By Patty Pie
It’s tough to improve on perfection, especially if that perfection is a toy that holds fond childhood memories.
The toy I always wanted more than anything was an Easy Bake oven. I never had one of my own, but one of my friends did. I am not sure who I liked better, my BFF Heather Thompson, or her Easy Bake Oven. When she called to ask me to come over and play with it, I ran like the wind, not even bothering to button up my coat against the frigid winter air. There’s nothing like the sheer bliss of watching through the tiny window, as your very own tiny cakes, mixed in tiny bowls, rise and bake to perfection.
Fast forward to last month ( and more years than I care to count), when my daughter wanted an Easy Bake oven for her birthday. I am not sure who was more excited about it, her or me.
When searching for where to buy it, there was quite a range of prices. At some stores, it was over $50. I was able to get mine at WalMart for about 36 dollars. The first thing I noticed was the new funky, retro styling. This is not the 1970’s classic green goddess. It’s pink, purple, sleek and curvy. It looks like a cross between a toaster and a microwave. No assembly required is a big bonus for parents. It’s ready to go, right out of the box. It comes with 2 baking mixes.
The second thing I noticed is that replacement mixes are quite pricey – 6 or 7 bucks each.This seems like a lot considering you can buy a full size cake mix for 2 dollars. But a quick internet search will turn up many recipes for mixes you can make yourself for pennies. Confident I had found the oven for a good price, I headed home. The reaction from my daughter is what every parent hopes for when giving their child a gift! “This is the best birthday gift ever.” she exclaimed! She says that about every gift she receives; she is sweet that way.
Now that we have all the warm fuzzies out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The new version of the Easy Bake Oven does not use a light bulb, and since incandescent light bulbs have gone the way of the dodo bird, that’s probably a good thing. However, also gone is the nice little window to watch the cakes rise while baking that I remember so fondly. But the thing of it is, my little girl never knew an Easy Bake Oven with a window, so she doesn’t miss the window. For her, you push the unbaked cake in one side of the oven, and it magically comes out the other end cooked! Also gone is the iconic round pan. Included with the oven is a rectangular pan and small cupcake tin.
The heating element seems to be hidden well within the cavity of the oven so the outside never gets hot. A little warm on the top but nothing close to hot. One reviewer on Amazon said that the new safety features “suck the fun” out of the oven but for this Mom I’d rather have the safety features than burned fingers. The “pan tool” keeps little fingers from ever getting close to anything hot. You use the “pan tool” to push the cake into the oven and to remove it from the oven. Twenty minutes to warm up the oven, about ten minutes to bake (depending on the recipe), five minutes to cool (which happens inside the oven), then you remove the cake from the unit. If you do try the homemade recipes for the oven be sure not to over-fill the pan or you will have a big mess on your hands.
Last but not least, when the front of the baking mix package says “Food Shown larger than actual size” they aren’t kidding. Think nickle-sized cookies and cupcakes. When my daughter wanted me to help her frost her creations, I felt a little bit like Gulliver in Lilliput. The directions are clear and easy for her to read at 6 years old, and she is able to use the oven on her own with Mom keeping a watchful eye.
All in all, for the little baker in your life, the Easy Bake Oven remains a great gift, although Mommy may be longing for the good old days when you could watch that little cake bake!
Mom rates this toy about a 7/10.
Daughter rates this toy, and I quote “a one million out of 10”.
Disclaimer: This review is personal opinion. ImperfectWomen.com was not paid nor compensated in any way for this product review. The product was purchased by the author. This review should not be considered an endorsement of the product.