I was hesitant to open the box when she spotted it hiding on the kitchen counter a week after her birthday, as I know all the little kiddie baking sets get terrible reviews, and I wanted to be able to return it. But she was clamoring for her "mag-ic ubben" ['mag' like magnet,] so I went online to read the specific reviews. I became more and more determined to return it until I read one review saying to ditch the mixes and just use instant pudding.
3 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp instant pudding mix.
Well. That sounded easy, fun, and much tastier. And you can still decorate with sprinkles and frosting tubes, if desired! So I decided to crack it open. Since I didn't have any instant pudding, and she wanted to use it RIGHT NOW, we started with one of the included mixes. It uses ice to cook, since all the mixes are instant pudding-based, so it's safe even for the little kids who might burn themselves on the Easy Bake bulb. At first I was worried that it required ice cubes the size of the tray it came with, which were really tiny, since a snow-cone maker I got my nephew once only worked with its tiny cubes. Lame. I was prepared to use crushed ice from my freezer's icemaker, but my ice cubes were fine.
Our first attempt at 'cooking' came out terribly, as I didn't know NOT to use the spoon it came with to measure the water (use a real teaspoon. 3tsp = 1 tbsp if you prefer to try it that way.) Since I knew the mix would be nasty, I decided I didn't care how it came out, so I let her fill each spoonful from the tap and pour each one in without my hand steadying hers. She spilled so much water, I just had to wing it, so I think we used too much.
I also wasn't necessarily using the right temperature water. The manufacturer says to use hot water (125 degrees I think.) I just had the sink water turned to 'hot'' since I couldn't be bothered to take the temperature or boil it or whatever.
They also say to only give it 3 or 4 stirs, as it firms up pretty quickly. Well, try telling a toddler to stop with the fun part! Plus she started eating it as she mixed.
So I let her go nuts with it, and when she was done mixing/eating, we poured the rest into a 'pan' to 'cook' it. It needed a little more water, since she hadn't stirred it very well, and we were at the big dry clump in the center.
So I added a random amount of water and we waited for the recommended 15 minutes (it may have been 10. I don't remember anymore.)
It was the longest 15 minutes of her little life. She had her nose to that little oven door the whole time. The 'cake' was still kind of runny after, so I didn't bother making the frosting, and she didn't care anyway. She gobbled it down. All I heard for the next 5 minutes was "MmmMMM! De-nish-ous!" after every spoonful.
So as long as you go into it knowing that the mixes are only tasty to undiscerning palates, and just use it to make instant pudding after the included mixes are used up, it's a worthwhile toy, for the younger crowd. Since then, she also uses it to play pretend. She has 'cooked' plastic corn, some toy spoons, a bracelet and a Littlest Pet Shop pet.