I'm a former middle school science teacher who has made and graded hundreds of plant and animal cell models over the years.
How to Make an Edible Animal Cell Model
Three-dimensional models—especially edible ones—are a fun and easy way to learn about animal cells. Not sure how to begin this project? You'll find step-by-step instructions to bake a delicious, scientifically-accurate animal cell cake below. My guide has you covered from mitochondria to lysosomes, and following these instructions will ensure an A+ animal cell project!
1. Gather Your Supplies
You'll need a handful of affordable supplies, both edible and non-edible. You can see the materials I used to make the cake below, but feel free to switch up the candy types to fit your budget and taste.
- Round cake pan
- Cooking spray
- Mixing bowls
- Oven mitts
- Funfetti cake mix
- Vegetable oil
- Food coloring
- Mike & Ikes
- Candy belts
- Circular sprinkles
- Candy fruit slices
2. Bake the Cake
If you're using Pillsbury's Funfetti cake mix as I did, you'll need to combine the cake mix with the following ingredients:
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
Once your cake batter is smooth, add a few drops of food coloring to mimic the pink color of many animal cells' cytoplasms. When your cake batter is an even color, pour it into a square cake pan and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You'll know it's ready if you poke a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean.
To create an edible nucleus without having to buy extra candy, simply set aside a spoonful of cake batter and use it to bake a small cupcake. The cupcake will fit perfectly on top of your animal cell cake!
3. Frost the Cake
To make sure your animal cell cake is scientifically accurate, you'll need to dye your frosting two different colors. One color will be used to create the cytoplasm, which is represented by the top of the cake. The second color will be the cell membrane, represented by the sides of the cake.
Don't forget! If you chose to bake a nucleus cupcake, you'd also need to prepare a small amount of frosting dyed a third color.
You can use many tools to frost your animal cell cake, but I recommend using an actual frosting palette knife if you want a smooth, professional look. They cost about $6 and are incredibly useful in the kitchen. If you don't want to use one, try using the smooth edge of a butter knife, the back of a large spoon, or a small spatula.
4. Add the Organelles
Organelles are the "mini organs" found in every animal cell. Each organelle has a different function and physical appearance. Together, they work to keep the cell alive. I've made a chart showing the breakdown of specific organelles and the edible materials I used to represent them below.
Cupcake with green frosting
Purple Mike & Ike
Green candy belts
Pink candy belts attached to the nucleus
Purple candy-fruit slices
Blue Mike & Ikes
Have You Baked a Delicious Animal Cell Cake?
anne on June 06, 2020:
this was not helpful because to many sweets and it would probs give diabetes
Not saying my name on May 11, 2020:
It was ok, it needed a little more work though. DEfinetely not the best!
Estella on March 04, 2020:
Thank this is amazing it came out how i wanted it to
Jessica on March 03, 2020:
this was not helpful at all
Anonymous on January 01, 2020:
Thx for this great idea I used it for my 7th grade science project ...
cant say my name bc there are creepers out there on November 27, 2019:
I'm going to use this for a school project!
unknown on November 22, 2019:
Thanks! Using it for Ms.Buffundo :D
Wolf on November 17, 2019:
Thanks!! Awesome I used a cupcake for the nucleus! It works! ;)
Anonymous on November 08, 2019:
Good idea for mr.long :)
anonymous on November 07, 2019:
This is very helpful for my 7th grade animal cell project thankyou
lucy and kyndra on October 14, 2019:
thanks this is a good idea for our 7th grade project. we need to make a cell and we used this idea.
Kaelynn on October 13, 2019:
what if we dont have twizzlers
unknown on September 27, 2019:
I'm surprised that this project gave me a A+ in the sixth grade
Hazel on September 25, 2019:
Thanks needed this for 7th grade mrs.Rivers project
aliera on August 14, 2019:
using this for my animal cell project thanks so much it was so helpful and i think i might get really good marks
Leah on May 08, 2019:
Ya bob your being rude they tried their best on this! I used it for my 6th grade projecr thanks so much for this!
Susan on May 07, 2019:
Bob I do not like your comment
H on March 29, 2019:
I definitely needed this for my 6th grade project. I don't know what I would have done without this information! Thanks
Thanks on March 02, 2019:
Thx a lot this helped a lot the graph was also a big help once again i want to thank you!!
Dee on February 27, 2019:
Thxxx this helped me with my 5th grade science project
Thanks!! on January 30, 2019:
Thank you!! I needed to make an animal cell model for my 7th grade project. This got me a 110!! thank you
Abby swan on January 16, 2019:
going to try this for school project......
R-hog on January 15, 2019:
grade 8 project done now dankie
Abby on January 14, 2019:
going to do it for a school grade
vector on January 07, 2019:
srry mom wouldnt let me do the cake.
Vector on January 07, 2019:
Thanks for the steps im doing a 7th grade science proj.
emily on November 28, 2018:
S on November 18, 2018:
Thx I needed it for my 7th science class thx again.
Skull on November 07, 2018:
I'm going to try it out for my science class thx
sutter on October 31, 2018:
thx this helped me with my last minute cell project
zoe on October 31, 2018:
i am doing it atm!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i danno if i want 2 do this!!!!
Hi on October 29, 2018:
Hi I need to do this for my class I really hope it work
im cool on October 17, 2018:
hey my names is good boy hahahaha good advice btw
deaisha from westridge on October 16, 2018:
that truned out really good and we are eating eat now thanks so much
deaisha from westridge on October 09, 2018:
i need this for . class
unknown on October 07, 2018:
NALLELY on September 25, 2018:
THIS IS SUPER HELPFUL THANK YOU
Jailisa on September 20, 2018:
im also doing this for a 7th grade project
justin on September 19, 2018:
I also need this for my 7th grade project
Cheyenne on September 12, 2018:
thank you, I needed this for my 7th grade project and its an 80% grade, I would and will recommend this to next years 7th grade.
zachary on August 31, 2018:
thank you, I needed this for my 7th grade project and its an 80% grade, I would and will recomend this to next years 7th grade.
riyt49eytei on August 30, 2018:
thank you now I can do this:)
demelza on August 16, 2018:
eggcelent I am pretty sure ill make this for my project great work well done keep it up
Unknown on May 14, 2018:
Thank you so much ^~^ I really needed this for my cell project
Thankful person on March 12, 2018:
Thanks I really needed this to man
aasdas on March 06, 2018:
thanks im doing it right now and im in 6 grade
asdfjkl; on December 01, 2017:
you just saved my grade thank you for this easy project im passing my grade
ffsfrege on November 28, 2017:
thank you so much for this you may have saved my grade
KittyKat on June 07, 2017:
i did this thx for the idea
Kaitlynn Hernandez on May 02, 2017:
Wow thanks for the amazing cake demonstration!
Kayleigh Holland on April 22, 2017:
Hey thank you so much for this... it really helped me with my Science Project.
destiny on October 03, 2015:
love it can I do the same
Amaraca on May 04, 2015:
It looks delicious!!! I think I can get an A+++++++++++++++++ on my assignment!!! Then comes the fun part...Eating it!!!
YOUR MOM on January 19, 2015:
too many people make cake cant yall do something @#$%^%$ else?
alexis on November 20, 2014:
awesome im doing this for my science fair project
Happy on October 12, 2014:
Trying it with my son for his project right now
Jaydaguyton on October 02, 2014:
I need help on my project
diamond on October 01, 2014:
jana-kilye on March 27, 2014:
jana-kilye on March 27, 2014:
It was amaing
catswagger123 on October 29, 2013:
this will get me an A+ on my project!!!!!!!!!!:):):)
OUTFOXprevention1 on October 11, 2013:
This was one of my favorite activities in school. We did it with jello though.
anonymous on July 17, 2013:
it was very helpful-lots of information...................
anonymous on April 29, 2013:
anonymous on March 03, 2013:
Such an awesome idea! Thanks for the step by step instructions & also for pinning it to Pinterest!
anonymous on November 22, 2012:
It looks cool butwhen i showed my science teacher this cake, she said it was not acceptable. She siad it looks like a picture on a piece of paper. It is not
anonymous on November 14, 2012:
dis cake #semmslegit ^_^
anonymous on November 14, 2012:
MY SCIENCE TEACHER SAID WE CANNOT USE THE SAME ITEM TWICE SO WE CANNOT USE THIS RECIPE
anonymous on November 13, 2012:
This was so helpful!!! I have a science project to make a 3d plant or animal cell and this is perfect! Thanx :)
anonymous on October 28, 2012:
@anonymous: me to!
anonymous on October 19, 2012:
I have to make a animal cell 4 science I am just starting on it 2day it's due monday the 22nd of october better get started !!!!!
anonymous on October 09, 2012:
For the Golgi Apparatus and Endoplasmic Reticulum which candy coated belt is which? is the one near the cupcake the Endoplasmic Reticulum or the Golgi Apparatus?
anonymous on October 03, 2012:
I used this except for the lysosomes- they do't look like that- but besides that is is AMAZING
anonymous on September 25, 2012:
awww thats pretty":)
anonymous on September 10, 2012:
anonymous on September 09, 2012:
my 11 year old son had to make an Animal cell modal for his 5th grades cience and we chose to make a cake. he did a great job on it. and the class gets to eat it after she grades it.
anonymous on August 30, 2012:
My son and I are planning on making animal cell cupcakes for his class. Its a class project and worth a test grade! He is excited about getting to eat a test! Lol. I will replete after he gets a grade and let you all know how it went!
anonymous on July 14, 2012:
Yeah I am doing it for my science homework
travelerme on May 29, 2012:
You like making cake lenses.
anonymous on May 14, 2012:
wow!! all of these cake cells look amazing!
anonymous on May 14, 2012:
anonymous on April 20, 2012:
Have to do this for science class wednesday . This helped so MUCH !! Thank you , I hope your website flourishes !!!! :)
anonymous on March 22, 2012:
yeah im doing it right now but ill see how it turns out
Shannon from Florida on March 16, 2012:
I love activities like this!!! We used jell-o instead of a cake. Liked.
wdrape on January 16, 2012:
Yummy looking cakes! Who knew bio was so tasty!
JoshK47 on January 10, 2012:
I've never seen a cell that looks so tasty!
Franchesca W (author) from Atlanta, GA on November 14, 2011:
@GonnaFly: Thank you for the blessings GonnaFly!:)
Jeanette from Australia on November 14, 2011:
This is awesome! Love it.
dbametrix lm on October 28, 2011:
What a beautiful images of 3-d yummy Cakes!! Excellent.
anonymous on October 17, 2011:
great project, earned a 'thumbs up' for the creativeness that it brought.
LaurenIM on October 08, 2011:
This is so awesome! I have to try this cake!
anilsaini on October 04, 2011:
Franchesca W (author) from Atlanta, GA on October 01, 2011:
@SandyPeaks: Thanks, SandyPeaks! It was a blast to bake. :)
SandyPeaks on September 30, 2011:
I think this is the most unusual cake I've ever seen! Blessed by a SquidAngel.