Honey and Date Bee Cake {Recipe} plus Aishah Learns to Bake {Review}

I was recently sent the book Aishah Learns to Bake by author Latifah Peerbux,‎ and illustrator Nurul Ruqaiyah Ahmad Maliki, from Almaurid Books.

 

This adorable book is about a little girl name Aishah who helps her mum make a cake. They start to play a guessing game, where her mum gives her hints of ingredients they’ll need. She explains how Allah (God in Arabic) made each one, from the bees that give us honey to the dates we eat during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Along the way, there are silly illustrations of a cow standing on top of a cake and clocks that move way, way toooooo slow across the page.

 

Once all the ingredients are mixed, Aishah learns how things are baked. When her father comes home, she is able to share with him all steps and reminded him to say Bismillah an Arabic phrase that means ‘in the name of God, before he tried a bite.  The book includes a recipe and instruction on making honey and date cupcakes.

 

We got all the ingredients together this weekend and tried our hand at turning the cupcakes into the cake that the cow is standing on. We had to go to two different stores to find caster sugar, as it’s not a common item in our local community, but everything else we had a home.  My middle daughter also wanted to try her hand at fondant, so she tried a bee outer shell. A full list of ingredients and measurements are in the book.

Since this book was written in the United Kingdom, some of the measurements were written in metric, so we had to figure out how many dates we needed to pit (3 ounces). We spent some time looking at metric conversion charts and the history of the metric system, which is very different than the customary units we use in the United States.

 

After we had gathered everything, we placed the pit less dates in the food processor for a few minutes.

We added the dates and 3 tablespoons of water in a pot and placed it on the stove, till boil.  This allowed it to become a paste before we set it aside to cool.

While the dates were cooling, we made the cake batter and the fondant mixture. Tip: We made them in separate bowls but at the same time because they shared a few dry ingredients. Just make sure to keep them apart!

We baked the cake batter into two pans. Tip: Inserting a toothpick when you pull it out tells you if the middle is baked.  If the toothpick is dry, the cake is done, if the toothpick is wet, place the cake back in the oven for a few more minutes.

While the cake was baking and cooling, we divided the fondant batter into two batches. We added the yellow food coloring to one and the black to the second. We used the same toothpick to help control how much to add. And have a few sillies of our own while baking.

To be honest, the black ended up more of a grey, but that’s okay. We set them aside to work on layering our cakes.

We added a layer of the date paste to the bottom cake but didn’t spread it to the edges, leaving an outer circle.

In a side bowl, we mixed the honey buttercream icing and added it to the outer circle before adding the second cake layer. We spread the extra around the edges before adding the fondant.

We flatten the two balls of fondant and laid the yellow over the whole cake. Tip: It is easier to place on the cake to cut, rather than try to cut it flat.  We then cut the black into strips.

We added a little extra black to fit around the edges. This is a great time to sneak in a lesson in math and angles.

My daughter rolled up a little extra ball, turned it into a cone shape and added it for a stinger.

The true test came in the taste and it got a thumbs up from all of us, even the little five year old boy my oldest happen to be babysitting.  He not only finished it all, he wanted to know if it was okay to have a second piece since “it healthy.” (I said no, but sent an extra piece with his mom when she came to pick him up)

 

I am so excited to try this book out at my next story time with the kids at the library since my own youngest enjoyed the story and the cake.

 

Be sure to check out the book Aishah Learns to Bake from Almaurid Books or ask for it a your local bookstore, library or Amazon. Stop by to visit the activity kit too!

 

 

Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest for more of our adventures in the kitchen or the Education Resource page for hundreds of books for Muslim children.

Night Moon Paper Plate {Tutorial} plus Night of the Moon {Review}

Happy 2018! Let’s celebrate the new year by reviewing a book to kick off Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th.

 

When I received the book Night of the Moon by Hena Khan from her publisher, Chronicle books, I got so excited because it helps explain the moon phases. We have done several moon crafts in our studio to help learn the difference between the Gregorian and Hijri calendars.

 

To see the phases showcased in this book, throughout the month of Ramadan, was fantastic. Especially as we learn them through the eyes of Yasmeen, a young Pakistani-American girl.

 

When Yasmeen is shown the crescent moon, her mom explains “it means a new month is beginning” for Ramadan. Yasmeen then sees the moon in its different phases, as the month progresses, ending with Eid. We are also exposed to Chaand Raat, a popular cultural tradition from South Asia, also called Night of the Moon celebration.

The book illustrations are beautiful, often casting the words in arabesque windows that complement the windows Yasmeen looks out of, while gazing at the moon.

 

We used two paper plates to also create a “window” to showcase our moon phases. Now as we are reading the book, we can change out our moons to match the story.

 

Supplies

Paper dessert plates – 2
Foam glue dots
Glue
Cardstock
Black paint
Foam brush
Color markers
Sharpie
Xacto
Circle punch
Craft sticks

We used the moons in the corners of the book cover to decide how many circles we needed to cut out total: 8, two for each side.

To create the different phases of the moon, we put the circles back in the punch and offset the cuts. Thinner moons means putting almost the whole circle back into the punch.

While our thicker moons needed to be cut slightly larger.

We used the left over cardstock to create a mosque template to outline on the top paper plate.

Once it was outlined, we used the xacto to cut around the roof and the inner circle of the plate.  We used our markers to decorate the mosque, just like in the book.

We also used the markers to outline all eight moons.

We pulled out our black paint next. We painted the plate, around the mosque, and both sides of our craft sticks.

We also painted our second plate, that will be our background.

By now, our craft sticks were dry and we were able to add our moons to the ends. We matched the two sides to each other, and making sure the outlines were facing out.

After we had finished our four craft sticks, we turned our attention back to the plates.  We added foam stickers around the outside of the black, plain plate. We didn’t place any at the bottom, where the mosque will goes, so that we can move the moon across the night sky with our stick.

The final step is to add the mosque plate. Now our plates are ready to follow along with the Ramadan moon in the book.

You’ll have fun changing out each moon as the month gets closer to Eid.

Since both moon sides are outlines, you can change the direction of the moon and not have to make more sticks.

Be sure to check out the book Night of the Moon from Chronicle or ask for it a your local bookstore, library or Amazon.

If you enjoyed making this moon craft, stop by these other DIY tutorials

RyaTie Moon Wall Hanging {Tutorial}
Cookie Cutter Moon and Star Art {Tutorial}

Be sure sto check out A Crafty Arab on Pinterest.

Mosque Golden Domes {Tutorial} plus Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns {Review}

Recently Chronicle Books sent me the book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan.
This beautifully illustrated children’s book showcases Islamic culture, through the eyes of a young girl, using colors.  We learn about the red of the prayer rug, the brown in dates, the yellow of the zakat box, and so on. There is also a glossary of terms which may be unfamiliar to little ears.

 

Our favorite part of the book was it’s use of large horizontal double page art, which spreads unbordered to the edges. This allowed us to lay the book flat and talk about all the images of food, holiday preparations and architecture we see.

We especially loved the page of the golden domes on the mosques and decided to try to recreate them. To be unusual, we decided to design them from the view of those birds flying in the sky, looking down.

 

This is a great STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) project because you need to use most of those resources to measure out the sizes of the domes.

 

Supplies

Decorative 12×12 paper plus 8.5×11 white card stock
Scissors
Glue
Lids of various sizes
Pen
Brown marker (optional)

Start by laying out your lids on the paper to see what you can fit. Play around with smaller lids. Mosques usually have one major dome, but sometimes several minarets and smaller domes. We went with one large dome and two smaller ones.

Cut your 12×12 paper into strips. Ours had glitter, diagonal images that left glitter all over my floor, so do this outside if your floor is not easy to sweep. We made some wider ones for the larger dome and smaller strips for the smaller domes.

Now you need to figure out long your paper strip needs to be to create a dome, turning your design from 2D to 3D. Start by folding over one end, you’ll need this later for the glue, and decide how high you want your dome to be off the paper.  Then fold the other end over, to leave another flap for the glue on the other side. Cut off any access paper.

Add glue to both flaps and place them down on the paper.

Keep adding paper, going around the sides of the dome. You’ll need to measure out each strip since each one will be different size as you build your dome up higher.

This is optional, but we decided to color the rooftop of our mosque brown.

And now our STEAM mosque domes were done and ready to be enjoyed at our dinning table tonight. My daughter will share her findings of how she created a 3D dome by measuring strips of flat paper.

 

If you enjoyed this mosque craft tutorial, please visit

Mosque Polymer Clay Cake {Tutorial}

Great Mosque of Cordoba {Printable}

Mosque Crepe Paper Banner {Tutorial}

If you enjoy reading a multicultural book and making a project on that book, please visit

Sandwich Swap Hummus {Recipe}

Persian Paisley Painting {Tutorial}

Mosque Pillow {Tutorial}

Or be sure to check out the list I’ve compiled of 99 Creative Mosque Projects.

A Crafty Arab on Pinterest has more DIY tutorials on Arab and Islamic children’s books.