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Mums are discovering a foolproof way to keep their children off the computer and away from the television over the Christmas holidays.

Mums in the know are baking with their children and creating unique cakes, biscuits and pastries. Perfect for children of all ages, Whimsical Decoratifs sprinkles are fresh from America, where they have grown into a popular home-baking purchase. Introduced to the UK market by gourmet retailer and distributor Porter Foods, the sprinkles come in a wide range of shapes including snowmen, snowflakes, dinosaurs, race cars and gingerbread men. They are easy to use and add a tailor-made approach to baking that even very young children can get involved with.

Sales of baking ingredients such as flour, icing sugar, decorative sprinkles and baking powder grew by a staggering 25% in the UK over the past year and show no signs of slowing down1. With celebrity chefs (and their wives) promoting the joys of baking women all over the country are rediscovering baking as the ideal family activity for cold and wet days. Gordon’s wife Tana Ramsey and Nigella Lawson are both big fans of baking and are boosting the profile of creating buns, cookies and cakes at home rather than buying shop-bought products for special occasions and tea parties.

Baking is not just a fun activity, but it can also be educational. Reading recipes aloud, and choosing and weighing ingredients help to develop reading and mathematical skills. Younger children can learn to tell the time to find out when the food is ready, and all children learn about patience in waiting for their cake or biscuits to bake in the oven. Most important of all, the act of cooking with a child bonds the family together and gives a powerful boost to your child's self-confidence. Even very young children can get involved with baking, mixing ingredients or greasing trays.

When they see the latest sprinkles from America, most adults will be itching to start baking too! Whimsical Decoratifs, available at www.porterfoods.co.uk, are novelty sprinkles that make the humblest of homemade treats irresistible. With their festive white snowflakes or Winter Wonderland mix of red sprinkles, green Christmas trees and white snowmen, they look good enough to eat.

The children might find they have competition from their parents when it comes to who gets to decorate the cake. As they are suitable for most food allergy sufferers too, everyone can join in the fun so we've supplied some egg- and wheat-free cake recipes to help you create your own free-from cake range.

As they are larger than the standard sprinkles available on the market, they can also be used to decorate Christmas cards or make festive pictures. So, three activities for the price of one! As they keep in ambient storage for up to two years, you can be sure that any not used this Christmas can be used in the run up to the next one. Although it’s unlikely you’ll have any leftovers this Christmas.

In fact, the only problem with Whimsical Decoratifs is that you'll have to bake more cakes to keep up with demand. Still, it's quieter than computer games!

-Ends-

Notes to Editors:

1. Sales of all home-baking ingredients rose by 25% in 2006 to reach £429 million this year and are expected to reach £550 million by 2011, according to the Mintel report "Home Baking in the UK." Waitrose confirmed that sales of plain white flour rose 76% in July 2007 compared to July 2006, whilst sales of baking mixes rose by 40%, cake mixes were up 25%, and blueberry muffin mixes rose by 90%.

2. Gordon Ramsey talked about the importance of children cooking with adults in an address to the Food Standards Agency: "Messages need to be made earlier in life. [Preventing obesity] starts from home. It’s great to see 10-year olds cooking. It sends the right kind of ramifications through the family, making sure they understand what they are eating and knowing how to do it at the same time. Every child should learn how to cook and we need to keep banging on about the basics and not get carried away with the frills.”

The Press Association Ltd. June 22.2005 www.eatwell.gov.uk
For further information on the health benefits of home baking for children, visit the site: http://www.homebaking.org/index.html.

3. Free-from recipes courtesy of Porter Foods

Egg-free cake recipe

Ingredients:

50g cooking fat
50g golden syrup
250 ml milk
175g plain flour
25g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
Your favourite tub of Whimsical Decoratifs

Method:

Melt fat and milk in saucepan over a moderate heat.

Mix well and allow to cool. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together.

Pour in the cooled milk mixture and mix well. Add vinegar, water and vanilla essence and beat again.

Pour into two greased cake tins or add to bun cases.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.

Sprinkle Whimsical Decoratifs over the top for your own design at Christmas, Halloween, or for birthdays.

Wheat-free chocolate cake recipe

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate broken into pieces
150g butter
5 eggs (separated)
150g golden caster sugar
3tbsp strong coffee (instant or brewed)
100g ground almonds (optional)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
Your favourite tub of Whimsical Decoratifs

Method:

Melt the chocolate pieces and butter over a gentle heat. Beat egg whites until stiff, add half the sugar and beat together. Add other half of sugar to the egg yolks, and beat until creamy.

Add egg yolk mix and coffee to the melted chocolate, stir gently to combine.

Fold egg whites to mixture. Mix optional almonds with cocoa powder and baking powder and add to the mix, combine thoroughly but gently. Pour into a greased/lined baking tin or bun cases and bake for 20 minutes (buns) 45 – 50 minutes (cake) at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

Sprinkle Whimsical Decoratifs over the top for your own design at Christmas, Halloween, or for birthdays.

Whimsical Decoratifs are available in the following varieties: Red & White Hearts, Gingerbread Men, Jumbo Red Hearts, Green Dinosaurs, Race Cars, Hot Lips, Snowflakes, Winter Wonderland.

For any further enquiries, to arrange an interview with Porter Foods, for high resolution photography or samples, please contact Helen Lewis at helen@foodanddrinktowers.co.uk or on +44 (0) 20 8771 1212.

Whimsical Decoratifs are distributed in the UK by:

Porter Foods Co Ltd,
24 Hockerill Court,
London Road,
Bishops Stortford,
Herts,
CM23 5SB

Tel.01279 501711
Fax.01279 501727
Email: info@porter-foods.co.uk
www.porterfoods.co.uk

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