You Will Never See a More Ridiculous Way to Serve Cake

published Apr 27, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My mother recently gave me a fancy cake server, a shiny utensil that will probably remain in its protective packaging until I find it at the back of the drawer in 10 years. I’m the kind of person who cares more about getting the cake into my open mouth than I do about neatly putting it on a plate.

Joseph Herscher, however, clearly doesn’t share that attitude — especially because he was willing to spend three months devising a ridiculously complicated way to serve dessert.

Herscher, a New Zealand-born innovator and artist, is best known for his YouTube channel, Joseph’s Machines. In his jaw-dropping videos, he highlights the “useless machines” he builds to perform simple tasks. (His creations are often called Rube Goldberg machines, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who liked to draw ridiculously complex gadgets doing the most uncomplicated things).

In his latest video, Herscher designed a machine that serves him a slice of cake, but only after it goes through several dozen increasingly ridiculous — and increasingly destructive — steps. “I hate waiting for dessert, so here’s a Rube Goldberg machine to streamline dinnertime,” he wrote. “It lets me keep eating, with no break before cake. It’s my most complex yet and took three months to make so I hope you enjoy it!”

If you want to serve your own cake slices the way Herscher does … good luck. You’ll need a grocery list that includes orange juice, peas, salt, potatoes, corn on the cob, and a stick of butter. You’ll also need to be willing to smash your MacBook and have access to a 2-year-old with a long-for-a-toddler attention span and some better-than-average coordination skills.

This is really incredible, but it does seem to have one big downside, other than the broken computer and the amount of after-dinner cleanup: What does he do if he wants to have a second piece?