How to Decorate a Cake to Make It Look Like an Animal Cell

Written by sarah clark | 13/05/2017
How to Decorate a Cake to Make It Look Like an Animal Cell
An animal cell cake combines science and dessert. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Models allow students to use their knowledge of cell biology to create accurate representations of animal cells. These models are often made from a variety of materials. Using food to make a cell model creates a project that is both edible and informative. Students can use nuts, candy and other elements that represent specific parts of the cell to decorate their scientific cake. It is essential to include a key to explain this project. Otherwise, the cake will look like it is topped with a random arrangement of sweets.

Use a picture of an animal cell as a reference. This reference will give you an idea of exactly where to place the decorations and how many of each type of decoration you will need.

Ice the cake on top in one colour to represent the cytoplasm. Ice the sides with another colour to represent the cytoskeleton. Line the top edge with the third colour of icing to represent the cell membrane. Position the cupcake roughly in the middle of the cake. The cupcake's paper represents the nuclear membrane and its icing represents the nucleus. Put the maraschino cherry on top of the cupcake to stand for the nucleolus.

Place walnuts around the cake to represent the mitochondria. Use the round candies to represent the lysosomes and the jelly beans to represent the vacuoles. Make small groups of round sprinkles to represent the ribosomes. Cut off a small piece of the liquorice and position it upright to represent the centrosome.

Gently fold the gummy tape into curves and position it vertically into the top of the cake to represent the Golgi apparatus. Press some round sprinkles into another section of the gummy tape and position it similar to the Golgi apparatus to make the rough endoplasmic reticulum. Make the smooth endoplasmic reticulum by folding over a piece of liquorice lace into a series of curves.

Make a key to label every part of your animal cell cake, especially if you are presenting it as a classroom science project. Use a felt-tipped marker to write on the cake base

Things you need

  • Picture of animal cell
  • Three colours of icing
  • Small iced cupcake in paper
  • Maraschino cherry, stem removed
  • Walnuts
  • Round candies
  • Jelly beans
  • Round sprinkles
  • Liquorice
  • Gummy tape
  • Liquorice lace
  • Felt-tipped marker

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