Alone again on her birthday, a witch decides to bake a cake girl for for company. Cake Girl could be Cinderella and the Witch, the wicked stepmother, for soon Cake Girl is being bossed about and given plenty of housework to do. Witch threatens to eat Cake Girl, but Cake Girl thinks quickly and distracts Witch by asking about her birthday party.
said the Witch,
“I’m not having a party.”
Her hat spun round
and she turned away.
“No one likes me,” she said
It transpires that Witch’s magic is useless when it comes to making friends as she does not know how to be nice. Cake Girl then helps her discover her kind and friendly side through helping each other out, dancing and singing (with a little but of magical fun thrown in along the way), and before long they are become true friends and it turns out to be “the best birthday either of them had ever had.”
The idea behind this story is lovely – a little bit of kindness can go a long way to transforming someone’s day, and even someone’s heart. This truism is explored in a gentle and clear (but never earnest) way as Cake Girl shows rather than tells Witch about nice things to do together.
Whilst I like the meat of the story, the actual storytelling isn’t the reason why I’d love to own a copy of this book. Rather, it is the illustrations that make this book really worth seeking out. If you liked the look of Halibut Jackson (my review is here), you won’t be disappointed here – again there are great details in the clothing (especially the hats and shoes), and the flowers, and the use primarily of oranges, greens, browns and black give this book a halloweeny feel (although it would be fine to read at any time of year – indeed, for any birthday – no mention of Halloween is actually made).
The magical element and detailed illustrations, combined with the opportunity to bake a cake made sure this book was a hit with both girls. I don’t think it is quite as wonderful as Halibut Jackson, The Robot and the Bluebird, or Whale (which I reviewed here), but it’s still a lovely, fun book worth finding (and worth all the calories – see below!).
So you’ve guessed it. We simply had to make our own Cake Girl, which we renamed Cacao Girl seeing as she HAD to be made out of chocolate cake. We used this recipe:
225g (8 oz) soft butter
225g (8 oz) caster sugar
250g (9 oz) self raising flour
25g (1 oz) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 plastic doll
225g (8oz) soft butter
25g (1oz) cocoa
25g (1oz) icing sugar
A selection of sweets/chocolates/biscuits to decorate Cacao Girl’s skirt.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4.
2. Liberally grease and then flour an ovenproof bowl, having made sure that the bowl is deep enough to fit (most of) the legs of the plastic doll you will later insert into the cake.
3. Mix all the cake ingredients together (we did this in a blender). When well mixed, pour into your bowl and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 50 minutes – this will depend partly on the depth of your bowl. It’s better to over cook this cake than undercook it – and don’t worry about it being too dry – it gets slathered in icing and so can take a bit of drying out!
4. When the cake is cooked (a skewer comes out clean) leave it until it is entirely cool – this may take a couple of hours. The top of the cake will probably be a bit lumpy – simply slice this bit off so that there is a level surface. Invert the bowl and let the cake fall out.
5. Wash your doll and push into the cake! Don’t worry if your doll’s legs aren’t completely covered by cake – you can use the icing to build up height (and to cover the doll’s torso). To make the icing, simply beat all the icing ingredients together. Our icing wasn’t too sweet – given the amount of chocolate used in decorating Cacao Girl we didn’t add much sugar to the icing.
6. Decorate Cacao Girl’s skirt, trying not to eat too many chocolates along the way…
7. Eat (Cacao girl), drink (a hot coffee), and be merry!
Cake Girl: ** (2 stars)
Music we’ve enjoyed whilst baking includes:
Other activities that would go well with this book include:
We had lots of fun making this crazy cake. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever baked?