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The Enigma Machine Cake Celebtrating Alan Turing's Centenary

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It has been a while since I posted anything here which is rather remiss of me but I have good reason having just got married myself! I fully intend to post pictures of my own cake in a little while but for now I thought I would finally put some of the replica Enigma machine I made entirely out of cake for the party celebrating the centenary of the birth of computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing.

An original Enigma machine from which I drew inspiration
An original Enigma machine from which I drew inspiration

The cake was commissioned for the Alan Turing Centenary Arts and Culture Sub-committee  party held on the Dorkboat and at Watermans Gallery in London on what would have been Turing’s 100th birthday back in June. The big man himself was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist. He is wildly considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence as well as also being instrumental in helping to crack the German Enigma machine code during the Second World War.

The brief was to create a cake to resemble an Enigma Machine, no small feat considering it has loads of fiddly keys that look like an old-fashioned typewriter. It also had to feed 100 people.

The finished Enigma machine cake for the Turing Centenary Celebrations
The finished Enigma machine cake for the Turing Centenary Celebrations

In the interests of keeping it all entirely edible I set about making dozens of little keys out of black gum paste before hand painting them with cocoa butter, white dusting powder and silver colours. In fact I made double the amount I needed to allow for breakages. Next, I rolled dozens of thin cylinders out of gum paste and set those aside to dry before joining the tops and the bottoms with a little black royal icing to make the keys.

Meanwhile, the base cake, a vanilla sponge, was covered in a layer of fondant and airbrushed a bronze colour to provide enough cake for everyone and for the Enigma machine to look like it was sitting on a plinth. The machine itself was made from chocolate cake and carved into shape. Individual pieces of strengthened fondant were laid on the sides and painted to give a wood effect. Black fondant was laid over the top and then holes cut out in which to insert the various keys, indicators etc.

The cake was completed with a figurine of Alan Turing and an airbrushed sugar sign marking the centenary.

Here is a close up the of the sugar keys on the Enigma Machine Cake
Here is a close up the of the sugar keys on the Enigma Machine Cake
Close up of the Alan Turing Figurine
Close up of the Alan Turing Figurine
Bird's eye view of the top of the Enigma machine cake
Bird's eye view of the top of the Enigma machine cake
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