What would you think about inviting several hundred people to a party?
What if, even if they said “yes,” most of them
wouldn’t be in the same party location as you?
The American Chemical Society’s (ACS)
ChemClubs did just that with a “Virtual Party”
last November to celebrate the 10th anniver-
sary of the ChemClub program.
A live presentation with “Hacking Your
Taste Buds” activities was videotaped
in the ACS building with students and
teachers from two local Clubs attending in person. Other Clubs attended the
party by joining in the fun virtually. The clubs that participated virtually
each received a box filled with party materials to do the same activities in their locations. Among the unusual items in the box were nose
clips for the “Figure Out the Flavor” taste activity.
Cupcakes were part of that day’s celebration. Instead of “Hacking
Your Taste Buds,” as they did at the party, try this baking activity to
“Hack Your Cupcakes” with an ingredient change. The recipe below is
taken from the ACS ChemClub Cookbook (p. 80).
Partygoers enjoyed cupcakes
during the ChemClub 10th
Presenter Sally Mitchell
and two students explore
the link between smell and
flavor with nose clips.
Missed the ACS ChemClub 10th Anniversary Virtual Party?
Watch the “Chemistry—Hacking Your Taste Buds” presentation online
( http://acschemclubs.org/hack-your-taste-buds/) and download the activities to try yourself!
➊ Preheat oven to 350 °F.
➋ Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl.
➌ Mix the remaining ingredients in a second bowl.
➍ Stir the ingredients from the second bowl into
the first. Mix well.
➎ Pour the mix into six holes of a muffin pan. Bake
for 15–18 minutes.
➏ Now, brainstorm your recipe for cupcakes 2.0!
Choose one ingredient to adjust. Some ideas are:
(a) replace baking powder with the same amount of baking soda; (b) increase
the amount of baking powder; (c) use sour cream instead of milk; (d) use oil
instead of butter; (e) or make another change of your choice. Predict the effect
of your change.
➐ Repeat steps 1– 5, but adjust your selected ingredient.
How did your first cupcakes compare with the second batch? Did they look different?
Taste different? Consider the role that the ingredient you changed plays in the recipe.
Why did it change the resulting product?
This activity must be done in a
food-safe environment rather
than in a chemistry labora-
tory, because participants will
be eating and tasting food
products. Students with food
allergies should confirm they
are able to safely perform this
activity with the foods used.
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ACTIVITY By Erica K. Jacobsen
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla