Individual Carrot and Pineapple Cakes and Pre-School Wars

When Archie went to pre-school he had the best teachers who were not only amazing, they created a wonderful, relaxed and happy place where all the care and education was given without bureaucracy and rule-books getting in the way.

Twelve years later when Alfie went to pre-school (a different pre-school) things had changed.  More rules were in place like at Archie’s pre-school everyone had to bring in a piece of fruit and this was cut up and presented on platters for the children to share and it was drummed into them, ‘The one you touch is the one you take’.  At Alfie’s pre-school no food was allowed to be shared.  At Archie’s pre-school all the children had their own hand towel hanging in the bathroom.  At Alfie’s pre-school hand towels weren’t allowed and the children had to dry their hands on disposable paper tissue.

And the directors were different too.  Where Archie’s had been so relaxed and carefree, Alfie’s director loved bureaucracy and political correctness and the ever-expanding rules of OH & S.

Individual carrot and pineapple cakes

One day, a few hours after I had dropped Alfie at pre-school, I was driving my car when my mobile rang.  It was the director of the pre-school.  I was immediately anxious thinking something serious must have happened.  She said she was calling because Alfie had been rude to her.  I said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.’  She told me he had been playing outside and she had asked him to come in and he looked at her and said rude words.  I wondered if she was going to tell me what the rude words were.  ‘He told me to shut up’, she continued, and went on to tell me how that is inappropriate and how he needs to learn respect for authorities and how she can’t have four year olds undermining her authority and where does he hear such language.

‘From the teenagers is what I was thinking’, but didn’t say.  I knew that what Alfie had done was wrong and as serious as the infringement was I thought this conversation could have waited until I collected him at 3pm.

‘I just wanted to tell you that he’d been very rude to me’, she continued.

‘Oh, okay.  Well, I’m sorry about that.  I’ll talk to him about it tonight and tell him that’s unacceptable behaviour.  And uhm, is that all?’

‘Well yes, but we could probably talk about it some more when you collect him this afternoon.’  And I made a mental note to run in and grab him and run back out before there was any opportunity to again workshop the crime.

On another occasion she suggested I have him checked out by a medical examiner.  ‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.  ‘Oh well, it’s always the boys with the blond hair and blue eyes and fair skin that I’m suspicious of’.  Like that comment wasn’t going to offend me.  I had him checked out by our doctor who could find nothing wrong with him.  I took him back to pre-school and said, ‘There’s nothing wrong but they do think he’s very intelligent’.  She looked a bit disappointed.  She asked me to take him to a naturopath to see if he had sensitivities to certain foods.

I trekked down to the naturopath.  The naturopath thought that as Alfie sometimes gets asthma and excema that he should avoid strawberries as they are heavily sprayed and the toxins on the strawberries could trigger asthma or excema.  I reported back to the director and she smiled and nodded her head enthusiastically.  ‘I knew there was something’, she said, ‘It’s always the boys with the blond hair and blue eyes and fair skin that I’m suspicious of’.

‘Yes, so you keep saying’, is what I wanted to reply.

A few weeks later there was a class party and we were all asked to bring in something for everyone to share.  I made fruit sticks that included strawberries.  During the party Alfie reached out and took a fruit stick and it was smartly ripped out of his hands with a no-nonsense comment of, ‘You can’t have strawberries’.

Alfie was in tears.  ‘What’s wrong?’ I asked him.

‘She says I can’t have any fruit’, he cried.  I reached over and grabbed two fruit sticks and said, ‘Well your mummy says you can’.

On another occasion when I went to pick up Alfie I was asked to see her in her office.  ‘What now?’ was what I was thinking.  She sat me down and told me there had been an incident in the playground.  Alfie and another ‘child’ had been fighting over a toy.  The ‘child’ tried to grab it out of Alfie’s hands but Alfie wouldn’t let go.  In the ‘child’s’ frustration he had bitten Alfie.  ‘Oh, okay.  He seems fine.  Was he okay at the time?’

‘Well it was quite a bite and the skin’s been broken so I’ve filled out an incident report and the other mother has been advised that her child has bitten another child but due to the privacy laws I can’t tell you who the other child is and I’ve told her I can’t tell her who her child bit’.

Those might be the rules but they’re stupid rules.  While still at the pre-school I asked Alfie how his day was and he said, ‘Good’.  I asked, ‘Did anything happen today?’


‘Did anyone bite you?’

‘Marcus did bite me’.  But I already knew that Marcus had bitten him because the mother of Marcus was so mortified she immediately wanted to know who her son had bitten so she could apologise.  It’s not helpful when rules are in place to prevent this from happening.  Anyway, of course Marcus told his mother he’d bitten Alfie because ‘Alfie wasn’t sharing’ so that ended the mystery.

And that was a good thing too.  Marcus’s mother and I had a lovely and sensible chat where she apologised on behalf of her son and I told her not too worry, Alfie was fine and like life, there won’t always be plain sailing in the playground.

I was relieved when my blond haired, blue eyed boy with the fair skin finally graduated.

Here’s something I make for school lunchboxes but these would definitely not be allowed at Alfie’s pre-school.


Carrot and Pineapple Cake

Makes:  8 mini cakes

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  This home-baked cake is very inexpensive and uses easily sourced ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 180C (375F).

Grease a cake pan that holds 8 mini cakes.

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.  Add oil, eggs, carrot, pineapple and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes.

Spoon into cake tins.

Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.  Leave in tin for 5 minutes then turn onto wire rack to cool.  When cold, ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 60g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add sifted icing sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Ice cakes and top with chopped walnuts if desired.

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  1. niasunset says:

    Oh kids… your stories always remind me my son’s childhood days… I was always in the school. 🙂 You can guess… Thank you dear Charlie, as always your recipe fascinates me… Have a nice day, love, nia

  2. Wow, sounds like you got stuck with a real loony. How on earth did she manage to hold on to her job? It takes a special kind of person to work with young children – I hope she reviewed her career path!

  3. Gosh how frustrating! I had no idea that pre-schools were full of such frustrating rules… I would seriously be screeching at that director … or at least it would take very STRONG resistance not to!

    “‘Oh well, it’s always the boys with the blond hair and blue eyes and fair skin that I’m suspicious of’. ” – gosh, what does that even MEAN?? I am soo not a fan of over bureaucracy .. just not neccessary !

  4. love2dine says:

    Must be a wonderful afternoon snack

  5. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    I’m glad that you and Alfie got away from the pre-school with your sanity intact. The director sounds a little screwy.

  6. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    I think perhaps this woman should not have been directing a preschool. She seemed to have her own personal discrimination toward children and blonde haired, blue-eyed ones in particular. At least you had common sense and knew not to take her seriously. But poor Alfie to have to endure such treatment.

  7. Joanne @ Eats Well WIth Others says:

    It really is crazy how much school rules have gotten stricter even since I was a kid! My sister wasn’t allowed to bring any baked goods into school either. And she is neither fair skinned nor blue-eyed.

  8. These mini cakes are adorable!

  9. I’m amazed at some of these recent draconian school laws. All designed to cover the rear ends of the schools in case they get sued by the parents of one of those suspicious looking blonde haired, blue eyed, fair skinned children.

    Yummy cake.

  10. Aw, glad Alfie’s done with that monster! These cakes look lovely…I love your idea of small cakes for portion control 😉

  11. Norma Chang says:

    Your post brings back memories of when my son was in elementary school. Whenever the phone rings during school hours I jump as most likely it was from school about something or another involving my son. He was a kid who did not fit the “norm” because he was “curious” and that was not appreciated.
    Norma Chang

  12. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    I remember once a primary school teacher wanted to have Zachary checked for ADHD. I couldn’t believe it–I have NEVER seen a calmer, more focused child than Zack. We didn’t agree to it, the teacher left, and that whole situation was put to rest. Some people shouldn’t be allowed around children. Too damaging. So glad Alfie is in a good situation now. And oh, those cakes look so comforting. Just the thing for a stressed world.

  13. What an odd teacher, that’s for sure. I love carrot cake with cream cheese icing and these individual one’s look incredible. Now I’m going to work out as I’ve had too much virtual carrot cake!

  14. I feel terrible when I see that during summer while i’ve been doing nothing baking or posting related you’ve been as productive as always, gosh and the recipes look so damn good!!!

  15. Oh good grief! How did you manage not to rip her head off after the comments about “blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned.” What the heck DID that mean? I was a preschool director and teacher for twenty years, and I would imagine that I couldn’t fit in any longer here in the U.S. system either. I am more concerned with the well-being of the children than rules. I can’t wait to make these delicious cakes…they would make anyone’s mood improve I would think! 🙂

  16. If my son had bit another child, I would certainly want to know the other child’s name to apologize! I get the rule barely, one of those overly cautious rules I suppose! These mini cakes look amazing- I’ve always included pineapply in my carrot cake too. I don’t believe I’ve ever made them mini though…great idea as I love to share!

  17. Purely.. Kay says:

    I agree with some of the other comments, whoever did the biting should definitely apologize. But those cupcakes… has definitely made my day today! Delish!

  18. What the what the what?! She’s on some sort of reverse Aryan crusade?! Please pass me the dessert so I can calm down…

  19. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Makes me shudder to what it will be like when your kids have kids….
    Lovely mini cakes. I don’t usually add pineapple to my carrot cakes – can’t wait to add some to my next batch.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  20. Thank goodness Alfie only had to deal with that woman during his pre-school year. I hope she’s no longer in that position. It’s a wonder how she ever got the job in the first place. Your mini cakes with that frosting look great!

  21. yummychunklet says:

    I love the individual cakes. It makes them more fun to eat.

  22. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    You do have to wonder sometimes why certain people go into teaching. I’ve run across a few of those over the years.

  23. That director would have made a good police officer. “Don’t respect me because I deserve it, respect me because I say so.” All the cotton wool we wrap around kids today scares me. When will they learn to play and sort out issues on their own. If they don’t learn it when they’re young, they’ll be miserable at it when they get older. Yeah, getting bit hurts, but by golly, next time Marcus asks to share, Alfie would weigh up whether a potential bite or the toy would win.

    I make a cake similar to this and yeah, with the nut on top, no getting into schools anywhere. I’m going to try your recipe because it looks better than mine. 🙂

  24. GourmetGetaway says:

    OH my God… How much pre-school and schools have changed from when I first did pre-school with my 21 year to now. I laughed out loud all the way through your story as old. I was relieved when my youngest started big school this year. We have expereinced everyone of those incidents :0
    Like you, we didn’t even need a permission note to go on an “excursion” when I was little!

  25. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Oh Charlie aren’t the rules just insane?! Why can’t kids be kids?

    I would love one of these in my lunchbox. That’s a great idea making them in the mini loaf tin instead of a bit one and slicing it. It makes it seem like so much more of a treat!

  26. I love the idea of mini loafs Charlie. Oh this lunchbox theme is driving me crazy!

  27. That is my favourite cake in all the world. I want to be your child.
    Yes, the politically correct thing is out of control in many areas of life.

  28. I hope you told her we hate her.. that director.. c

  29. What a crazy story! So little caring and sharing, which is what I always thought pre-school was about! And what a horrible teacher/superviser that she would talk to a parent like that!

  30. Blond Duck says:

    They won’t let kids have Pb here–one kid might share a sandwich and all hell would break loose.

  31. OMG Charlie I had no idea… Pre-schools were so strict these days… I seriously think kids these days are way too precious sigh…they should be left unprotected sometimes and they’ll be able to grow up being more independent sigh…

    Ohhh this looks AMAZING i think I’m gonna make this VERY VERY soon 🙂 i’ve got everything at home! Just need to get some crushed pineapples YUM! xox

  32. I bet if she said she had a problem with black haired brown skinned little boys she’d be in biiiiiiiiiig trouble!

  33. What an awful director! I don’t think she’d deserve any of these cakes.

  34. Wow I am a bit speechless, and thinking “how rude!” Those mini cakes are a perfect treat to send in a lunch! They look delicious! Hugs, Terra

  35. justonecookbook says:

    Oh boy I have so many of my stories to add to this post, Charlie. My son’s kindergarten teacher wanted everyone to be in her “good student” category and it was really hard for most of boys to fit in those categories. It’s a long story and many stories so I won’t share, but I’m impressed you put up with this director in preschool! The mini cake looks so good. The director needs to eat one of these to calm her down! 😀

  36. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    My goodness, what a terribly “unfun” place! They’re really taking the fun out of childhood 🙁 I would turn to cake too! 😛

  37. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    You’ve shown too much patience with that director…far too much patience.

  38. Oh my. That sounds like a fun director to have to deal with. I don’t know how you kept your cool. I’m not sure I could have with some of those remarks. What a grouch! The cakes look phenomenal! I would absolutely love these. 🙂

  39. what a ridiculous woman – I give you 1000 points for your patience hun. My middle boy bit another child once and we had the same problem the kindy said they couldnt tell us who he bit, but Sammy told us. I rang the mum to apologise and we are great friends to this day. We always joke that we are grateful for the bit. xx

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