[A rule 90 Cake] - A New Kind of Science: The NKS Forum
A New Kind of Science: The NKS Forum
A rule 90 Cake(Click here to view the original thread with full colors/images)
Posted by: Ed Pegg Jr
I am a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Just recently I helped one of my math major friends celebrate her birthday by presenting her with a pyramid-shaped cake decorated with math concepts on each of its four sides. For one of the faces on the cake I made an image of Rule No. 90 that has been described in the research done by Dr. Wolfram. I would be happy to provide additional pictures or more information on how the cake was made. Let me know if there is any interest. Thanks.
Graduate Student MIT - EECS
[more details were asked for]
As far as making the cake was concerned I used the wedding cake recipe provided in the Joy of Cooking. They had a whole section on methods for "engineering" a wedding cake. I was a bit scared when the first sentence in the recipe description said something like, "Building a wedding cake is a glorious undertaking." This was my first attempt to bake anything of significant scale. I made it all from scratch and ended up spending 10 hours in the kitchen mixing egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar, flour, and whatnot to produce a bunch of sheet cakes that I could cut up and stack in the shape of a pyramid. In sum total I used something like 40 egg whites, 25-30 cups of flour, 15-20 cups of sugar (not including the icing), 4 pounds of butter, and 6 tubs of Shaw's brand icing. According to the recipe it was enough cake to serve 140 people. In truth, I think this figure was fairly accurate. I live in a cooperative living group in Cambridge and my entire house (all 30 of us) took an entire week eating it nightly to finish it off. My main motivation for using the scratch recipe as opposed to a box mix was that wedding cakes are known to be more dense than other types of cake. I wanted to have something strong enough to support its own weight once I stacked it into the shape of a pyramid. Attached to this email I have included a few additional pictures that show a bit more about the cake. Namely the other sides and the state of the cake just before the icing step. As you will see from the pre-icing photo, I used square cardboard sheets cut to successively smaller sizes to separate the 6 layers in the stack. The construction sequence involved placing down a layer of 2 inch thick cake cut to the correct dimensions and then placing the cardboard sheet down on top of the cake layer prior to stacking the next layer on top of it. For additional support 2 inch long dowels were cut and hot glued to the sides of each of the cardboard sheets such that the weight of subsequent cake layers would not have as much of a tendency to crush the bottom layers in the cake. After stacking the 6 layers together they looked like a pyramid-shaped staircase. Since I wanted my cake to have flat sides that I could decorate, I trimmed the stair edges off using a giant knife. After the basic structure of the cake was in place I spent another 10 hours decorating it with icing. The blue icing I had to make myself as I was unable to find any blue icing at the grocery store. This was easily done by mixing blue food coloring with the white icing. One of the sides was a replication of Pascal's triangle, another was an image of Rule No. 90, the third was a parody of the cover of the Algebra text written by MIT's Dr. Michael Artin (I placed my friend's name Ananda where the word Algebra would have been on the actual text), and the last side was a simple birthday announcement for my friend Ananda Leininger (she's a senior in Math at MIT) who happens to live in my living group called "pika." In the end, I spent a total of about 35 dollars making the cake and 20 hours in baking, construction, and decoration time. The base of the cake was 14"X14" and the overall height was approximately 12". I can honestly say that this is the first time I have ever needed to use trigonometry to bake something. It was certainly alot of fun, but I don't think I will be signing myself up for such a large birthday commitment again anytime too soon. I guess if things don't work out with my Ph.D. I could always pursue a life as a cake decorator. Anyway, I hope this helps. If you need any more info I'll be happy to provide it.
Forum Sponsored by Wolfram Research
© 2004-2013 Wolfram Research, Inc. | Powered by vBulletin 2.3.0 © 2000-2002 Jelsoft Enterprises, Ltd. |
vB Easy Archive Final - Created by Xenon and modified/released by SkuZZy from the Job Openings