Honey and Date Bee Cake {Recipe} Plus {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.

Feed the Baby Hummus {Review}

Not long ago, I received the book Feed the Baby Hummus: Pediatrician-backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World by Lisa Lewis, MD. I was intrigued by the title.

 

The book itself is very well researched, containing global parenting practices for new parents.  It’s divided into four sections: 1. Behavior and Development, 2. Decisions to Make, 3. Diet and Nutrient, and 4. Building Immunity and Body Care.  Each section contains various chapters that help guide your baby through it’s first year.

 

Having been raised on hummus, an Arabic word that means ‘crushed chickpeas,’ I plunged into the book to find out other ways that Middle East and North African (MENA) Arab moms raise their children. However, other than Lebanese food, the Arab culture is not mentioned. (There is also a recipe for ‘Middle East Lentils’ but Middle East also includes countries such as Turkey, Iran, etc, where Arabic is not spoken.)

 

Once I got over this the first time, I went back to re-read the book and found some true gems. For example:

  • In Greece, the godparents are required to buy the first pair of shoes for a baby’s christening.
  • Mothers in Jamaica use rose water to soothe babies who have a fever.
  • In Laos and Thailand, ginger is popularly used as a galactagogue.

The chapters are well written and the appendix contains helpful shopping lists, for both the nursery and the kitchen.

 

If you are a parent in need of parenting advice that incorporates various multicultural practices, this is a book for you. It really does do a good job of teaching about the global parenting village.  Use it as a stepping stone that will potentially lead you to vast diverse resources used around the world. Just keep in mind, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in how parents raise world citizens.

Please stop by A Crafty Arab educational resources to read other book reviews that educate about the Arab world.

Sudan Writing Board {Tutorial} plus {Review}

I am so excited to once again be a co-host for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. This year I reviewed a Muslim children’s bilingual book from Sudan to review, Kadis كديسة by Rasha Hamid.

 

 

This book is unique on so many levels, first it was written in Sudanese Arabic, a dialect I am not too familiar with, but excited to learn.  Second, it is read sideways, which allows more room for the English rhythmical text and Arabic translations. And third, it features sensational photos of Sudan, transposed with  كديسة  (kadis or cat) drawings from artist Sharhabil Ahmed.

 

My daughters and I enjoyed learning about Sudan through the adventures of the cats and we went online to look up more information.  We found that students historically used wood writing boards to practice their Arabic calligraphy and to help them memorize Qur’anic verses.

 

To help us learn the new Sudanese Arabic words in the back of the book, we made a writing board to draw what we were learning on the different pages.  I had received this chalkboard paint as a Plaid Ambassador and the Liquid Chalk was perfect for letting us draw an image, wipe it off, and draw the next.  Just like a real writing board from Sunday!  Except that with the liquid chalk, there is no smudging if someone accidentally touches it.

Supplies

Artist wood panel
Chalkboard paint
Liquid chalk
Pen
Xacto
Foam brush
Blank stencil

Follow the manufactures instructions on how to apply the chalkboard paint. Ours says to add three layers, waiting an hour between coats.  Once the third layer was on, we left it alone for 24 hours to set.

While we waited, we worked on making our stencils for the Arabic word for cat: كديسة and one of the cats from the book. To make the word, we laid the stencil over the book and traced out the letters. To make sure we don’t lose the hole in the last letter ة, we added lines to keep it attached.

My 11 year old daughter made this craft, so I helped her with the smaller turns in the letters, but she did the straight areas to practice working with an xacto.

We decided to go with one of the simpler cat drawings and traced it also. At this point my daughter was able to cut out the whole cat by herself with the Xacto.

We set everything aside for the next day. After the 24 were done and our wood board was dry, we conditioned it according to our directions. First we covered the whole thing with chalk. Then we wiped it off with soap and water.

We waited till our board was dry and placed our stencil on top. We sponge painted the letters.

We also added the كديسة.

Now the fun began as we used the pages of the book to inspire our drawings.

First we stared with a zir, زير, a type of clay water pot that cools water though evaporation. You can find azyar, أزيار, the plural of zir, along the way for travelers to sip on hot, windy desert days. A visual reminder of the generosity and hospitality of the Sudanese people.

While we had our paintbrush out, we also fixed the connection to make our last letter, ة, complete.

Once the chalk paint is dry, it is smudge proof.

However, with just a little water and wrist strength, it can be made clean.

Now our board is ready for our next lesson, about kusseh alsukr, sugar cane, قصب السكر.

 

We can add a hook to the back of the board and hang it up as art.

Grab your copy of this delightful book and support Multicultural Book Day by stopping by on Saturday for the big link party!


If you enjoyed this DIY craft and book review, pleas stop by

Sheep Origami Bookmark {Tutorial} plus Who Hid The Eid Lamb {Review}

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

 

Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials.