My 12 year-old daughter, Sydney follows Rosanna Pansino. If you haven’t heard of Rosanna, she’s a Youtuber known for her show Nerdy Nummies, one of the most popular baking shows on the internet. I was quite surprised when Sydney asked me one day to buy Rosanna’s cookbook, The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us.


I figured there were worse things that could come of Sydney spending what I think is too much of her time on Youtube than purchasing something she and I could do together. When the cookbook arrived, I was pretty impressed as I flipped through the colorful photos of amazing creations inspired by Rosanna’s passion for science and math. The chapters had titles like “Math & Science,” “Space” and “Gaming” and the baked delights consisted of Apple Pi Pie, Atom Cookies and Periodic Table of Cupcakes.

Our Own Kid Cake Wars

On Saturday, Sydney and one of her friends, who is also named Sydney, decided to take on one of Rosanna’s creation called “The Volcano.” Not gonna lie…I was a little concerned when I read that one of the ingredients was “dry ice.” (It creates the smoke for the volcanic eruption.) Basically, it was a chocolate-frosted three-tiered cake with some island-inspired decorations. I thought to myself, “this shouldn’t be too bad” and “maybe they’ll be some “baking and math moments,”so I hopped on board.


Going Shopping

The first math moment came from shopping. I took the Sydneys to the store and let them go to town. I watched them search for things like:

  • 1 tub (16 ounces) chocolate frosting
  • 3 tubs (16 ounces each) of buttercream frosting
  • 1 box (about 14 ounces) graham crackers

Math Moment I: I watched them compare different size bottles searching for the one they needed. I can’t think of a better way to understand measurements and equivalents than to play a game of seek and find at the grocery store.

Choosing a Pan

After we came home with all of the goodies, Sydney asked me to find the 9 x 13 baking pan for her. Now, you know, that would have been too easy. Math Moment II: I handed her the ruler and let her go to town on the cabinet of baking pans. (Truth is…that cabinet is a mess and when you take one pan out, they all come a-fallin. So better she than me!)

I then left the Sydneys to take over my kitchen. Let’s just say that the “clean-as-you-go” method was not part of their plan.



Back to the Store

About two hours into this project, my Sydney tells me that we need to go back to the store. She realized that the recipe called for “three batches of the Rich Chocolate Cake” recipe featured earlier in the book. We had only purchased the ingredients listed on the page which were for one batch. Aargh. Math Moment III: Let’s figure out what we need before heading back to the store. The girls figured out that since we had bought enough for one batch, we needed to multiply the listed ingredients by 2 to get the remaining amounts for the recipe.


The Big Reveal

While I applaud the girls for their efforts, they started to run out of steam by hour 4. Maybe the Volcano Cake wasn’t the best first pick of a recipe from this book. As weariness began to settle in, the girls opted for their own creativity versus staying to the letter of the law of the photo in the book. They jury is still out…you tell me.



Without even realizing it, we spent the day using fractions, percentages, measurements and arithmetic. Math by osmosis…awesome!