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Submitted by: Elizabeth Kepple

When my niece, Shelley, turned 11, (since we share a love of sweet things), I decided to bake her a layer cake and include all of the flavors we love. With a multitude of fillings, frostings and candies, the cake inspired passionate debates among the children at her party. They argued about which parts of the cake tasted good and which bad, which flavors worked together and which did not, which colors matched and which clashed, and, most importantly, how each error should be corrected using different ingredients.

After hearing their complaints I challenged them to make a better cake. As a group, they voted on the best ingredients and the best order of arrangement. We listed the foods and tools we needed and marched to the store to buy our supplies. Back in the kitchen, we separated into five teams: one to bake the cake layers and four others to make the fillings.

We worked in our separate groups all afternoon until it came time to assemble the cake. Each team directed the assembly of their section. The cake bakers laid out the first bare layer and the first filling team spread their filling. The cake bakers added the second bare layer and the second filling team spread their filling and so on. I spread the final layer of frosting, and since Shelley was the birthday girl she helped me to add the final candy garnishes. By the time we finished everyone was ready for a second round of birthday cake, and the reaction was unanimous: it was a hit!

The recipe that resulted that day follows. I call it Shelley's Five-Layer Birthday Cake. I hope that other groups (regardless of age or setting) will enjoy the act of formulating, mixing, assembling and eating this wonderful treat as much as we did. They too will come to understand that the real treat lies in the process of creating something special together.

What You Need:
Cake Ingredients: Filling Ingredients: Frosting and Garnish Ingredients: What You Do:

Peanut Butter Cup Dessert Mix

Chocolate Dessert Mix

Almond Paste




Final Frosting and Garnish:

Recommended Books/Products:

Kids Cooking
by: Time-Life Books
Scrumptious Recipes for Cooks Ages 9 to 13

Kid's Party Cookbook
by: Penny Warner
Recipes for all sorts of foods that kids like and can fix themselves or with minimal help from parents.

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