The Easy-Bake oven has undergone a makeover, due to the disappearing incandescent light bulb (can't bake a cookie-sized cake with a fluorescent twisty bulb, you know). So now the Easy-Bake works like a real, albeit very small, oven, with a cooking vault that reaches a searing 375 degrees Fahrenheit, while the outside never strays above warm.
Advantages: Naturally, a hotter oven means faster cooking. The wimpy Easy-Bake I bought my daughter last year for her fifth birthday took a solid 25 minutes to turn out one cake the size of a drink coaster. And the revamped oven is bigger, so little cooks can bake more at one time.
Disadvantages: Man, the oven sure is ugly now, like it should be holding feminine hygiene products, and the plastic looks cheap.
If the promo on Hasbro's site is any indication, the company is pushing Easy-Bakes as cool gadgets for tween parties and sleepovers. Those girls are way too happy about guitar-shaped pizzas, and they're too old for the Easy-Bake. Despite the CYA claim on the packaging that it's for kids age 8 and up, a 10- or 11-year-old wouldn't be caught dead using one. At that age, your little one is big enough to use an actual oven.
The girls here dance in unison, and there's one quick shot of Mom giving her daughter an "atta girl" look before vanishing. Subtext: Don't worry, moms, you're still around. And don't worry, kids, Mom isn't going to hang around and spoil the fun.
That's a shift from Hasbro's former marketing message. Notice how this 1980s commercial positions the Easy-Bake as something wholesome a girl can do with Mom:
Am I wrong, or does this 1972 commercial have a creepy Little Mommy vibe?
Here's one from 1968. I like the confident self-sufficiency of the baking girl. However, KOO-kies?
Image source: Hasbro.com