Fibonacci Sunflower cake

Friday 2 Nov 2012 Tagged inLearning Resources, Meet the growers, Weird & Wonderful

Turing's Sunflowers Cake

We are always excited by the talents and hobbies of our growers as it helps show different ways to communicate and enjoy how fibonacci numbers work in sunflower seed heads. Here, grower, Liisa Milne shares her sunflower cake recipe!

I am not, by any stretch of the definition, a professional baker.

It is one of a long list of hobbies I have tried out and one of a short list that I have actually stuck with. I have lately been into decorating cakes and trying out new techniques so sometimes I make a little extra and freeze it to practice when I have the time and energy.

So when @TuringSunflower asked for “cake loving baking peeps” it seemed like a great excuse to use the cake I had left over from a family birthday not long ago.

This is a great recipe I found on Whisk Kid’s blog for a confetti cake:

1 C milk (237 ml), divided and at room temp

4 egg whites (120 grams), room temp

1 egg, room temp

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

3 C (350 g) cake flour, sifted

1 1/2 C sugar (300 g)

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

6 Tbsp (85 g) butter, cubed and at room temp

6 Tbsp (85 g) vegetable shortening

1/2 C rainbow sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and oil and line two 8" pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 C of the milk, egg whites, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Set aside.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine on low speed for 30 seconds.

Add the butter and shortening and blend on low for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 3/4 C of milk and mix until just moistened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 1 and a half minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add one third of the egg/milk mixture. Beat on medium for 20 seconds, then scrape down the bowl and add the remaining egg/milk mix in the same way. Fold in the rainbow sprinkles.

Divide the batter into your prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Seeing as my nieces don’t like the taste of fondant I don’t get to use it that often but I couldn’t think of a better way to do a sunflower. I broke out my tools and colours and got to work. It took some math and a good eye but I managed to get thirty four spirals going one way and fifty five the other – just like the seed heads I harvested from my pots in the backyard!

Slice of Turing's Sunflowers cake

Happy 100th Alan Turing. I saved a piece for you.

If you have an interesting way to demonstrate the fibonacci numbers in sunflowers, just drop us an email and we'll add your work to the learning resources.