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Baking with My Three-Year-Old and Lemon Loaf

I’ve been baking lately. A lot. I know we’re all supposed to be on the straight and narrow after the holidays, so I’m not sure what’s come over me. Except that my three-year-old keeps making requests.

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It would be one thing if he constantly requested cookies, but he doesn’t. He wants muffins and different types of loaves. I’m not sure where this is all coming from, but then he wants one more thing: to make them with me. Well, how am I supposed to say no?

Baking with my three-year-old is a challenge, to say the least. I would love to tell you that he has natural skills in the kitchen, but he doesn’t. He just wants to do this with me because he sees me in the kitchen all the time. So, I’ve had to figure out what he can do. He likes to stir – it seems this is the basis of baking all things, and that is where I’ve started.

dba5f609-1dc2-41b6-9ce7-2f466030e4a4I’ve discovered that baking with my toddler is very different from my usual time in the kitchen. It is slow. It is messy. It is, at times, frustrating. He wants to do more than I want him to do, more than is safe for him to do. While I want to encourage him to continue enjoying his new-found culinary skills, I also want to be sure he is not harmed in any way. This might seem like an obvious thing to say, but my little guy is enthusiastic, eager, and stubborn. Oh, he’s so stubborn. He simply wants to do it all!

I know at this point, you want a recipe, and it’s coming…but I’m writing this to ask for advice. I love that he loves to be in the kitchen with me, and I definitely want to nurture it. What are tasks you would or have given a toddler in the kitchen?

Now, here’s something I made with Mr. Alex, my toddler, last weekend: Lemon Loaf! (*Recipe borrowed and somewhat altered from



  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Glaze:

  • The juice from 1 large lemon (minus the tablespoon used above)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and sour cream until thoroughly combined.
  3. Whisk in the oil.
  4. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until it is just combined – don’t overmix. There will be some lumps.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow the loaf to cool for 30 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool completely before glazing.
  8. For the glaze, in a small bowl, pour in the remaining lemon juice and whisk the powdered sugar in 1 tablespoon at a time until it is the consistency you want. Drizzle over the top of the bread.

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