Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry Cake Play Dough Recipe

The good news:  My father has a bumper crop of strawberries in his garden.
The bad news:  I live 1,508 miles away from his plentiful patch.

Although I can purchase strawberries from Mexico or California and create a Strawberry Shortcake that thrills my children and their friends, my husband and I are not impressed.  We both grew up in Caroline County on Maryland's Eastern Shore where the best strawberries in the world grow.  The soil is sandy, there is usually plenty of rain in the Spring, and, in the case of my father's patch, the berries get lots of tender loving care.  

When I was growing up my father didn't have the time or energy for a garden, so we would go pick at a local patch or I would jump out at any one of the plethora of roadside stands and grab a few quarts of berries as my mother parked on the dirt shoulder.  We would make lots of Strawberry Shortcake and Strawberry Pies and when we tired of that serve juicy sugared down strawberries over vanilla ice cream.  Sometimes we attempted a new recipe that my mom had cut from one of her women's magazines, but we always returned to our favorites.  My father loves strawberries and never seems to get tired of them.  Now he grows enough to satisfy himself and all of his family and friends in a thirty mile radius.  In fact, if you happen to be passing by my old homestead, I bet my mom will be happy to give you a basket or two of these luscious fruits.

Considering that I am half way across the country from my father's plentiful patch of strawberries, it is not surprising that this year my favorite strawberry recipe is not for a dessert at all, but for a new play dough, Strawberry Cake Play Dough.  This unique concoction smells fabulous and is soft and pliable.  It is perfect for a bumper crop of imaginative play.  Add a few berry baskets and a pad and paper and you have got yourself a play fruit stand or throw in a few matchbox cars and an instant strawberry mountain appears.  This recipe comes from one of my early education heroes The Ooey Gooey Lady and is easily made with a strawberry cake mix and a few other basic ingredients.  It keeps well in an air-tight container for weeks.

So this Memorial Day weekend pick some strawberries at a local patch, visit the Strawberry Festival in Ridgely, Maryland, or make a batch of Strawberry Play Dough.  Either way have a great weekend relaxing with people you enjoy.

Strawberry Cake Play Dough
    inspired by the Oooey Gooey Lady

1 package strawberry cake mix (any brand)
2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 1/2 cups salt
6 teaspoons cream of tartar
6 Tablespoons oil
3 cups water
optional:  red food coloring
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, whisk together dry cake mix, flour, salt, and cream of tartar.  Add the oil and water.  If a brighter color is desired, add a few drops of red food coloring.  Gently combine with a large wooden spoon.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and a rough ball forms.  
  3. Remove from head, knead, adding a small amount of flour if dough is too sticky.
  4. Store in an air tight container or baggie.
Explore with empty berry baskets, berry hullers, pink dice, matchbox cars, empty pie tins, and more.  For fun, sprinkle balls of strawberry cake dough with red glitter and knead.

Linked to the following inspiring blog parties:


  1. This is just the coolest recipe ever! I'm actually planning on taking my kids strawberry picking in the next week or two. Strawberry Play dough will be such a fun way to occupy them while I make an edible treat with our berries.

    Thanks so much for linking up to my Summer Fun Party!

    Laura @ Come Together Kids

  2. I am going to try this with my little boy next week!! Amazing! Have you tried it with other flavors of cake mix too? Im just imagining chocolate or lemon...Mmmmm

  3. This is so fun. I'm throwing my twins a Pinkalicious birthday party and this will be a fabulous party favor! :)

  4. Delightful -- can't wait to try this!

  5. I have never seen this recipe before. I've put this post into my favourites so I can use it with my girlies at a later date. It looks like such a great idea.

  6. Wow! Talk about a fun playdough. This looks really cool. Thanks for linking up to the summertime fun party.

  7. Why did I have to open this in front of my 4-year-old? He has been talking about making this play dough all weekend now. Can't wait to get to the store for the ingredients. Thanks for the amazing idea!

  8. What a great idea! It looks like a wonderful variation from the traditional playdough recipes! Deb @

  9. Oh I miss the days of making kiddos are beyond the playdough. ; ( Hey I thought the best strawberries grew in Michigan ;) must be the sandy soil we have...we are still waiting for the harvest, its been a cold wet spring, so we will see how they are. Last year they were the best in years! Great post!

  10. Do u stir during heating? How long until the ball forms??

  11. Karrie, yes stir during heating. The ball will form in about five minutes or so. It will go from soupy to thick quickly so don't walk away:) Let me know how it goes.

  12. can the kids eat this playdough?

  13. No not edible, not toxic, just not very tasty.

  14. can you eat play so confused. Ok, why not just real dough...child labor laws?

  15. I haven't seen this playdough recipe before. Looks really cool, will have to give it a try soon :)

  16. THANK YOU!!!! I am also a HUGE Lisa Murphy fan & had been planning on making Strawberry playdough as my Valentine's to my kiddos... but forgot that my Ooey Gooey book is packed in a box.... so instead of taking all of that time to find my book, you were so helpful as to have put it up online. THANK YOU!!!