Hacking Cakes With LEDs


A large part of science is making mistakes and learning from them in order to make each subsequent design that much better. When your experimentation involves hacking cakes, each failure is an exercise in deliciousness.

[Craig] and his group of research partners often bake electronics-related cakes whenever part of the team departs in search of other opportunities. Over the years, farewell parties have seen renditions of anything from multimeters to quantum computers. This time around, he wanted to make something that contained actual electronics parts, while still remaining edible.

He settled on making an LED matrix inside of a cake, using silver foil wrapped licorice for wires. In the end however, he found the silver foil to be incredibly difficult to work with, and the matrix ended up being little more than a few randomly blinking LEDs.

Even though things didn’t work out quite how he planned, he is not discouraged. The cake was still quite tasty, and through this process he has discovered edible silver paint, which will undoubtedly make it into the next farewell cake.

25 thoughts on “Hacking Cakes With LEDs

  1. Carbon is “edible” and conductive, right? Maybe pencil leads – those are clay and carbon.

    What about aluminum foil… might have an aluminum oxide layer though that renders it non conductive. Not edible.

    Gold leaf is edible and quite conductive. Very flimsy though.

  2. the cake is a lie.
    actually, i’m gonna go play some Portal 2, thanks for reminding me, poster #2. to think i was watching anime when i could be trying to find that stupid potato battery that disappeared when we fell down the hole.

  3. Looks like a big, delicious, heavy metals delivery device.*

    Dust it with lead oxide powder for decoratibe sweetening!**

    *”Oh hi, person I don’t like. Have some delicious cake!”

    **Actually don’t. Eating lead is a very bad idea.

  4. Seeing as polyurethane upholstery foam makes for really good LED diffusers, and seeing as “angel food” sponge cake has a texture (and taste) disturbingly similar to upholstery foam, perhaps the most effective course of action here would be to create a serving tray that illuminates a cake from beneath rather than within (say a ring of ShiftBrites under an angel food bundt cake).

    Dammit…now I have to go try that.

  5. Although I’m a nerd, when I want to eat a cake, I want to eat a moist cake made of flour, eggs, sugar, milk and chocolate, not a dang motherboard.
    I guess that puts me safely in the mild and recoverable geeks category, which is a relief.
    What’s next, a WiFi enabled salad that tweets the eating status of your salad?
    @steveo: I think someone beat you to it by about 7 hours.

  6. Good idea Phil Burgess. and you could also make some standoffs with some tubes (stainless?) a few inches above the tray and then just punch holes through the cake to make them seem to be on top of it, and slice around it to eat.

  7. – bake a normal cake
    – put cake on a glass platter
    – cut out oversized led pattern (e.g. 7 segment)
    – fill pattern with led-colored jello
    – duct-tape bright leds underneath glass platter.

    now, you can have an anniversary cake with a countdown.

  8. Reminds me of the episode of The Little Rascals where the kids put all that crap in the cake for “prizes”. Remember the noise coming from the oven?

    This episode isnt contained on many collectors editions (released dozens of times under license) because Stymie wipes his brow, flinging off the pigment in his skin. My, how times have changed.

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