Like some of my characters, I sometimes like to have fun injecting science and engineering into everyday things! That and obscene amounts of chocolate. So I made a cake to celebrate both my birthday and the amazingness of the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Seriously, we've just seen the first new sun-orbiting world up close in over 25 years! Just one birthday cake ago Pluto was a tiny speck of light, and now it's this:
Pluto has young mountains and vast ice plains of flowing ice. It's atmosphere is way more interesting than we imagined, and we found four tiny moons (which would still be big enough to wipe out the dinosaurs and then some) probably left over from the collision that made Pluto and Charon.
I present to you, the Pluto Cake! Two icy bodies orbiting each other, made from the aggregation of three kinds each of cake and gelato. The real Pluto and Charon orbit each other at a point in space between them, and I did my best to represent accurate orbital mechanics in cake form.
You can see in the video, how the flame is blowing much harder in the breeze as the platform rotates. It's actually a pretty neat demonstration of something or other.
To make this delicious confection, I baked three cakes. First, a batch of triple chocolate brownie, followed by rich dark chocolate cake and peanut butter cake. After letting the cakes cool in the refrigerator, I began to carve out chunks of each and build the real Pluto cake bit by bit. I folded in gelato above and between each chunk of cake, which effectively glued the cake together as I build the layers up around the core. The blend represents the combination of rock and ice characterizing Kuiper Belt worlds like Pluto and Charon.
Now, gelato is prone to melting so it's important to alternate between working on the cake and letting it cool down in the freezer about every 15 minutes. Once I had two proportionally correct hemispheres of cake and ice cream, it was time for the icing. I wanted to do something unique that would give the impression of the surface New Horizons has shown us, so I melted up some baking chocolate and spread a hard chocolate shell around Pluto (using peanut butter chips for Charon). When that had hardened, I brushed over it with first a mix of melted chocolate and peanut butter chips, then a final thin brushing using just peanut butter chips, to give a three-tone painted look with that striking heart feature and dark spots.
Just before serving I put the cakes on a rotating platform (offset from center) and laid down a bed of wax paper and chocolate shavings for the impression of a brightness inverted starfield (or less distant KBOs). Everyone really enjoyed the cake. It was delicious and moist, I'm doing science, and I'm still alive after another orbit around the sun. The companion planet waves goodbye for now!Share on Twitter Share on Facebook