This year, rumbling thunder and chocolate thundercake became our newest tradition. “Family traditions reveal what you value enough to repeat, and if done with love, build warm, happy associations.” (Daniel Willingham) With our toddler rapidly maturing, I recognize the tenderness of time. These first years are the baseline, the foundation, the starting ground on which most memories will be founded. High stakes, yeah?
Not really. It is a simple pleasure. And sometimes, it just requires a little baking.
The story is an encouragement for the wee one afraid of the storm. Young granddaughter gains encouraged bravery from her babushka as they gather thundercake ingredients. They count the seconds from lightning to thunder and judge the storm distance. This is a real tactic that can be taught and used.
At the end, the grandmother recounts the ways she moved forward during cake baking in bravery: facing nelly peck hen, not shying away from ol’ kick cow, climbing the trellis etc. Though she hid from the thunder, she did not fear these things. She can call herself brave, especially toward a sound!
I have been pleased by the excitement some pitter-patter has caused for my toddler. A call for chocolate, as it were. The rejoicing over showers, instead of tears, is his little sense of bravery as well.
How I prepped for Bunny Book Club
As long as I have what I need for chocolate icing, and a few tomatoes on hand, prep for a rainy day is low. Now, rain in the deep south can be scarce enough to make this a real treat. Not so for northerners! That being said, I will often keep dipping chocolate on hand so we can transform extra thundercake into cake pops. Undipped, these freeze incredibly well. Dipped, they eat incredibly well. This is an additional opportunity to bake and share.
1 cup of shortening, or coconut oil
1 ¾ cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, separated
1 cup of cold water
⅓ cup of pureed tomatoes
2/12 cup cake flour (*)
½ cup of cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp of baking soda
1 tsp salt
- Separate egg whites from yolks and beat whites to stiff peaks.
- Combine yolks, shortening (or oil), sugar, vanilla, water and tomatoes.
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into wet ingredients
- Fold egg whites into batter
- Bake, cool and frost with chocolate icing.
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup cocoa
2 – 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 Teaspoon vanilla
- Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add the cocoa, stir until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove the pan from the heat and place the cocoa mixture into a medium size bowl. Let it cool slightly.
- Add the milk and vanilla alternately with the powdered sugar to the bowl and beat with an electric mixer or whisk until you have the spreading consistency you desire.
What can our toddler learn?
“Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) Thunder will be the most gentle thing your child may ever fear. But, teaching them how to handle that emotion and who they can trust will carry them through many tougher fears! And just when they reach a tipping point, they can pull out their mama’s thundercake recipe and taste the courage they learned as a child.
We see most of our rain during the fall, which makes for lots of reading time. For more fall books, check out our “Fall Reading List”.
Supplemental reading list
“Thunder Trucks” by Cheryl Klein
“When the Storm Comes” by Linda Ashman
“Franklin and the Thunderstorm” by Paulette Bourgeois