Last year I made my first physics cake for a departing year 13 class. A chance to combine two things I love: physics and cake! This is a chocolate courgette cake with chocolate ganache and it was gorgeous. You can’t see or taste courgette after it’s baked. Think carrot cake. I have made it with and without the hazelnuts and think it’s infinitely better without them.
I decided to bake a physics themed cake for my classes when they leave school or sixth form. Because it’s fun, they seem to like it, and it’s cake! The challenge of decorating it with a physics theme, whilst also possessing my cake decorating skills, is great. I had an inspired moment when I realised I could make a Feynman diagram from Smarties for this one. My students got it immediately (hooray!) but in the staff room was a slightly different story!
This year I had year 11s and year 13s leaving on the same day. Double cake dilemma! I made sticky ginger cake with ginger buttercream for the 13s. It used a 23cm tin and was a mammoth cake considering I only had 6 students this year. Only three were in the final lesson to eat it. Happy staff room at break time. 🙂 I can’t find the recipe online. It’s an old one I kept from an old BBC Good Food magazine. The partner website is the best place to get delicious, reliable recipes from. I can’t recommend it enough.
Little silver balls are not pleasant to eat, but they allowed me to put a bit more detail into the decoration. Suggestions from the staff room for the picture were a wave (too simple, even for me!) and Isaac Newton (ha!). A particle physics inspired cloud chamber picture is what I went for. I’m very happy with the result.
I’m afraid I’d used up all my decorating power for the ginger cake. Year 11 got amazing grasshopper brownies, with quite disappointing iced physics symbols and constants on top. One student asked if I had baked them. Well, I would be pretty gutted if I’d bought them and they looked like this!
The recipe I used was, again, from Good Food magazine. I can’t find the same one online, but this is similar. Mine didn’t have alcohol in *warning klaxon* I wouldn’t have done that and taken them to school! Mine had peppermint essence in the white chocolate layer and the chocolate topping was just dark chocolate and golden syrup. They were lovely and I was hoping to have a nice picture of the inside with the layer but they ended up looking scruffy after I’d hacked them into pieces. They looked a mess. It was unexpected that we ended up having a good discussion and a little quiz, with year 11 trying to guess what each of the symbols stood for. They got the Hubble constant. I think this is called revision by stealth!
Eating cake with classes in the lab on their last lesson also feels a bit good because we aren’t supposed to eat in the lab. Take that heath and safety! (don’t worry, I took paper plates and didn’t rub the cake over the lab benches 😉 )
Looking online at other peoples physics cakes is marvellous. I encourage more people to decorate cakes in line with their subject themes!