If there is ever an iconic toy to American little girls, it’s got to be the Easy Bake Oven. When I mention the name, every woman I know practically swoons. Either it was one of their favorite toys or it was the one they coveted.
I’m lucky to be in the first category. Technically, I think it was my sister’s Easy Bake Oven, but what’s hers is mine, right? (spoken like a true little sister).
In fact, as I was talking to my sister and reminiscing about “our” Easy Bake Oven, we both got excited about it. We remembered exactly what it looked like and the exact color. Turquoise. Clearly, we were children of the 70s.
What’s even more important than the toy itself are the memories we have associated with it. All I had to do was tell my sister I had a question about our Easy Bake Oven for a post I was writing and she said “Oh, are you going to tell the chocolate cake story?” “What chocolate cake story?” I asked innocently (I seriously don’t remember it). Luckily, she regaled me. My sister’s words:
“I made a chocolate cake in the Easy Bake Oven and I was very excited about it (maybe it was my first one?). So I went to get Mommie to show her. When we came back to the kitchen, my cake was gone and you had chocolate around your mouth.”
As a rule, I don’t LOL or any such nonsense. But I definitely laughed out loud. We both agreed that I was probably 3 years old and didn’t quite have my wits about me. I’m still developing them, by the way.
Side note: Just how do children always end up with a ring of chocolate around their mouth?
I love how our oven looked like an oven. I thought I was really baking. Even as an older child, I hadn’t quite grasped the science of baking. I just thought you threw in some ingredients and out came a magical cake. I remember playing with a friend and we started experimenting with our own cake concoction. It involved Cheerios, oatmeal, and applesauce, among other things. (It almost makes me sound like a pioneer in healthy cooking). Turns out that a hot light bulb cannot magically create a cake out of anything.
Still, it never lost its allure over the years, to me or to little girls everywhere. As the years rolled by, it turned from a side load turquoise oven, to a front load fuchsia oven, to a series of groovy microwave-looking ovens. Many were recalled over the years. I can’t imagine why. And then we come to the modern day, coincidentally turquoise, Easy Bake Oven.
Why do I have said Easy Bake Oven? Because dreams of our youth die hard.
My son is 3 years old. He’ll be 4 in less than 3 weeks. I thought that was close enough to the 8+ age limit on the box. Plus it was on sale at Christmas time for $18 at Target. Plus I had a $5 off coupon for it. Who could say no?
Evan likes to bake in the kitchen with me. I let him taste the ingredients. He likes sugar, butter, and brown sugar. Apparently, he doesn’t really have a taste for flour (hey, he WANTED to try it; it’s how they learn). He’s graduated to helping me measure and pour. He’s quite good at it when he doesn’t get distracted by sugar.
We work on technique and cleanliness and all the things a good baker should know. So why wouldn’t I get him his very own Easy Bake Oven to relive my glory days?
For $13, I decided that Santa would bring the Easy Bake Oven. Here’s why. In my family, Santa brings unwrapped toys and sets them out for Christmas morning. Since the Easy Bake Oven came in a box with girls all over it, I thought it might be wise if Santa took it out of the box and set it out. Wise move.
Last week, Evan went back to his sitter’s house and found out his little friend Avery also got an Easy Bake Oven. He was so excited to tell me this: “Mommy, Avery got the GIRL Easy Bake Oven and I got the BOY Easy Bake Oven!”
That’s right, son.
So we set up the oven today and baked a cake of miniscule proportions. And in case you’re feeling nostalgic about your favorite toy or still coveting the one you never had, here’s what I can tell you:
– The cakes are still cooked by a lightbulb.
Seriously, it’s the lightbulb that heats some strange metallic chamber but it’s still a lightbulb.
– The cakes are so small that you might confuse it for a cookie. A small cookie.
Thinking back, either the pans were bigger or I was smaller. Or both.
– The cakes are, well, gross.
We only tried the yellow cake mix with chocolate frosting but I still feel qualified to judge.
However, all of this aside, we are still making childhood memories. I just wonder how many of his friends will someday covet his Easy Bake Oven.
You know you had one. Or wanted one. Share your favorite Easy Bake Oven memory with me. Just for fun.
Wow. I love this. First, I have been holding off on buying an Easy Bake for my girl, who is 5 because the recommended age is like 8+, I couldn’t really figure out why, but I’m kind of a whimp when it comes to that stuff, but if YOU have one, I’m totes getting one.
My Easy Bake story is this – I had one, it was pink. My family won it for me in a green stamp type contest being held at a local drugstore. I loved that thing. One of my prize possessions is a photo of me proudly holding up my first cake, which of course was raw in the middle but it looked good on the plate!
Also, if you google “Make your own easy bake mix” there are a ton of recipes so you don’t have to keep buying the gross mix.
Up until my son was 2, I was a little fanatical about ages on toys. Then I realized it was just for liability purposes. It’s kind of a joke. I’ll buy him something, tell him to find the “age limit” and then say “Oh, sorry! You’re TOO YOUNG.” Of course, that would be torture for most kids but he totally gets my sense of humor by now.
Thanks for the tip on the make your own easy bake. I had the idea in my head (there’s got to be a better way) but just hadn’t googled it yet. Good to know!
Funny you post this. My mother got this for my 5 year old daughter this Christmas. We made the Strawberry cake on Sunday. I say “we” but it was pretty much just me and the 5 year old supervised.
It had to be pink, made in the shape of a heart & iced in pink frosting ( we used the whipped topping w/ red food dye). I followed the directions and it came out half baked, I proceeded to shove it back in (lost half the top somewhere in the machine) and came back out hard as a rock. I’m not sure of the shape, as half fell out & the other half had to be pried out with a fork. The frosting needless to say, was like glue~ both in consistency and taste.
For whatever reason, my memories of my easy bake were wonderful. My hope is that we can at least get one edible cake out of it!
Umm, yeah. “We” made the cake in the same way. As we were mixing the batter, I almost had to laugh at how small it was. It came out dry and hard and sickeningly sweet. I, too, had to pry it out but oh the memories….
I love this post! I too had an Easy Bake by proxy (it was my older sister’s) and I remember mixing sometimes mixing 2 batters instead of just one…one to bake, and one to eat as-is (we were gross kids, though I do still like to lick the batter bowl once it’s all poured out in normal baking projects…). Growing up, we had these black berry bushes that grew around our house, so sometimes we would add the berries to our Easy Bake Cakes. Thus began my obsession with buying boxed mixes an adding a bunch of various ingredients to enhance the flavor of my confectionery concoctions!
Seriously, I’m glad you bought your son an Easy Bake Oven. A lot of people get upset because yes, it is marketed towards girls. You’ve proved that it doesn’t matter who is depicted on the outside: Everyone should grow up with an Easy Bake!
Hmmm, I like the sound of your obsession. I still think the best tasting cakes come out of a box.
And I have to admit, I don’t follow gender stereotypes but if the oven had been pink, I don’t think he would have gone for it 😉
This reminds me of how natalie was begging for the cupcake and ice cream maker for months that come christmas time that was all she can think of getting from santa and we also found it on sale at target around after thanksgiving.She was thrilled to receive it.We tried it together very messsy I should say, I dont think its as great as the commercial shows it and yes it was supposedto be for8 yrsoldand above.It tasted yummy and even Melisa ate it and now its justanother toy in the shelf hahah
Every time I buy a toy, I think of the space it will take up when it no longer gets played with. Then I compare that to the cost of the toy. Like I inferred, this was for Evan but it also was for me. I had fun reliving it. And Evan wanted the cupcake maker too! I think they always have a fantasy about how great a toy will be and it never lives up to their expectations.
I always wanted to get my sons Easy Bake Ovens but they were never interested. My sister just gave one to my daughter for Christmas and the boys CAN NOT wait to use it (they’re 11 & 12). I’ve, so far, refrained from saying “well, you *could* have had one but…”
Oh, my sister got it at Target also. Every time I’d see one I’d call her “on sale at Wal-Mart for $19.99” then “At Target for “19.99 but there’s a coupon so don’t go to Wal-Mart!”
But who really needs more than one Easy Bake Oven in the house… hey, I’m 40 and I was excited to play with it!!!
As a child, I played baseball, and football and soccer. I laughed at the girly-wusses who had easy-bake ovens.
But I wanted one.
In my secret heart I wanted one so bad.
When the Queasy-bake came out, I thought I’d struck paydirt. I could have an easy-bake oven and my dignity too.
But alas, I was something like 12 years old. Past the age for toy-like toys.
And my parents didn’t want me melting G.I.Joes on the lightbulb anyways.
I had to google that Quesy Bake. I thought it was just some clever play on words. I think I vaguely remember that. I think I was probably that age and still asking for the whole Strawberry Shortcake doll set (I was a late bloomer). I still played with my brother’s GI Joes though, too.
Never had one. Never wanted one. This must be why I hate cooking??
I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.
I wanted one of those so bad. Never got one.
When I was about twelve I slept over at a friend’s house and she had one (It was way in the back of her closet, but we found it looking for something else) and so she took pity on me and agreed to “bake”
Now, maybe the packets of ingredients were old (I’m not sure if we even looked for an expiration date on the little packets), but (and this is coming from someone who never met a cookie that I didn’t like) the cakes were GROSS!
The grossness factor kind of made up for the fact that I didn’t have my own Easy Bake Oven……but not completely.
Also, I wonder if that one bad experience with the gross cakes is what put me off of cooking. Because I’m sure that I probably couldn’t make a cake that was much better than those little ones, even in a full size oven with proper, non-expired ingredients.
See? Almost every little girl wanted one. I’m going to go on a quest to see if I can make something gourmet with that Easy Bake Oven. Then you’ll know if it really is your culinary skills 😉
I had one and LOVED IT! I forget what color it was though. My daughter received one last year for Christmas and we use it about once a month. The cookies are decent, the pretzels are pretty good but we don’t make the cakes. NOT GOOD LOL
Pretzels?!? I MUST know how to make these pretzels. Seriously.
i “borrowed” (as in she left it at my house and i never gave it back) my bff’s easy back oven… i think we only made one cake because neither of our parents would buy more mix… it was a waste of money. So we then decided to make our own treats… american singles on crackers… pb on crackers… stuff like that… it was always fun.. and messy 🙂
No more mix. Yes, that sounds familiar. That might have even been why I “improvised” with my cake ingredients.
A truer statement has never been said – Dreams of our youth die hard. –
I ALWAYS wanted a EBO and never got one. So glad they still make them. My son who will be 2 1/2 next Christmas might just find one under the Christmas tree. 🙂
Really fun post.
I still want the Sit N Spin, even though I’m quite sure that at my age it would make me thoroughly nauseous.
Love the post!!! Love, love, love it.
My Easy Bake Oven (EBO) story isn’t as cute. I got an EBO the year my parents decided to give me a major Christmas, mostly because they were breaking up. So I got tons of glorious toys. Some being a cabbage patch doll (the year they came out), a boombox, and the wonderful EBO.
I was so excited, so me and my cabbage patch baby doll began baking away and by the end of Christmas day I had cooked my way through the entire supply of baked goods that day. Lack of parent supervision can do that to a child. So I was extremely giddy that I made all this not-so-amazing baked goods. But who cares, it was fun. However, my parents felt they did their duty by providing me with an awesome Christmas day and never, ever bought me more packets to make more not-so-amazing baked goods.
More parents who never bought refills! I guess we didn’t have the internet back in those days to just google how to make our own. Too bad baking isn’t really magic.
(P.S. My dad bought me a Cabbage Patch doll the year they were hot from “a guy he knew at work.” It was an imitation of the worst kind!)
OMG! Now, that is so funny. Probably not back then.
I tried to bake my Shrinky Dinks in my Easy Bake oven. I’ll never forget that smell.
Key word: “tried.” I once wanted melted cheese so bad that I put a slice of American cheese on a paper towel put it in the toaster oven. Thank God I never burned my house down.
You are right I just swooned reading this. I never thought of getting the boys an Easy Bake Oven b/c they love to help DH bake (he’s the house chef). Hmmm maybe J’s b-day in June. However, he’ll be 7. They have to wait until A is old enough to get one.
Unless you boys are gender-insensitive, just make sure they don’t see the girls all over the box!
Funny, in my little girl brain I was absolutely certain that these “fine pastries” of mine were something fit for Gordon Ramsey’s taste buds. In hindsight they must have been as awful as the comments above describe. Be that as it may my Easy Bake oven is and shall always be near and dear to me. Such power I had in my tiny little palms to bake stuff just like mom did. Perhaps more importantly I got to EAT SWEETS, something that normally was not allowed in my home. But my mother seemed to take on a you baked it you eat it philosophy with that toy. If only I’d gotten my covetous hands on an etch-a-sketch and a Lite-Brite then my trifecta of toy domination would have been complete. Thanks for a fun walk down memory lane.
Girl, I grew up a sugar junkie so there was no question about eating cakes in my house. I honestly have no memory of actually eating them as a child (despite what my sister says).
As for the trifecta? I had all of them. Lite Brite? Awesome. Etch-a-Sketch? Awesome. For the times. Sorry you missed out.
Love it. My niece got one last year and it was so much fun, but oh my goodness, it was the tiniest pseudo-cookie-cake EVER. Love that you got one. I’m thinking of it for my will be 4 in Feb-little one, as well. 😉
REQUIRES ADULT SUPERVISION but it still is fun 🙂
I started looking for pics of mine. It was when they changed the design to more convention oven style them a stove. And there was a slider dial on the front. i can’t remember if it did anything or not, i just remember food taking FOREVER. Mine was either beige or white with orange yellow and brown accents. My daughter did not love her oven as much as I loved mine. She had a pink and purple one that looked like a microwave. She used it twice. I think we still have it.
The cakes only take 12 minutes but I’m sure in kid time that was forever 🙂
Kids today have so much more than we did. I remember getting excited to play with my grandma’s calculator!
You better believe I had one. And I have one now, too. In fact, my girls keep getting them. I have an unopened one in my basement. I think I may have to have an Easy Bake Oven recipe contest and giveaway. LOL!!!
I LOVE that idea. I would totally help you promote that giveaway and it would be so much fun!!
I didn’t get an Easy Bake til I was in college. I love cooking and am still in love with Barbie (she’s pretty), and since it was a Barbie Easy Bake my roommates figured it was a sure thing. And did I use it? Why yes I did! At the ripe old age of 22.
I almost said that the iconic toy for every little girl was the Easy Bake Oven or the big Barbie head that you could put make up on and curl her hair. I was a super big Barbie fan so I’m with you all the way!
So funny, not sure if you saw it but the guys on Cake Boss used an easy bake for a small competition they had, it was hilarious.
I did NOT see that but I would love to see if they could make anything decent with a lightbulb!
I certainly remember my first Easy-Bake oven which I believe also belonged to my sister (younger). But by the first use I was no longer mesmerized by it. You see I’m the oldest of 8 and by the time I got the oven there was about 5 of us and one of those tiny cakes was never enough for everyone to get more then a fallen crumb. Plus we’d always end up spilling half the mix and this before my Dad got out of the military and started his own company so he hated buying the mixes for it.
My 9 yro sister just got a cake decorating machine/easy bake oven thing for Christmas and she was so excited for it. I just laughed when she talked about all the stuff she was going to make.
Oh yes. The dreams we have of the toys we get. Like my “gourmet” cake that never came to fruition. Our little family of 3 barely got a forkful of the cake before it crumbled away to nothingness.
I had an Easy Bake Oven when I was little. I think that’s when I learned I couldn’t cook. The outside of the cakes were done and pretty, the inside was doughy. LOL I also remember that back then the trays were much smaller than they are now. I’m glad they increased the size. It used to be a lot of work for such a tiny treat, you couldn’t really share with a friend without baking over and over. Times sure have changed, I need to get my 8yo daughter one now.
I love that you bought this for your son! I will too (if I have a son that is). I actually didn’t have one and don’t remember any friends having one to make me want it. My sister and I had a Creepy Crawler maker. Same idea with the light bulb I believe, but it made little rubbery insects. I loved it! I made a bunch and sold them at school in grade 3 haha.
Great story! Maybe Evan will grow up to be a world-renown baker! I, too, broke convention in the early 70s by getting not one – but two – toy ovens! And by the way, in this day and age, what’s with Hasbro and their outdated design of the Easy-Bake oven? I think it should look like a commercial Viking or Wolf range – with girls AND boys pictured on the box!
The only downside to the Easy Bake Oven is that anything you make tastes like a stale cracker! My son still loves to bake with me in the REAL kitchen. And he still asks for a play kitchen for Christmas. BTW, I think a Viking range design would be awesome!
I am actually only a teenager, but I got my first Easy Bake oven when I was five. It was one of those pink ones with a stove top. I remember being so proud of that messy little chocolate cake. I had added to much water to the white frosting and so I coated the whole counter! I was so mad when they took back my oven until my doting old neighbors bought me a brand new one that looked like a microwave. i would TOTALLY recommend getting your son or daughter one of these.