Cake in a Mug

Cake in a Mug

Short description
Full description
Short description

Cake in a Mug

Type of resource: Websites

Web address

Language: English


Investigating how cakes are made

Scientific concept introduced

Exploring the science in making a cake ie:
- identifying objects as being in liquid or solid form
- making observations and predictions during an experiment
- idenifying characteristics of an object

Creative and critical thinking

Critical Thinking:


2. Prediction

Creative Thinking:

1. Imagining

2. Making

3. Curiosity

4. Self-expression

Mathematical reasoning

1. Measuring
2. Counting

Scientific thinking

1. Questioning
2. Observing
3. Explaining
4. Predicting
5. Planning
6. Drawing conclusions

Learning how to learn

1. Active listening
2. Self-efficacy in learning
3. Fun in learning


1. Cooking skills of pouring, mixing, whisking and stirring
2. Artistic skills
3. Collaborative skill of sharing and turn-taking
4. Oral language - listening and following instructions
5. Following rules of safety

Full description

Cake in a Mug

Overall aims

• to enable pupils to investigate how cakes are made
• to develop pupils’ skills in listening and following instructions
• to develop pupils’ cooking skills of pouring, mixing, whisking and stirring
• to develop pupils’ skills in observing and predicting
• to develop pupils’ skills in sharing and turn-taking
• to develop pupils’ cooking skill of measuring

Vocabulary - keywords should be understood

Cake, spongy, sugar, sweet, mix, stir, pour, bake, whisk, batter, rise, microwave.

Expected learning outcomes (operational aims)

The child will be enabled to:
• follow instructions for the investigation
• identify characteristics of cake
• identify objects as being in liquid or solid form
• identify objects with respect to their size – large, small, larger, smaller
• practice the skills of pouring, mixing, whisking and stirring
• crack an egg
• practice the skill of measuring using a tablespoon
• make observations and predictions during the experiment

STEM skills - to which the learning unit is related to


• Questioning
• Observing
• Explaining
• Predicting
• Planning
• Imagining
• Curiosity
• Measuring
• Counting
• Making
• Drawing conclusions


• Active listening
• Self-efficacy in learning
• Self-expression
• Cooking skills of pouring, mixing, whisking and stirring
• Artistic skills
• Fun in learning
• Collaborative skill of sharing and turn-taking
• Following instructions
• Following rules of safety

Teaching methodologies/activity outline

1. Draw a cake on the board and create a mind map eliciting properties and characteristics of cake, for example - cakes often taste sweet; sugar makes cake taste sweet; cakes are often spongy; we make cakes by baking them; we eat cake at celebrations like birthdays; there are lots of types of cakes - chocolate, carrot, banana.
2. In pairs ask pupils to discuss what their favourite type of cake is.
3. Inform pupils that they will be making a small cake in a mug today and baking it in a microwave. Elicit pupils’ understanding of a microwave.


(Ask pupils to work in groups of 4 or 5)


Materials: (per group)
• A large mug
• A tablespoon
• A fork
• 4 tbsp. self-raising flour
• 4 tbsp. of sugar
• 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
• 1 medium egg
• 3 tbsp. milk
• 3 tbsp. of sunflower oil


Ask pupils in their groups, taking turns, to do the following:
1. Measure out the flour, sugar and cocoa powder and add to the mug. Ask pupils to identify each of these ingredients as a solid or liquid.
2. Stir well with the fork so that all the ingredients are mixed.
3. Carefully crack the egg and add to the mug.

4. Now use the fork to whisk in the egg. (Don’t worry if the mixture is still a little dry).
5. Measure out the milk and oil. Ask pupils to identify each of these ingredients as a solid or liquid. What similarities do they notice with the solids - flour, sugar and cocoa? (Even though they are solids, they can be poured too like liquids.)
6. Pour the milk and oil into the mug.
7. Whisk again with the fork.
Sample questions: Can you recall what ingredients we used? What does the mixture look like now? What do you think will happen when we bake the cake in the microwave? Do you think the mixture will look the same after we bake it?
8. Label the mug with a group name.
9. Teacher - Place the mugs one by one in the microwave for a minute to a minute and a half. Take each cake out and leave to cool. Make sure to use oven gloves and while each cake bakes and cools, use this time to talk to pupils about safety in the kitchen when handling hot items.
10. Ask pupils to compare the baked cake with the mixture.
Sample questions: Is the cake smaller or larger than before it was baked? What happened to the mixture?


Cake science:
1. Normally we bake cakes in the oven and they take a long time to cook. However, the microwave bakes the cake in a few minutes. This is because the microwave uses ‘microwave’ energy which heats the mixture really quickly.
2. The cake got larger because the self-raising flour made it ‘rise’. Self-raising flour contains baking powder. The baking soda releases a gas which makes bubbles and they get trapped in the mixture as it cooks helping the cake to rise.


1. Ask pupils, in groups, to imagine they can create their own cake with whatever ingredients they choose. For example - a chocolate and popcorn cake; a krispie, marshmallow and orange cake. They can be creative as they like!
2. Ask pupils to plan first and to then use a range of fabric and fibre to create a collage of their cake.

Assessment of learning

Pupil observation sheet

Equipment and materials to be used in learning unit (tools, ingredients etc)

For pupils: (per groups)
• A large mug

• A tablespoon
• A fork
• 4 tbsp. self-raising flour
• 4 tbsp. of sugar
• 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
• 1 medium egg
• 3 tbsp. milk
• 3 tbsp. of sunflower oil

For Teacher:
• Microwave
• Sticky labels for the mugs

Kind of setting

Kitchen or classroom with cooking facilities

References - source


Cake in a Mug

1. Usefulness for STEM education - integrating content of different disciplines

Cross-curricular character of the resource 


The range of S-T-E-M subjects included 


The presentation of possibilities of including artistic activities (STEAM approach)


2. Expected learning outcomes

Consistency (links) with preschool core curriculum


Communicativeness of description


3. Methodology of teaching

Clarity, communicativeness of instructions for teachers


Meaningful learning - using practical life problems


Original idea 


The level of ease in implementing the methodology to preschool age children


The level of ease in preparing necessary ingredients, materials and equipment needed


4. Sustainability

Ecological characteristics of materials/ results


Supporting healthy eating habits 




Low ecological footprint


Possibilities of inclusion (respecting cultural diversity and food intolerances)


5. Class management

Using differentiated forms of work - individual, team work etc.


Individual work





Team work





Whole group




6. Time management


Short activity (10-15 minutes)




Medium activity (20-30 minutes)




Long activity (1 hour or more)




Very long activity (1 day or more)

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