For the odd moments I can manage to think of something.

Messy messages

As a follow up to the LCD cakes, this is my second attempt to create some cross over between the nerdy and the tasty. Although you do find tasty nerds around if you know where to look!

The ideas for the cakes came from a day out on the DorkBoat. Fun times on the Thames, wonderfully brainy people, amazing presentations and a game of Pong played in a way I don’t think I should recall here and now in case children are reading.

Whilst on board the boat, the terribly talented Sophie McDonald was raising some funds for a Chai-tech project for Mz Tech. She presented her case well and opened a cake tin to reveal – cupcakes with LED lit cherries on top. Oh my! They are wonderful. I bought one of course with a light on it – great cake and a lovely idea. (In case you are worried, the LEDs and batteries were covered in cling film and no, they didn’t bake the batteries).

The gauntlet was down. What baked goods would come after this? A chit chat with @Retrophile, @9600 and @Rainycat hashed around a few ideas for geek bakery. Fluorescent food – not a great thing to digest. Lemon juice batteries – not a bad idea at all. There could even be room for a light up cocktail in there somewhere.

Inspired by the cakes and conversation, I went home to do a little research. The weekend cried out cupcakes! So what could I do with smaller spaces? Code cakes of course. Initially binary was appealing – but hell – translating text into binary – that’s either a lot of cakes or the kind of miniature icing skills that would test the patience of a sugar artist. Not one for me.

I called up a translator online. It changes text into binary, hex, ASCII etc. I tried a few key phrases and the characters in binary were way too long. Hex looked a lot better, it would mean two characters per cake, I wouldn’t have to bake a batch of a bazillion and with the phrases I chose, it could ice a “69” cake for um, Bill and Ted fans….

I chose a recipe online that sounded delicious – apologies to all my dieting and vegan friends. The ingredients included sugar, golden syrup, creme fraiche, butter….yeah. Well, I make great cakes, not diet cakes. They came out light and fluffy and tested well on the passing guinea pig flatmate who got first taste from the oven while they were warm.

Iced with a nice ganache and then set to with the characters. A top tip for people like me – I make my icing bags out of spare paper. Fold into quarters and snip a tiny bit off the corner. No need to clean out a messy piping bag or kit. It doesn’t make fancy shapes, but it does serve me well for writing edible messages on baked goods.

Here are the codes on the cakes. I think they look rather neat. As usual, I have virtual company in the Knight Patisserie – social baking if you like. It’s really nice to add some updates and chat with friends all over the world online while I am in the kitchen. Though it does mean I have icing all over my keyboard – and a few other places besides – it was a messy evening!

So, I added the codes to twitpic and set the wild web to solve the puzzles. It was not a hard task and many people got it right away. I’m not a coder or a code breaker either, but I had a lot of fun learning new things as well as practising my skills with sweets.

Lovely people got back to me with retweets and comments as they solved the pictures. “The Knight Patisserie” and “Save Bletchley Park” were soon revealed as the answers. I am delighted also that people let me know in their cryptic way so as not to spoil the game for others. Yay, you lot!

There’s always time for a little messing around with spare icing too.

All in all a nice time online and in the bakery. Learning, cooking and chatting – even if I went to bed with chocolate ganache still in my hair. One more thing though – there’s a message in the method of my madness – go and visit Bletchley Park. There’s much better codes to crack there than I can bake and well, they could really do with your help too.

Knight Patisserie

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