A while ago we entered the Global Cupcake Hackathon (see our previous post about it here), we thought it was time to document what we did and what we got out of it. Look out for a followup post with a write-up of the cupcakes SkullSpace sent to us.

What we did

The aim of the Cupcake Challenge was to send a decorated cupcake over 1000 miles in the post (the standard, national postal service, wherever you are).

Points are awarded for:

  1. posting overseas
  2. amount of time it’s in the post
  3. creativity of method used to stabilize the cupcake
  4. stability of mixture / quality of ingredients
  5. appearance
  6. taste
  7. condition

Now, since we’re a group of geeks we mainly concentrated on the creativity of stabilization. We had a couple of good suggestions to start with:

  1. Use a card and cling-film jig to suspend the cupcake in mid-air
  2. Bake the cupcake INSIDE another cake

After a quick prototyping session it was decided that the clingfilm-cardboard rig would take a lot of time to perfect (which we didn’t have). Here’s a grainy photo of a mystical cupcake levitating:

Yes, if you look close enough you might notice that it IS a High School Musical cake box. I'm THAT cool.

So, with that idea shelved we moved onto planning our cake-in-a-cake-cake. We thought of various ways to protect the cupcake, like wrapping it in tin-foil and baking the outer-cake at a really high temperature so we didn’t double-cook the cupcake. After much deliberation we decided to go for a much simpler solution –

That’s right, we embedded it in a loaf of bread. The shot above is from our test-run with a shop-bought cake.

We cut a hole in the top of the loaf, made sure there was enough space for the cake, inserted the cake and put the crust back on top. We then built a cardboard box around the bread.

Then we tested it:

Toby, Mike and Felix 'testing' the cupcake packaging.

The tests proved positive, with zero damage to the cake after being kicked around the hackspace for five minutes. On to making the cupcake!

Me and Barney each made batches of cupcakes to bring along to the ‘space on the Saturday of the hackathon. We had a taste-test which proved inconclusive as everyone was being too polite (I still think Barney’s were nicer, but I’m quite self deprecating). Anyways, we then decorated and packaged our cake inside it’s bready container, and as they say‚Ķ a picture tells a thousand words:

What we gained from the hackathon

The main thing I think we got out of the weekend’s hacking was connections with other hackers across the world. During our hackathon in Brighton we streamed our activities on UStream, as did many other hackspaces. We ended up talking to guys from the Dublin hackerspace (TOG) along with chatting to the guys at Skullspace on IRC a lot.

I think that the global hackathon challenges are a great thing for bringing together the often small and isolated groups of geeks, nerds and hackers that hang out at hackerspaces.