it is because I myself am just a big kid at heart! I absolutely love seeing kids’ reactions to my creations and hearing about all the things they see that we don’t even think about! My book The Power of Sprinkles, for example, is a cookbook, but I am constantly seeing videos of children who can’t read yet fake reading the book and enjoying it more than anyone!”
Any tips in the kitchen for parents that are introducing their little ones to baking?
“Make it fun! Use different colors encourage creativity and themes. Not everything needs to be perfect and don’t be afraid to make the mess! You can always clean up later!”
How do you get your colors so bright and how can people at home follow suit?
“I use gel food coloring which tends to be brighter than water-based dyes. You can also find my exact ones in my collection with Williams-Sonoma! There’s even a kit with all the sprinkles, cake mix and frosting included!”
Do you think your recipes are easy for any parent?
“Yes, totally!, Don’t be afraid of baking if you are a first-time baker and want to start from scratch. GO FOR IT! If you mess up, cover it in sprinkles. If you want to start a little easier, it’s OK to start with box mix and take it from there. The important thing is that you are making it and having fun!”
The recipes in The Power of Sprinkles are broken down step-by-step, foolproof for even beginner bakers. Her cakes, like the classic explosion cake, require only a few basic baking ingredients and items, too.
Ingredients you’ll need: vanilla cake mix (gluten-free version here), food coloring gel in various shades to achieve the six-layered rainbow look, cream-cheese frosting, a piping bag and more sprinkles than you can count. You can also grab the entire Flour Shop Rainbow Explosion Cake Kit here.
From there, committed bakers can take a stab at her other wild cakes, which come in the form of slabs of sushi, pizza pies, hamburgers, donuts and the delicious list goes on.
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