Thursday, August 5, 2010

Science Cookie Roundup #6

I'm looking through all the fantastic science cookie roundup submissions in my email box this morning--scattered amongst the mountains of emails telling me I've won £500,000,000--and it looks like it is time for another roundup!

This time I have a few of my own cookies to include.

Though you must forgive the pastel colors. While crafting these cookies I was also making butterfly cookies with the young daughter of our UK house guest.

We've got beakers, flasks and test tubes! Best of all, I didn't have to hand cut them. I got my hands on a set of science cookie cutters. The first I've ever seen.

The set included cutters for flasks, test tubes, atoms and beakers.

They're big!

I came across these cutters after reading an email from a physicist/chemist who works at a science museum. She was tired of hand cutting shapes (totally understandable) and ordered a custom set of cookie cutters from a manufacturer. Only she had to order a minimum of 2000 sets to have her design made. To unload the surplus cutters she decided to offer them up to the science-cookie loving

I think Sherry is onto something. When she sells out--and she probably will--I think she should consider having other designs made up. Please? The nerdy baking community needs you. I need you. At the very least, I will buy them. Hand cutting macrophages is a pain!

Sherry sent in the cookies she made for a teachers workshop for the round up and a picture of her custom cutter set. As well as a brain cake they made for their biology meeting.

We have a lot of cakes this round up!

The next cake I received was from Carmela of Mela's Baking Adventures, whom I'm now hopelessly in love with.

I am a Pre-Med student going into my Junior year of undergrad. I was accepted into a program that gives early acceptance to medical school. One of the requirements of the program is to take classes at the medical school each summer, and at the end of the summer, we celebrate our hard work with a dinner banquet and talent show.

For the talent show, I decided to make a cake of an anatomy model (something that all of us at the program could relate to). I have included pictures of the cake, which is red velvet and is sitting on a blue sterile field. If you'd like to see the "surgeons" (aka caterers) in action, I posted those pictures on my blog.

Good thing he/she is only partially anatomically correct, eh. I will take a slice of liver, please.

I have also included the link to the video that I presented at the talent show. My brother put the video together since my talent is not in video editing, but in baking. I hope you like it and will consider posting it in the next Science Cookie Round up.

Love the video, check it out:

If the idea of eating a human torso doesn't disturb you, the next cake may...

Christine, an entomology grad student, of sent me this email and cake:

A friend of mine (Cheryl) in a wildlife and natural resources program defended her Ph.D. about a year ago. In her department, it's customary to turn defenses into potlucks and almost everyone shows up with some sort of treat to share with everyone else. Another friend, Jess, was interested in bringing a cake to the defense and asked if I wanted to help out and of course I did. Cheryl studies crayfish and Jess used to be one of Cheryl's employees for the project, so we planned (while on a boat taking water samples for work) to make a somewhat realistic crayfish cake based on Jess's knowledge of crayfish habitats and behaviors. We then scoured every toy store, party supply shop, and grocery store in the city looking for crayfish or lobster toys to put on the cake with no success. In desperation, Jess (an excellent fisherwoman) eventually thought to look at a bait shop. She bought four fantastic, rather realistic plastic crayfish lures and the crayfish cake was born.

Crayfish make burrows in mud at the bottom of the streams where they live, so we dug some holes out of our chocolate cake to represent burrow before we frosted everything with chocolate frosting. We went with chocolate in part because it is delicious and in part because we needed the cake to look muddy. We then tucked three of the four crayfish lures into the "burrows" after we carefully removed the hooks. They have their claws out like they would in the wild so that they're ready to defend their burrows from challengers. The fourth crayfish didn't have a burrow, so we placed him claw to claw with one of the burrow-holding crayfish to illustrate that it was challenging the resident crayfish to a fight for the burrow. We further decorated the cake with green sprinkles (representing algae) and chocolate sprinkles (representing clumps of mud or small rocks - the piles in front of the "burrows" are there to represent the materials they've excavated while digging the burrows) to give the whole thing a more realistic feel. It was an easy cake to make and the decorations were very simple, but we were quite proud of the realistic feel and scientific accuracy of our cake - until we brought it to the defense and NO ONE WOULD EAT IT! Apparently we had made it too real and people were scared to eat it, thinking that we'd put dead crayfish on it. Jess and I each had a big piece to let everyone know that it really was cake and that it was in fact edible (and tasty!), but we didn't get any takers. Still, Cheryl loved it, so we considered it a success.

Say it with me, folks: AHHHHHHHHHHGGGGG!

So realistic! I love it... after I got over my initial horror.

The next cake is from Carolyn, a grad student working on marine evolutionary genetics.
A few months ago, I helped teach a course in Molecular Ecology. For the last class, I made the students a gel electrophoresis cake as a reward for all their long nights at the gel bench. It's a simple chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing. It's iced to accurately reflect the size of the DNA fragments they were amplifying, complete with primer-dimer and a blank well as a control.

Electrophoresis cake, fantastic! It is about time! Now I want to see someone in the field get over their agar repulsion and make a pertri dish cake.
The other cake depicts a kelp forest ecosystem, and was made as a submission to a friend's Art Show and Garden Party. We're mostly all marine biologists, so the cake represents a classic ecological interaction between sea otters (which eat sea urchins), purple sea urchins (which eat kelp), and of course, kelp (which shelters sea otters). The breakdown of this system with the removal of sea otters is a classic example of a trophic cascade-- but this cake ecosystem is balanced and happy, and even has a few garibaldi for color. This is a dark chocolate cake with brandied ganache, decorated with fondant (of course).

This has to be one of the prettiest science cakes submitted to date. Gorgeous.

Our next set of cookies comes from Catherine, a biology undergrad.

I am finishing up my undergrad in Biology this year and taking an 8 week Microbiology class. I decided to spice things up a bit and make micro cookies to share with them all! Here are a few of them: agar plates, scientists and my favorite virus (to learn about not acquire)... the T4 Bacteriophage!! I ended up making these cookie cutters by cutting out the bottom of an aluminum lasagna pan and shaping them around a design I had made on some thick cardboard, and then I stapled it together.

Love the little piping gel goggles on the scientists! And the lasagna pan-cardboard cutters did a great job! Going all Macgyver on the science cookie creation. Right on!

Kristina, a post-doc biochemist/biophysicist sent a sample of her baking. These perfect female spectral karyotype cupcakes!

Based on Martha's Caterpillar Cupcakes.

Because a science cookie roundup wouldn't be complete without some version of a lab mouse, we our next cake by Sunmi.

For the past two years I have been working in a transplant immunology research lab, spending most of my waking hours with the thousands of mice that my lab uses. When I started working full-time, I found myself with free time on my hands for the first time since middle school, so I began trying out new recipes, churning out baked goods faster than my roommates and I could eat them. Of course the natural solution was to bring the excess food to the lab, and pretty soon I became established as the resident baker of the lab. I even received a marriage proposal the first time I brought cookies for the animal facility staff!

I wanted to make something special for this past Friday since it was my last day at the lab, so I turned to your science cookie posts for inspiration. I settled on a mouse(-shaped) cake (not a cake made of mouse!), which got a great reaction from everyone who saw it. Its proportions are like those of a 2- to 3-week-old mouse, which is my favorite age for mice. I like to think of it as the mouse equivalent of the human 2- to 3-year-old, when it is impossible for anyone not to be adorable. :)

The cake in progress:

Great idea for the whiskers!

Our last submission is from one of the youngest bakers to contribute (16!), Chelsea Ann of Chelsea Ann Coconut.

Chelsea sent in these absolutely fantastic cookies representing neurons, neuromuscular junction, spine with nerves.

I just finished a week of work experience with a neurosurgeon! It was absolutely amazing and to say thanks, I made these cookies. I'm a bit proud :)

I think I got everyone in this month's round-up. If I missed you (the blog's email box is roughly 99% spam, it happens), email me at

If you would like to be in the next round up, shoot me an email with links or photos of your science-themed edible goodies. Including "Science Cookies" or "Science Roundup" in the subject line helps ensure I don't miss you.


Ms. H


  1. I must have those cookie cutters! Also, vast amounts of love for the little scientists and the neurons. Marshmellow spine for the win!

  2. I love all the science cookies you've had on your blog, and as I trained initially as a biologist (of sorts...) I can really appreciate them, but I have to say those beakers and test tubes are the best. I'm off to buy me a set right now...

  3. I'm off to buy a set of the cookie cutters and I can't wait to make them for my next lab potluck! I'll definitely send photos!!

  4. wow---how fun! I love it.

    (and speaking of sugar cookies---I'm going to use your sugar cookie recipe and royal icing to make these guys:

  5. WOW!!!!
    That's an amazing round up...

    All the entries are so interesting and innovative :)

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  6. I must have those cookie cutters! I simply love them (I am an undergraduate in chemistry...). But I live in Denmark, and the webpage says to email for international delivery - but there is no emailaddress? Can anybody help me? Did you get an emailadress when ordering?

  7. Another fabulous round-up. Love the last cookies, bravo!

  8. Hi Køkken-Kemikeren,
    I would be happy to look at shipping to Denmark (I assume paypal works the same overseas?) Just send over your address to me at labcutter(at) and I will let you know what the shipping will be. Thanks all, and especially thanks to you Ms. Humble for the kind words about my cookie cutters!!

  9. I loved looking at everyone of these! Makes me want to go be creative. *sigh* I'm stuck at my desk job. Thanks for sharing all the eye candy. :)

  10. These were absolutely cute! I found you on Food Gawker. I included a link to your site on my Linky Love today!

  11. Had to share on Those science cookie cutter shapes are rare rare rare! I've tried to find them before. Great find!!

  12. love love LOVE!! i've been looking for science cookie cutters.

  13. Thanks for the cookie cutter link! I got a set for me and a set for my dad for Christmas...we're both science nerds. I can't wait to try them out!

    What kind of icing did you use to ice the cookies?

  14. Royal Icing.

    For info on how I do my cookies and a recipe see here:

  15. Dear Ms. Humble,

    Just used some of your science cookie pictures for a lecture I am giving 1st year students tomorrow on ions req for cellular function (fully credited of course!). I hope this gets their a little! Thanks for such a yummy blog w a little hint of science


  16. This is awesome. For a science class we had to build a 3 D model of the cell. I used clear jello and edible ingredients (grapes, licorice and such). I love your creativity.

  17. This is awesome. Thanks for the cookie cutter link! These were absolutely cute!

  18. omg those anatomy cookies/cake look AWESOME! do you have instructions for how to do all that? thanks!


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