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11 Stunning Cakes That Look Exactly Like Other Foods

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Sometimes there is more to a dinner plate than meets the eye. In some cases, what looks like a regular meal is actually a cake with some clever, camouflaging decoration. Here are 11 cakes that look like something much more nutritious... or at least like something different.

1. A Frosty Bucket of Beer

When cake decorator Rouvelee Ilagan decided to do something special for her father’s birthday cake, it’s doubtful she expected the hard-candy-laced design to land her in the pages of Woman’s Day, but that’s just what happened when she shared the pictures with the world. Well Rouvelee, now your cake landed you on mental_floss as well!

2. A Seafood Boil

When Flickr user schmish, who works at The Wicked Little Cake Company, wanted to make an impression at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Show, she decided to show that the true focus of a cake isn't always the sweet treat inside, but often the way it looks on the outside as well.

3. Taco Bell Tacos

Laura LeClair Kelley’s son simply loves Taco Bell, but even those who can’t stand the mega-chain would probably love this dessert version. That’s because it features snickerdoodle taco shells, chocolate cake meat, dyed coconut lettuce, diced up Twizzlers tomatoes, thinly sliced Starburst cheese and melted marshmallow sour cream.

4. A Bundle of Asparagus

This might be the only cake on this list that makes more sense as a sweet than its intended decoration. After all, who on Earth could eat that much asparagus? Of course, when you hear the story behind the cake, it makes complete sense.

When Rosie of Sweetapolita decided to make a cake for her sister-in-law, Marie, who just won a bodybuilding competition, she decided to make light of Marie’s strict diet during her training regimen. As it turns out, the athlete was utterly sick of eating asparagus, so a giant bundle of the vegetable was a great reminder of just how hard she worked to win.

5. Spaghetti with Meatballs

Wild Cakes certainly lives up to its name with this sweet take on spaghetti and meatballs made with buttercream pasta, strawberry jam pasta sauce, Ferrero Rocher meatballs and shaved white chocolate parmesan.

6. Chicken and Waffles

The best groom’s cakes are designed specifically with the husband-to-be in mind. That’s why this chicken and waffles cake was so perfect for The Butter End customer Ryan, who loves this classic pairing of sweet and savory. Of course, in cake form, it’s all sweet, complete with real waffles and Rice Krispie fried chicken.

7. Sushi

Even those with an aversion to raw fish will probably love these delicious and fully-cooked sushi cupcakes made by Amanda Striepe. Apparently, the owner of the sushi restaurant where Amanda presented them to her friend was so impressed that he immediately asked her if she did catering.

8. A Chocolate-Covered Strawberry

If you believe that one good sweet deserves another, then you’ll probably love this chocolate-covered strawberry cake by Pink Cake Box. If the looks aren’t enough to get you, the chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream inside will.

9. Oreo Cookies

When you’re a cake-decorator by trade, it’s only natural for your friends and family members to try to challenge you when it comes to creating their own cakes. Of course, if Katrina of K’s Cake’s son wanted to stump her for his birthday cake, he’ll have to try harder, as the artist claims the hardest part of this design was trying to find an undamaged Oreo in the package for her to base her design on.

10. A Burger With Fries

Neatorama reader Alex sent the blog this great picture showing the delicious bacon burger birthday cake baked by his sister. If you don’t think the cake itself looks all that tasty, you might change your mind when you learn what all the layers were made from -the bacon is fruit leather, the sesame seeds are Rice Krispies, the patty is Oreo and chocolate cake and the bun is vanilla cake with caramel frosting. Yum!

11. A Steak With Carrots

Here’s a steak that looks way too raw to cut into. Fortunately, it's actually a fully baked cake created by Meredith Newcom for the Threadcakes competition, where bakers attempt to make delicious creations reminiscent of their favorite Threadless tees. In Miss Newcom’s case, the steak cake is actually her take on this Piece of Meat shirt.
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If all cakes looked this much like other foods, it seems likely that people would be a lot more suspicious of any massive dinners placed in front of them. Have any of you ever had a cake that looked like another food?

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

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Opening Ceremony

To this:

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Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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