Can you think of some famous mathematicians?
I can, let me list some for you (by the way, most of them are dead)…
There’s Pythagoras of Samos
Man someone needs to get this man a beer, he looks way to serious.
He was an ancient Greek philosopher whose Pythagorean Theorem was drummed into our brains in high-school, remember a2 + b2 = c2?
There’s Mr Albert Einstein
Einstein had a theory on relativity. It went something like this… E = mc2
Actually Einstein’s not really dead you know? Some people believe he’s living on the moon. Serious!! Check out this clip if you don’t believe me.
There’s Sir Issac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton, along with Mr Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (what an awesome name, I might call my first son this) , were the father’s of the calculus theorem…integration and differentiation are each other’s inverse operation. Yeah had to look that one up, so didn’t remember that.
And then there’s…Jennifer Richards – yeah, that’s right…me!!!
So let me tell you about the equation I worked so terribly hard on last Sunday. Let me put it in narrative form too, I’m much better at composing pieces of writing when they’re in story form…
Anyway, one Saturday night she had to bake a cake for a family party that was being thrown the next day at one of her old Aunt’s houses. Jen/Jenny/Jennifer had 4 old aunts and 3 old uncles. One of them was visiting from Cairns, so it was a great excuse to have a party!
Jen/Jenny/Jennifer had decided to make a Hummingbird Cake. It’s an old fashioned cake that the old aunts would surely love. That night, as she mashed up the bananas, chopped up some pineapple and added it to a thick cake batter laced with cinnamon and nutmeg (that’s what hummingbird cakes are all about), she pondered a very serious mathematical equation. Could there be an algorithmic or computative theorem that could equate the limits to how much cake one person could possibly eat before they felt sick? Hmmm this was a mind boggling question. And Jen/Jenny/Jennifer was willing to find an answer.
So the very next day, Jen/Jenny/Jennifer woke up bright and early, ready to combat this Herculean challenge. The party wasn’t til 12 noon, but she wanted to get a head start on the equation, so she took herself off to a local café for breakfast. The closest thing on the menu she could find to cake was fruit toast, so she ate three slices of this, with butter and jam and then washed it all down with a comforting mug of mocha. Yep, she was on her way to a solution, she could feel it in her gurgling belly.
- 2 party sausage rolls
- 1 mini quiche
- 1 glass of champagne
- 1 chicken drumstick
- 1 piece of roast vegetable frittata
- Some Greek Salad
Yup, what an idea’s girl, that Jen/Jenny/Jennifer was. If there’s no cake, then just eat whatever else is around! No point wasting good party food right?
And then the moment arrived. It was time for desert. Jen/Jenny/Jennifer was not disappointed by the treasure trove of sweets on offer.
This is where the challenge would get interesting; this is where her true mathematical genius would be put to the test. So with fork in hand, serviette neatly tucked into her shirt, and a belly that was ready for action, Jen/Jenny/Jennifer stepped up to the starting line and broke through the starting gate.
- 1 piece of Hummingbird Cake
- 1 piece of Toblerone Cheesecake
- 1 piece of lemon slice
- 1 piece of Mars Bar slice
- 1 miniscule scoop of trifle
- ½ a bite of hedgehog slice
- ¼ bite of coconut macaroon
(A little full at this point…but there was no room for weakness)
(Hmmmm…she just spewed a little in her mouth…but must keep trucking)
(Hmmm…there’s apricot cheesecake too…thank God she hated apricot, no need to try this cake)
At this point it was time to step outside. There was a baby staring at her, and she couldn’t eat or make mathematical deductions, while being so thoroughly scrutinized. And plus, she knew the baby was thinking…
That girl’s a fricken heffer.
As Jen/Jenny/Jennifer stood under the ornamental grapevine on the back patio, she loosened her belt, wiped the sweat from her brow and dusted the cake crumbs out of her cleavage.
She was forming a solution…a quadratic, Fibonacci, means tested, fractional manifesto (that’s enough mathematical terms for one sentence). And hey presto…just like that, the answer appeared.
And can you guess what the solution was?
Well, turns out the solution’s not mathematical at all! It’s really just common sense. If you eat a crap load of cake, you’re going to feel insanely sick. But do you know what? It’s so totally worth it. Every sweet morsel that lays delicately on your tongue, is like a crumbflake sent down from cake heaven. So good is each bite, that Jen/Jenny/Jennifer would never let a sore stomach get in the way of a desert buffet ever!
So Jen/Jenny/Jennifer, was not going to go down in the mathematical halls of fame. But if there was a hall of fame for cake eating, then her portrait would take prize position.
Yay…Jenny is the cake eating Queen…hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray!!!
RECIPE – Hummingbird Cake
(taken from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
- 300g castor sugar
- 3 eggs
- 300ml sunflower oil
- 270g peeled over-ripe banana
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarb of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 100g tinned pineapple chopped into small pieces
- 100g shelled pecan nuts, or any nuts you like
- 2 quantities of cream cheese icing (see below)
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (325 F). Grease and line 3 20cm cake tins.
- Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon/nutmeg in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Slowly add the flour, bicarb of soda, salt and vanilla and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.
- Stir in the pineapple and nuts by hand until evenly dispersed.
- Pour the mixture into the three tins.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched.
- Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire to cool completely.
- When the cakes are cold, layer with cream cheese frosting and then top the cake and sides with the rest of the icing. Sprinkle with extra crushed nuts. I used left over toffeed pecans that I made in my ANZAC day post.
Cream Cheese Icing
(remember I made two lots of this)
- 300g icing sugar
- 100g butter
- 125g cream cheese at room temp (very important for it to be at room temp)
- Using an electric beater (or your mix master with the paddle attachment) and beat together the butter and icing sugar. Add a tiny bit of milk if it doesn’t come together.
- Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. Don’t overmix or the mixture goes runny.