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Sacramento cartoon shows preschoolers how to bake healthier cakes

Super Why (Watch Super Why Online - yidio.com) is an animated TV program that helps kids learn to read. And sometimes nutrition is used, for example in the recipe for applesauce carrot cake, which does not include added table sugar, table salt, baking powder, yeast, or baking soda as ingredients in baking the cake. When it comes to showing children healthier nutrition through animated cartoons that teach them to recognize letters, read, and learn about recipes at the same time, you may wish to check out the TV cartoon series "Super Why! | PBS Kids." At least that's what was shown in this Sunday morning's animated cartoon on reading and following a recipe to bake a carrot applesauce birthday cake. You may wish to take a look at "Watch Super Why Online - Find Full Episodes, Reviews & News."

Preschool-age kids learn to bake a carrot applesauce cake from an animated cartoon.
Preschool-age kids learn to bake a carrot applesauce cake from an animated cartoon.
Ayah Kawam's cakes.

The focus is not only on teaching children to read and to follow a recipe, but the emphasis is on dense nutrition as the cake is sweetened with 'mushed' carrots and applesauce used as liquids added to flour. The recipe does call for butter and eggs to go into the cake. For vegans the butter can be substituted by mashed prunes and the two eggs shown in the recipe can be substituted by two tablespoons of flaxseed meal. In Sacramento, check out, "KVIE Kids-SummerSchedule- 2014 - KVIEkids.org."

In the animated cartoon on learning to follow a recipe to bake a birthday cake for a sibling, kids learn where to find information in a cookbook and what type of instruction is in cookbooks, based on recognizing the letters of the alphabet in an ingredient, then learning to recognize the word and see the item in a picture at the same time as learning to bake a cake step-by-step with easy guidelines to follow, suited well for the three to six-year old. The animated cartoon shows the cake iced when it's served, but does not mention any recipe or instruction on how to ice the cake.

In the cartoon, the cake is taken out of the oven by the parent or 'chef' in the cartoon, and then a scene shows the cake being served already iced as a candle is put into the birthday cake, placed on front of a younger sibling, who then blows out the candle. But no mention in the cartoon is made about how to ice the cake, which appears as iced in white with carrot decorative candies on top.

The focus then is on the hand-held computer device which refers to the words, letters, and emphasizes the reading skills and how to look up information wanted, such as how to find a recipe or solve a word puzzle that helps the child understand how to read letters and words related to a goal, such as finding how-to information on a super computer hand-held device that looks like a tablet.

At the same time, the child learns to participate in baking a cake with healthier ingredients, carrots and applesauce, introducing kids to vegetables and fruits at a preschool age. The cake baking also shows the child how to help a sibling, since the cake is baked for a younger sibling's birthday, not merely as a sweet treat for the child doing the mixing and baking or learning. So it promotes the act of creating a healthier edible treat for another person's enjoyment.

There's no mention of sugar or syrups in the cake. The idea of flour is left to the imagination, since there's no insistence on cake flour, white flour, wheat flour or any particular type of flour. For example, if a child is gluten-sensitive, which is not mentioned in the cartoon, garbanzo bean flour, amaranth, quinoa, lentil, almond meal, rice flour, sweet potato flour, or any other non-gluten flour could be used. The cartoon shows a generic container marked 'flour.'

In the cartoon, the ingredients are mixed together in a bowl, poured into a cake pan and baked

The cartoon shows the mom putting the cake into the oven. The animation features a chef whose photo appears on the cookbook cover actually baking the cake. See, "KVIEkids.org - A Place for KVIE kids to learn, play, and grow." The cartoon did not show how to melt the butter before putting it with the eggs and flour, 'mushed' carrots, and applesauce in the bowl and stirring. Nor did it show a whisk or mixer, just a mixing spoon with a long handle.

The carrots, already pureed, came in a jar from a pantry, not a refrigerator. The same steps occurred with a jar of applesauce from a pantry, rather than complicating a cartoon by showing fresh apples being pureed in a blender or food processor, since the audience is presumed to be kids from three to six years old.

To discourage kids from putting things in the oven and turning it on, the oven in the cartoon has no knobs to show kids how to light the oven. And the storyline shows the part of putting the cake pan with the batter into the oven being done by the mom. Noticeably, the mom makes no gestures of turning on the oven, which doesn't give the age three to six year old audience any ideas of what knobs turn on an oven, just in case kids try to "do this at home" when a parent isn't in the room supervising.

Even though the objective is to teach kids how to read and provide a word puzzle to figure out the main point of the story line or 'plot' of the cartoon, the puzzle answer is the word 'recipe'

Kids think of what letters to fill into a magic super computer to complete the word 'recipe,' which is the main point of the story, how to read a recipe and follow it to bake a birthday carrot applesauce cake for a younger sibling. The emphasis of the show is learning to read letters and words with a purpose, to learn how to follow a simple recipe on baking an apple sauce carrot cake.

What's healthy nutrition about the cartoon is that the ingredients of the cake are healthy, that is, healthier than most cake recipes you find in daily and Sunday newspaper recipes for various types of carrot cakes. Applesauce is used as the sweetener. Since carrots also are somewhat sweet, the two together in a cake are sweet enough not to condition preschool-to-first grade-age taste buds to crave intense sweetness found in table sugar, which usually gets added to commercial cakes, at least in most cookbook cake recipes.

Noteworthy is the instruction that kids don't have to add any ingredient to the cake to make it rise such as baking powder, which usually gets added to commercial cakes and pancake mix

Instead, the two eggs in the cartoon seem to be used to make the cake rise, at least to the height of the average brownie or chewy cookie. Historically, eggs were the only ingredients used to make cakes rise before baking powder became popular in commercial cakes. On the other hand, natural yeast spores from fermented bread or grains were used to make cakes and bread rise in past centuries, when eggs weren't available to make sponge cakes.

If you check out the recipe site, "Carrot Cake Recipe Recipe : Food Network," you can see that the stick of butter used in the cartoon wasn't necessary at all to have that much saturated fat in a carrot cake. The reason is because you can replace the oil or melted whipped fat with plain applesauce (plus an additional 1/4 cup), then add about 1/2 to 1 cup of pureed carrots.

This makes a denser cake but it's super moist. The recipe also calls for 2 ounces room temperature margarine. But since if you don't know whether or not the margarine you have contains transfats, it's not necessary to add oils or fats to cakes with the exception of ground flaxseed meal, which takes the place of eggs and contains omega 3 fatty acids (oils) of its own.

The recipe at this website calls for 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. But the recipe in the cartoon doesn't mention adding any salt, which is great for salt-sensitive people whose blood pressure rises (or kidney issues are affected) from eating salt or baking soda added to foods, since most vegetables have their own natural salt the body uses, since some salt found naturally in foods for most people is enough, unless you're an athlete who loses lots of salt while exercising and needs electrolyte replacements from something more than natural foods.