Youthsplaining: Cakes That Don't Look Like Cakes Are the First Great Meme of Quarantine
By Logan Mahan / July 14, 2020 12:32 pm

The internet has been quite stressed recently, and not because of any of the obvious external factors.

No, this time, it’s cake.

Specifically, cake that doesn’t look like cake:

Videos like the one above have gone insanely viral this past week. What looks to be a regular old vegetable, fruit or inanimate object is sliced into and revealed to be … cake! The extremely detailed desserts are undoubtedly impressive but have sparked many existential thoughts and questions that in turn have birthed a good old-fashioned internet meme like we haven’t seen in months.

It all started when Buzzfeed’s cooking video channel Tasty tweeted a compilation video of cakes decorated to look like toilet paper, potted plants, a pair of Crocs and other objects that are traditionally not cake-like, with the caption “These Are All Cakes.”

Many of the initial responses to the video referenced the ungodly amount of fondant — the not super tasty sculpting icing primarily used to create these kinds of cakes.

https://twitter.com/clapifyoulikeme/status/1280975070521970688?s=20

The video went viral and currently has 29.4 million views. While other videos, like this compilation of cakes from Texas-based bakery Sideserf Cake Studio and this creepy cake hand, also started gaining traction. And with so much deceitful cake flooding our feeds, jokes about how anything could be disguising itself as cake also began to flow.

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Soon, though, the hyperrealistic cakes began to take an existential toll: Are we human? Or are we cake?

Edible art cakes aren’t exactly a new baking phenomenon. Popular TV shows like Cake Boss (2008) and Ace of Cakes (2006) featured bakeries and pastry-decorating businesses that crafted enormous, incredibly detailed cakes for clients that resembled everything from Wrigley Field to the Hubble Space Telescope. While YouTube channels like Amazing Cakes host an endless amount of “hyperrealistic illusion cake” videos that have amassed millions of views.

The timing of the Tasty video could not have been more appropriate. The disconcerting nature of those cakes perfectly mirrors the disconcerting nature of, well, being alive right now. If a hyperrealistic uncooked chicken cake isn’t the quintessential visual representation of the mindfuck that is our current reality, then I don’t know what is.

And like our current reality, it seems like this meme is going to have a lasting impact.