One of my favorite celebratory foods is birthday cake. Recently I was enjoying a slice of birthday cake and I decided to sacrifice a small bit for microscopic study. And, yes, the sacrifice was completely worth it! Read on to find out what I saw under my Foldscope 2.0!
History of Birthday Cakes
Did you know that ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek cultures celebrated birthdays with cake? Thankfully, this tradition continues today. Even though the cakes from long ago may look a bit different from the ones we see in bakeries today, one thing has stayed consistent. Birthday cakes are a sweet treat.
The first slide I prepared contained some cake crumbs. I placed the crumbs on a glass slide inside of a ring sticker. I used a 3XT ring sticker to ensure that the crumbs did not get squashed and would maintain their three dimensional texture in the Foldscope.
I used the LED light module 2.0 to play with different lighting techniques. The picture below was achieved with reflective lighting. The cake crumbs actually appear crystalline under the Foldscope. The light hit the crumbs and made them look like sugar crystals! Who knew that the same crumbs that we think of as trash could contain such beauty?
The Introduction of Icing
Icing became a popular way to decorate birthday cakes in the mid 1900s. Buttercream icing is made from a combination of butter and sugar that is whipped together to give it an airy, sweet taste and texture.
To prepare the icing slides, I spread out a small amount of icing on a glass slide and placed a glass coverslip on top of it. I taped the edges of the coverslip to prevent it from moving around while it was in the Foldscope.
The microscopic view of the icing clearly showed the air bubbles trapped inside of the butter/sugar matrix. And the splotches of blue dye in the blue icing definitely added visual interest to the microscopic image.
I love that my Foldscope allows me to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. It is especially wonderful when microscopic views give me a new perspective on objects and a new appreciation of their beauty.
Have you ever looked at cake under a Foldscope 2.0? Use your Foldscope to dive into the microscopic world and find the beauty that is there waiting for you. Share your microscopic images and thoughts on the Microcosmos. Be sure to tag us on social media when you post the results of your explorations, creations, and discoveries! We love to see how Foldscopers around the world are using their Foldscopes in new and innovative ways!