Then: Kenner Products introduced the Easy-Bake Oven in 1963 and it quickly became one of most sought-after toys that holiday season. The toy oven, which was powered by an incandescent light bulb, quickly took “playing house” to a level of realism that was nearly impossible for a child to believe.
The Coopee household had an Easy-Bake that was shared amongst the five siblings. Ours was the lime green, Betty Crocker-branded model from the ‘70s — which made for quite a contrast with our harvest-gold kitchen. Although we had no idea who Betty Crocker was at the time, the appeal of the toy was instantaneous. We managed our own kitchen, invented recipes using real ingredients and routinely foisted our culinary concoctions onto unsuspecting parents and visitors (sorry, Mom!).
Now: Hasbro continues to market and sell the Easy-Bake, but what a difference 50 years makes! The latest model, the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, has replaced the light bulb with a heating element, primarily because the newer, energy-efficient light bulbs don’t generate enough heat to actually bake treats properly inside the plastic shell. The design of the oven is also VERY different, resembling a toaster oven that has been featured on an episode of TLC’s Overhaulin’. One thing that hasn’t changed? The ability for kids to plan, bake, and share baked goods with others.
The Easy-Bake Oven has had quite the evolution over the years. For a look back at some of the models, browse through the Light Bulb Baking website.