Family & Consumer Sciences

Prevent baking fails with these FCS lessons

Even the most experienced bakers have their fair share of baking blunders. For FCS teachers, these baking fails can become teachable moments. Below you’ll find some epic baking fails from both inside and outside the classroom that highlight the importance of learning to measure, follow directions, and use the right ingredients. Plus, you’ll find free lesson plans to engage your students in becoming expert bakers who can consistently deliver delicious results. 

Teachers spill their #epicbakingfails  

  • My biggest baking fail was when I was younger (maybe 14) and I was making icing. I used granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. I wasted a bunch of sugar and then I realized I mixed up the names, haha. Haven’t done it since. – Tara A.  
  • Epic fail: Several years ago, when microwaves were new, I zapped the reheat button a few too many times until I had burnt chocolate chips. Tip: Microwaves melt from the inside out, so chocolate chips (also butter, marshmallows, etc.) keep their shape, so you really need to stir every 30 seconds!
    – Ronna B. 
  • My biggest fail was not having my students test their recipe before sticking all of their cookies in the oven. 120 cookies came out as liquid. Missing flour. Big fail! Test cookies in the future. – Victoria W. 
  • My biggest fail is that I forgot to put baking powder and instead put baking soda! My banana muffins were flat and did not rise. – Maureen S. 
  • My biggest fail was miscounting the amount of sugar in cake — ended up too oily! My biggest tip would be to mise en place, measure everything, and then mix. – Ciera B. 
  • My biggest baking fail was forgetting to add sugar to pumpkin pies. – Desiree S. 

Outfit your FCS kitchens

From professional bakeware to catering equipment, everything you need to teach culinary arts is all in one place.  

  • Biggest fail: too much baking powder in chocolate cake. The cakes overflowed into the bottom of my oven and smoke went everywhere — like an endless volcano of lava in the form of cake batter. Lesson: Even if you think you got everything right, put a baking sheet under your cakes, pies, etc. Always. EVERY TIME. – Jenny E. 
  • Take your time when making scones. Always freeze the butter and use a cheese grater or equivalent. I’ve ruined so many scones just because I was lazy or impatient. FREEZE THE BUTTER! – Brooke S. 
  • My biggest fail was having a student add wet apple fritters into an overheated vat of oil. The fritters were flying out of the deep fat fryer. We couldn’t do a thing until the fryer had emptied of all contents. Oil completely covered the floor and counter! No one was burned in the mishap. This was my first year teaching at Oconomowoc, WI, in 1990 and the student’s name was Todd. Some things you just never forget! – Sheila K. 
  • My biggest fail was telling my students that their sugar was in a red pail instead of saying it was in a white metal tin with red flowers. Our first lab was making no-bake cookies and one group’s batch was just not cooking right. The other teacher had put small coffee-can-size fire pails with baking soda and salt in them on top of the back of the stoves and my students thought it was sugar! When I tasted it, I had to run over to the sink and spit it out because it was so salty! – Jefferson West High School 
  • My biggest baking fail was the first time I attempted to make biscuits. They turned out to be little rocks! Not just the size of them — they were hard also and wouldn’t break. To avoid the same mistake, follow the recipe and make sure you measure correctly! – Belinda B. 
  • My biggest baking fail was when I made brownies without water! I was pregnant at the time so I blame pregnancy brain. They were very hard brownies! – Lisa S. 
  • My biggest fail was using old shortening for scones. They tasted horrible. I didn’t check the date ahead of time and thought it would be ok — wrong! – Demarice Z. 
organization tips for your family and consumer science kitchen

Help students practice baking skills 

Don’t let these same mistakes happen to your students! Use the lessons below to help them practice measuring ingredients, doubling recipes, and learning from their mistakes.   

Focus on measurement 

Introduce kitchen math with this fundamental lesson that activates brains and taste buds: Measuring skills for grades 6–8.  

Then, move on to a lesson that stresses the importance of carefully measuring your ingredients. In Measuring matters, students prep their ingredients for no-bake cookies, prepare them the next day, and then review variations in their finished products.  

Finally, practice conversion math in Measuring math muffin mastery, which has students assigned to specific roles in the kitchen and includes a community connection component.  

Bowl of flour with measuring cup and whisk
Pouring measured sugar into a glass bowl

Teach the roles of different ingredients  

Before baking a delicious quick bread in Banana bread bonanza, students research the importance of flour, oil, sugar, eggs, baking powder, and baking soda in their recipe. When the final products come out of the oven, they compare and discuss similarities and differences.

Practice the art of dough sculpting  

In Dough sculpting 101, students learn how to wrap the perfect pretzel, and in Dough sculpting 102, they put their newfound skills to the test working with refrigerator potato dough to create braids, loaves, and centerpiece sculptures. Along the way, they’ll explore consumer math and make career connections.  

Make everyone’s favorite cookies   

Chocolate chip cookies are the number one cookie baked in the United States, and for good reason. Their buttery, chocolatey goodness is a treat to the taste buds when baked correctly. In this Cookie capers lesson, students learn how to cut a recipe in half or double it. When their cookies come out of the oven, they evaluate their results with a scorecard to determine if they have any baking problems to solve. A community extension has them packaging and donating the sweet treats to a local organization.  

Looking for more engaging FCS resources?  

Our Teacher Resource Center is chock full of teacher-created lesson plans and tried-and-true recipes for FCS kitchens. Explore now to watch a video on knife skills, download multicultural recipes, or find more lessons on kitchen math!  

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