At the Gunn Robotics Team year-end party, there is a long-standing informal competition of engineered cakes. An engineered cake cake can incorporate engineering in any way.

In 2012, Bill Dunbar was stepping down as GRT instructor after sixteen years of teaching. I wanted to make a memorable cake for the occasion.


I made a cake showing the GRT robot playing Rebound Rumble, that year's game in the the FIRST Robotics Competition.

The robot has a pretzel stick frame and Lifesaver wheels. On the graham cracker playing field are four basketball hoops made from thick pretzel sticks, graham crackers, and Redvines. The structures are held together with royal icing, and the basketball hoops are reinforced with hot glue. A gummy bear crows stands in for GRT students.

A 3/4"-bore, 1"-stroke pneumatic actuator inside of the cake shoots balls (mini jawbreakers) towards the basketball hoops, although they don't actually go in. The cake is supported with chocolate rice cakes to leave room for the other side of the actuator.


Mr. Dunbar also submitted an engineered cake, which slices itself using the mechanism from a folding umbrella. Both are shown in the video below.


3D model

I modeled the cake using Autodesk Inventor before building to make sure everything fit and to generate scaled dimensions.

Beginning with a somewhat accurate model of my 10.5in x 14.75in cake pan, I added the pneumatic actuator, the GRT robot at 1/10th scale, and the FRC competition field (provided by FIRST) at 1/25th scale.

You can download the complete assembly below.