How to make a dino cake

CakeDNA1. Realise that your turn to bring cake to work is coming around, and everyone still remembers that DNA cake you made last year.

2. Try to think of another science-themed cake, and remember the dinosaur cookie cutters you won by dressing as a TARDIS at Science Online.

3.  Look up dinosaur cakes online. Oh wow, those are all really impressive.

4. A few weeks before your cake is due, try a test cake, inspired by this cake with fossils inside.

5. Fail miserably.

6. Eat cake for breakfast a few days, until you really can’t stand leftover cake anymore and throw the test cake out.

7. Decide to just keep it simple for the actual cake: two layers of sponge, frosting in between, layered in ready-to-roll icing.

8. Buy all the necessary ingredients. Again, keep it simple: Buy pre-mixed chocolate cake mix for the sponges. It’s meant for cupcakes, but it will be fine.

9. Make a schedule to figure out when various biscuits and cakes need baking or icing. To be ready by Friday, the first baking round is on Tuesday morning.

10. Get up early on Tuesday to bake the first round of dino biscuits.

2014-06-03 20.52.4911. Ice the dino biscuits Tuesday evening and bake a few more. This is going so well!

12. Get up early again on Wednesday, this time to bake the layers of the cake. This instant cake mix is so easy: just add eggs and water, mix, and bake. What could possible go wrong?

13. Bake a few cupcakes with some left-over cake mix (in another colour) from the previous week’s failed cake experiment.

14. Take the cake layers out of the oven, and watch one of them instantly, spectacularly, collapse.

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15. Panic.

16. Despair.

17. Message cake expert Jonathan for help, even though it’s before 9AM and he’s busy with FameLab at the Cheltenham Science Festival.

18. Go to work, and come home to find the second cake half has also slowly collapsed during the day.

19. Make a large amount of frosting, using some instant coffee you took home from a hotel that one time.

2014-06-04 19.21.0720. Fill the cake craters with bits of cupcake and lots of frosting.

21. There isn’t enough frosting. Make more, using  coffee from another hotel.

22. Add the other cake half and assemble the cakey mess into something vaguely cake-shaped.

 

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23. Roll out icing and cover the cake-shaped thing with it until it looks like a real cake.

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24. Since you used up all the icing sugar in making the frosting to fix your mistakes, buy some more at lunch time the next day.

25. That evening, spend about an hour practicing how to draw a very basic T. rex skeleton, and copy it onto the cake in icing sugar.

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26. On Friday, serve biscuits and cake at work, and realise that basic drawing skills trump mediocre baking skills.

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27. Vouch to just bring a cabbage covered in icing sugar next year.

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Eva

Eva Amsen is a writer, science communicator and blogger, interested in the overlap between science and music, art, pop culture, and daily life. Portfolio | Twitter | Contact

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