Sunday, May 22, 2011

Andium: The Chemistry Cake

Shhh...don't tell my friend Andy, a chemist and all-around science guy...I made him a cake. His thoughtful girlfriend, Stephanie (whose fun blog can be found here), asked me to make a cake for his surprise party. Her creative idea was to have a cake made in the style of an element on the periodic table, using the birthday boy's initials. I was eager to challenge myself with another new cake endeavor!

First I made some little molecules (white phosphorus, methane, fluoride, carbon monoxide, ozone and good ol' H20) from gumdrops and toothpicks.

Since around 30 people indicated they were attending the party, I couldn't just make one cake, but I didn't want to upstage the element cake with a second cake, so I decided on a coordinating cupcake design. First I made little chocolate elements.

Then I iced a batch of cupcakes and added an element to each one.

In all I made 24 cupcakes with elements--not quite an entire periodic table, but enough for three period plates.

Then it was time to decorate the large cake. I've never worked with fondant (a sugary, doughy substance used to cover cakes) but this seemed like the right project to try it on. So I made some paper stencils of the letters and numbers I needed and rolled out the fondant.

I used the birthday boy's age for the atomic number and his birthdate for the mass. To cut more neatly, I will need some practice! Fortunately, fondant is quite pliable and I could reshape it a little on the cake.

I added edges around the iced cake and placed the fondant on top.

Not too shabby! And for the final display, we set all of the pieces out on a table at Pintxo, a hip tapas and wine bar in Seattle. 

I loved seeing all the different "elements" of this project come together!


  1. YAY! It turned out even better than I had imagined! You are SO awesome! I loved the gumdrop molecules - they were such a great touch! Thank you again :-)

  2. Thank YOU for giving me the opportunity and inspiration for the cake! I am so glad I could give you two something special!

  3. Excellent. As a chemist i like your efforts from the core of heart. Well done

  4. Love them! How did you make the chocolate elements? Thanks :)

    1. I used melting chocolate to make the elements. First I piped the square borders and the symbols (in reverse) in dark chocolate and let it set. Then I filled the squares over the symbols with colored chocolate. Does that make sense? Feel free to email me if you want more details.