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CAKE TOPOGRAPHY

RANDOMLY GENERATED 3D-PRINTED CAKES

2018

Something not many people know about me is that I am also a pastry chef. From that perspective, I was drawn to the tension between being accurate, as the patisserie domain demands, and being creative. This led me to think about combining my technical design skills with my culinary passion. We all probably know what it feels like to eat a cake, but what is it like to eat a cake made by a computer? One that can even surprise its own creator? I have experimented with emerging technologies before, but our true romance began when I initiated this project.

 

Using 3d printing to create new shapes in food has been around for a while. In my research, however, I wanted to experiment with the possibility of creating an experience involving our senses through it. Of using this precise technology and the fabrication and programming options a computer suggests, to design emotions and an extraordinary HCI eating experience when every bite is a surprise, even for me, the creator. Technology allowed me to design individual bites within the whole of a cake, when each cake is one of a kind.

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Early prototypes of the design research, complex design on both the outer and the inner structures

In my research, I wanted the users to feel a sense of magic when they eat the cake. So while the initial program I designed randomly generated both the inner and the outer structures, I decided to modify it so that only the inner structure will be random. Thus the cake will have a unified, mysterious outer appearance, which will intensify the element of surprise.

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Method 1 – columns, generates a model through random positioning, number of columns, and the thickness and height of each one

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Method 2 – arcs, the chosen method. Generates a model by randomly setting the angle, radius, location, thickness, and height of the arcs inside the cake

The method I developed is capable of generating numerous options of cake, and multiple levels of customization and randomization. I can, for example, produce a semi-random cake, when I decided the dosage of the flavors and the program shuffle their dispersal in the cake. And I can also produce a fully randomized cake when the program chooses the flavors, dosage, location, and structure.

Method flowchart:

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Example model - three inner layers of different flavors, on the right is the carrier cream, substructed of the inner structure

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Example model - inner layers overlap

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Example model - isometric view of the inner structure

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Example model - the complete cake 

During the study, I developed different textures and cream compounds in various thicknesses, to create and refine the cake’s architecture so that it could be printed. My exploration led me to design unique flavors for the internal shapes, and to create a neutral carrier cream, to be printed between and around them.

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Material research, experimenting with different compounds, textures, and baking techniques

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Experimenting with a paste extruder

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Material research, experimenting with different compounds, textures, and baking techniques

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