The Real Cookin’ Tastybake Oven Set is an Easy Bake style children’s cooking toy manufactured by Tyco Industries, and released in the US, UK, and other countries worldwide in 1989.
History of the Easy-Bake style Oven
Introduced in 1963 by Kenner Products (USA), the original Easy-Bake Oven was a startlingly simple yet incredibly popular and versatile toy that allowed children around the world to experience real baking in a safe and accessible format.
Powered by a 100w incandescent light bulb as the heat source, it was essentially an overdesigned light fitting in the shape of a toy oven, and due to the interaction between heat, electricity and children, was carefully certified by United Laboritories (U.L) to provide both Kenner and prospective parent buyers with a guarantee of its electrical safety.
Allowing kids to bake their own miniature cakes, muffins, and cookies without the danger of burning themselves or starting a fire, the concept has withstood the test of time and remains on sale even today, 80 years after it was first released. For a toy of any type, that is truly incredible.
As with any simple and successful design, competing toy companies did what they could to reproduce the same success while doing their best to avoid legal trouble. Hasbro was amongst the first with their 1979 Holly Hobby Oven, and a decade later Tyco would give it a shot during their era of “Come at me, Bro!” corporate copycats (see Lego vs Tyco).
Inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2003, the Easy-Bake is royalty when it comes to the history of toys.
Features and Design
While it wasn’t the first with the concept, the Tyco Real Cookin’ Tastybake was well executed; a quality product, like all Tyco products, backed by a nation-wide TV advertising campaign that ensured boys and girls knew what to ask Santa for that Christmas.
As with the original, this 1989 Tyco version is powered by a 100 watt incandescent light bulb which is not included in the pack, though it does include low temperature cake and cookie baking recipes and assortment of accessories (see below).
Matching the competitions U.L listing* for safety, and not including the lightbulb to actually get it going in the box (ensuring a parent would need to be involved), it’s clear that Tyco had safety in mind when designing and marketing this toy.
If you’re unaware, Underwriters Laboratories (U.L) is the #1 most trusted electrical safety certification organization in the USA, possibly the world. There’s no doubt electrical certification was required (but not necessarily by U.L) given the Tastybake is powered by mains 110V/240V electricity, with no batteries in sight.
Included are an instruction and recipes manual, various plastic and steel cooking utensils, measuring scoops, pans, molds, etc. And 5 packs of premix including:
- Chocolate (Flavored) Fudge Mix
- Super Cookie Mix
- Yellow Cake Mix
- Creamy Fudge Frosting mix
- Chocolate (Flavored) Brownie Mix
All major Tyco Toys were backed by nationwide TV advertising campaigns across the USA, and many international TV commercials would redub those in a local language.
Here’s the original American commercial which we’ve attempted to sharpen up and bring back some of the detail on. This AI enhanced process can produce some additional artifacts, but does create an overall crisper, sharper picture than the original blurry VHS tape where it came from!
From the manufacturer
Bakes real cookies, brownies, and even delicious fudge. Unique safety engineered oven door is designed so that it won’t open without the special spatula.
Complete 19-piece baking set includes cake and icing mixes, rainbow jimmies, mixing bowl, mixing spoon, 3 measuring spoons, icing knife, round metal baking pan, metal cookie sheet, 3 cookie cutters, safety oven spatula, and recipe booklet.
Bakes with one 100 watt light bulb (not included).
This product is listed by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and bears the mark: UL– Tyco 1990 Catalog
Tyco included a small recipe card with instructions on how to use the pre-mix assortments which were included and sold separately (see below).
To demonstrate the cooking/baking that was possible on a Tastybake Oven, here are the included recipe types and the required ingredients:
- Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars
Inc. 1pk Chocolate Chip Cake Mix, 1 Cup Flaked Coconut, 2 Eggs, 1/2 Cup Crisco Oil
- Sugar Cookies
Inc. 1pk Yellow or White Cake Mix, 3/4 Cup Crisco Shortening melted and cooled, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of milk
- Double Chocolate Chewies
Inc. 1pk Chocolate Cake Mix, 2 Eggs, 1/4 Cup Crisco Oil, 1pk semi-sweet chocolate pieces, 1 cup chopped nuts
Inc. Graham Crackers, Chocolate Bar, Peanut Butter, Small or Large Marshmallows
As well as a recipe for frosting, to add to the top of cakes and cookies. Mmm….
The Real Cookin’ Tastybake Oven was sold alongside several accessories, including…
- 24 Piece Deluxe Baking Set
Bake up to 6 delicious deserts with this 24-piece Baking set. It’s loaded. It’s loaded with hours of home baking fun… with 8 mixes, 2 toppings, 10 utensils, 3 metalware pieces, and a recipe booklet.
- 4 Pack and 8-Pack Real Cookin’ Mix Assortment
Model: 3101, 3102
Cookie and cake mix that made preparing treats with the Tastybake super easy, although you could certainly just use any regular ingredients and cake mixes in the right quantities.
- Real Cookin’ Tastybake 10-Piece Metalware Set
From the manufacturer: Can be used in both Real Cookin’ Tastybake oven and conventional oven. Includes Cupcake and Heart-shaped Pans, fluted Pie Pan, 3 fluted Muffin Pans, 2 Cake Molds, Cookie Sheet, and Cookie Cutter. Ovenproof. (Photo in Gallery)
- Birthday Cake/Pudding Pie Assortment
Availability and Collectability
The Tyco Tastybake remains widely available on eBay, typically boxed and in good condition. What’s more, the prices are affordable, and similarly priced to vintage Easy Bake Ovens of the same era.
Given the volume of Tastybake toys that are still around, despite being released only for a few short years in Tyco’s heyday, it seems people have held onto them, valued them, and appreciated that one day they’ll become vintage collectables documented in a museum, or online gallery just like this one.