How can we know what’s underground if we can’t see it? One method is core sampling. I wrote a post about my experience taking sediment samples from the bottom of Long Island Sound, and this is just one example of a real life use for core sampling. An easy way to model core sampling at home is with cupcakes.
A sediment sample from the bottom of Long Island Sound. Note the distinct layers.
- cupcake pan and liners
- cake batter
- food dye
- clear straws
All you need to do is whip up your favorite cake batter and separate it into about 5 bowls. Use food coloring or a natural dye to make 5 different colors, then spoon each color into your lined cupcake pan. Be sure to vary the layers so each cupcake is different. Bake the cupcakes, then allow them to cool and top them with your favorite frosting.
Use a clear straw to take core samples. Children can choose to use a coordinate system for their holes or may prefer to wing it. As they pull up each sample, they should note the colors present. After they’ve taken samples, they can guess what the cupcake will look like or even draw a picture. Then cut the cupcake in half and see how what it looks like. Did you drill enough holes? Were the layers in the order you expected? Finally, go ahead and eat the cupcake!
Use a foil or opaque cupcake liner and cover the whole top with frosting so you really can’t see any of the colors.
Bake strawberries, blueberries or chocolate chips into the cake to play the role of fossils.
You will need to make the batter very dark so the layers will be obvious in the straws.
The layers will compress a little as you push down on the cupcake, so you may not be able to tell their relative thickness.
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This post is part of my Fun Family Learning series. Please let me know what you think about it and feel free to request a future topic!
It seems that, at 39 1/2 weeks pregnant, all of my preferences for sustainable, healthy food have flown right out the window.
This fluffernutter frosting is perfect on top of chocolate cupcakes. I used a cake mix, but feel free to use your favorite recipe. This recipe is courtesy of my mom-in-law’s recipe collection.
- 1 cup marshmallow fluff
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the fluff, peanut butter and butter until well blended. Add the sugar, salt, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread on cupcakes (makes enough for 2 doz.).
What’s your favorite recipe for when you want to be really bad?
Filed under Food, Recipes
I’ve tried many times to get this recipe right. My Great-Grandma Rose made wintergreen-iced cupcakes, and they were always the perfect shade of pale pink with the perfect wintergreen flavor. The first time I tried the recipe, I mixed wintergreen extract (which is hard to find) and red food coloring into store-bought vanilla frosting. That wasn’t right. Then I tried mixing it into homemade buttercream. Nope. Next I tried boiled frosting with an egg white, making a fluffly meringue-like frosting. Still not right. Then I realized… icing, not frosting!!!
I think I actually got the texture and consistency right this time, but they’re a little too bright pink for me, even though I only added one drop of red food coloring. Next time, I’ll double the recipe except for the red food coloring.
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp wintergreen extract
- 1 drop red food coloring (really, 1/2 drop would be better)
- your favorite white cupcake recipe
Bake and cool cupcakes. Stir together all icing ingredients. Spoon over cupcakes or dip them in the icing (which is what I think grandma did, and what I’ll try next time). Enjoy!
The Green Awakening Fashion Show was a huge success last night! I mentored a senior who organized this event as an independent study project to incorporate her interest in fashion with her interest in environmental science. The evening’s events consisted of the fashion show of eco-friendly clothing, speakers Rob and Corinne from the online show Threadbanger, and a silent auction of all the fashion show items. We also had a cupcake bar (Ed’s sister Kate, mom Marie, and I made them all). All of the proceeds will be donated to the Sierra Club. All of the models were students, and other volunteers included students and parents (Including my mom backstage and Ed’s mom at the cupcake bar). I am so proud of all of my students who participated.
The New Haven Register ran an article the day before that talks a little bit more about the show. Read about it here. Since I worked backstage, I was unable to snap any photos of the actual fashion show. However, the local paper was there, and once the story runs I’ll be sure to link it.
So far, over $1500 has been raised, but donations are still coming in!
Here are some pictures from my mom, who also volunteered at the show. I can’t post pictures of my students, so they’re kind of limited.
Corinne and Rob from Threadbanger.
One of the tables at the silent auction.
Another silent auction table.
Ed’s mom, Marie, setting up all of the cupcakes that she, Kate and I baked for the show. The cupcakes were a HUGE hit! I have to say that the coconut was the best. Nobody could believe they were vegan or organic.
Me and Ed at the auction. He was ready to go home…
Ed’s sister Kate and I baked over 500 mini-cupcakes yesterday for the upcoming Green Awakening Fashion Show at my school on Earth Day, organized by one of my students. We used recipes from the book: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Yes the cupcakes are vegan, meaning that they contain no animal products (milk, eggs, butter, etc.) Although I personally would never consider becoming vegan, as I see nothing wrong with milking a cow or collecting eggs (or a big juicy steak for that matter), I have to say that the recipes are quite good. And it’s nice to know that all people at the fashion show, no matter what their food preferences, will be able to enjoy the beautiful confections. We used unbleached cupcake wrappers to be especially green. We looked for recycled ones but couldn’t find them. We made 8 types of cupcakes:
- banana cupcakes with chocolate glaze and banana chips on top
- vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting and sprinkles
- chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting
- mint-chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting
- blueberry cupcakes with vanilla frostin and a blueberry on top
- carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
- coconut cupcakes with toasted coconut frosting
- chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and an oreo on top
We didn’t finish decorating all of the cupcakes yesterday, but we did get them all baked. We worked straight through from noon til almost 8 pm. Here are some pictures of the cupcakes we did finish:
Note that I broke in my homemade apron.