3D Animal Cell Cakes
How to Make an Edible Animal Cell Model
3D cell models — especially edible ones! — are a fun, easy way to learn about animal cells.
Not sure where to begin with your edible animal cell project? This guide has you covered from mitochondria to lysosomes!
Here you'll find step-by-step instructions for baking a delicious, scientifically accurate animal cell cake, as well as a variety of creative animal cell cake pictures and how-to videos to help you out along the way.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
What materials will you use to make your animal cell model?
To make this animal cell cake, you will need a handful of affordable edible and non-edible supplies. These are the materials I used to create the cake pictured here but feel free to switch up the candy to fit your budget.
Round Cake Pan
Mike & Ikes
Candy Fruit Slices
Funfetti Cake Mix
What about the nucleus?
To create an edible nucleus without having to buy extra candy, simply set aside a spoonful of cake batter and use it to bake a small cupcake. The cupcake will fit perfectly atop your animal cell cake!
Step 2: Bake Your Animal Cell Cake
Following these instructions will ensure an A+ animal cell project
If you're baking with Pillsbury's Funfetti cake mix like I did, you'll need to blend the cake mix with three eggs, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and one cup of water.
Once your cake batter is smooth, add a few drops of food coloring to mimic the pink color of many animal cells' cytoplasm. When your cake batter is an even color, pour it into your square cake pan and place the pan in the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the middle of your cake.
This six-inch animal cell model comes with 26 detachable parts that make reviewing cell structure easy. The plastic model also comes with an illustrated assembly guide.
Step 3: Frost Your Cake
To ensure that your animal cell cake is scientifically accurate, you'll need to dye your frosting two different colors. One color will be used to create the cytoplasm, represented by the TOP of your cake. The second color will be used to create the cell membrane, represented by the SIDES of your cake.
Don't forget! If you chose to bake a nucleus cupcake, you'll also need to prepare a small amount of frosting that is dyed a third color.
Lots of supplies can be used to frost your animal cell cake but if you want to give your project a smooth, professional look, I recommend using an actual frosting palette knife. They typically cost about $6 and are incredibly useful in the kitchen. Not interested in purchasing a frosting knife? Try using the smooth edge of a butter knife, the back of a large spoon or a small spatula.
Learning the parts of the cell has never been easier than with this cross-section animal cell model. One half of the model is labeled with each organelle's name while the other half is labeled only with letters.
Step 4: Add Your Organelles
Organelles are the "mini organs" found inside every animal cell. Each organelle has a different function and physical appearance, and together they work to keep the cell alive. Here's a breakdown of the specific organelles found in animal cells and the edible materials I used to represent them:
Animal Cell Organelles:
- Cell Membrane - purple frosting
- Cytoplasm - pink frosting
- Nucleus - green-frosted cupcake (the purple Mike & Ike adds authenticity by representing the nucleolus)
- Golgi Apparatus - green sugar-coated candy belts
- Endoplasmic Reticulum - pink sugar-coated candy belts attached to the nucleus
- Ribosomes - circular sprinkles
- Mitochondria - purple candy fruit slices
- Vacuoles - green Dots
- Lysosomes - blue Mike & Ikes