Edible Nightmares

Cake disguised as other objects is more unsettling than deepfakes

Are you cake? Are you sure?


Just as I realized the person in the video wasn’t using proper proofreading marks to edit “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” a knife appeared and cut into the “paper.” An unholy scream left my body as my partner turned to me — mouth smiling but eyes glinting with horror — and asked “what is cake now?”

In a year that continues to defy all absurdist expectations, cake is the final straw.

The troll toll is too high — This phenomenon evokes the Trojan Horse humor of Rick Rolling, but in addition to being tricked, you can’t enjoy the treat physically or mentally. Halloween could never attain this level of psychological terrorism.

Adding insult to injury, so many of these treacherous desserts are basically inedible. While some pastry chefs use modeling chocolate, fondant/sugar paste is still a heavy-hitter for meticulously designed cakes. Fondant, a malicious malady of desserts, is one of the few things that could justify the existence of a carceral state. Many of the individual cakes from the infamous Tasty compilation video are tagged as using fondant on the Red Rose Cake Instagram. Not content with deceiving us, these cakes are covered in sweetened drywall, removing the possibility of even imagining enjoying them.

The breaking point of our sanity — The prevalence of misinformation and the increasing sophistication of deepfakes were already building in the public’s consciousness at the year’s start. Then, thanks to physical distancing and quarantine, we lost the sense of social touch and gained anxiety around our collective mortality. The veracity of someone’s existence was hanging on by thin thread, but who could have guessed a cake knife would sever it?

Now, anyone who is even moderately Online has gone from not trusting any media focusing on inanimate objects to semi-jokingly wondering if our loved ones are cake. Now that objects like shoes and soap can be cake, why not my parents? Friends? Gynecologist?

Intent on ruining cake, in a year where baking has soothed millions, the internet keeps going deeper:

We can no longer trust things. We can no longer trust cake. They are in cahoots at the ends of strings pulled by talented artisans and detail-oriented pranksters. I open the window and sugar glass shatters around me. I undo a braid and there’s a ladyfinger. I slice into some cheesecake and it’s Donald Trump’s tax returns. We are both cake and not cake. We cannot be trusted with the internet anymore.