The End of an Easy Bake Era

Easy Bake Oven
Energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps are replacing incandescent light bulbs in the US, the EU, Australia and Canada and may, according to the specific laws of where you live, completely replace them by sometime in 2012. This might not seem like important news for the baking community, but it is if you ever had an Easy Bake Oven. Introduced in 1963, Easy Bake Ovens were playtime staples for generations of kids and let many of us bake our first cakes. The heating element in these toy ovens is a 100 watt incandescent lightbulb, which heats up when in use and is what allows those miniature cakes to cook through. The transition to compact fluorescent – which don’t heat up when they’re in use in the same way that incandescents do – means that all of those classic Easy Bake Ovens are out of a job.

While I certainly don’t use an Easy Bake for my baking these days – although you can still pop over to the toy store and pick one up for a young baker-to-be, if you like – I did have one as a kid and have some nostalgia about these toys. Sure, the mixes didn’t taste very good (that didn’t stop me from eating them!) and didn’t even always bake properly – but they were my own creations made without the assistance of grownups, and that was all that mattered at the time.

Easy Bake Ovens will still be around, made with a new heating element that doesn’t require the use of a lightbulb. But the little ovens won’t be quite the same as they were before, and there will be no going back once the 100 watt bulbs burn out and replacements become more difficult to find. My Easy Bake looked something like the one pictured below. I think I might get a couple of old fashioned lightbulbs and stash them away someplace safe – just in case I want to relive those memories of early baking attempts with a vintage toy oven and some 100 watt heat.

80s Easy Bake Oven

12 comments

  1. This is freaKing heaRt breaking! I might have to stash away some bulbs too. Invite the girls over one day for wine and awful tasting cakes… :)

  2. Who didn’t have an easy-bake oven? When I was 7 I left the spatula in it and it melted; we were forced to throw it away. :( Now I use a big girl oven :)

  3. My daughter received an Easy bake oven for Christmas and it was such an ordeal to find the light bulb in my area. Toysrus didn’t even carry it in the store. We finally found one and she loves to use her Easy bake. By the way, the new mixes aren’t that bad, especially the sugar cookies :)

  4. I had a Holly Hobbie oven, same concept though. Makes me wish I still had it and could stock up on lightbulbs for my daughter…

  5. oh my gosh this brought back so many memories. I actually liked the baking mixes. In fact I would eat half even before baking it.

  6. When this hit the news, we went out and bought a dozen 100 watt bulbs for our Easy Bake.

  7. When I was younger I didn’t know I liked baking and as such never had one. And being a boy, asking for one would have likely produced some raised eyebrows (though my parents still would have :) — and lets face it, my grandfathers’ eyebrows still raise when I talk about baking). But even to someone who never had one, it does seem like the end of an era. Hopefully the replacements will work similarly “well” otherwise a lot of young bakers might be stifled early on.

  8. I bought my grandkids one for Christmas, and have yet to find the bulb. Any suggestions on where to look?

  9. I had one too…it is still working, but my nephew is using it :)

  10. I know that times need to change to improve our world, but the Easy Bake Oven, really…. that is a classic. So sad for upcoming generations to not know the joy of this little oven.

  11. Even since my little boy saw and Easy Bake Oven on Utube and learned that I had one he wants one. We live in NSW Australia and have tried all the leading toy stores. Does anyone have any idea where I can buy one? Shipping is always so expensive so I’d like to buy it in a store if possible but if you have a website I may use it.

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