Is it mesmerising, is it triggering, is it cake?

"I want to marvel at the talent, but I feel deeply uneasy seeing an onion with naturally flaking skin sliced open to reveal sponge."

“These Are All Cakes” tweeted Tasty, the foodie vertical by Buzzfeed, dedicated to sharing the latest food fads through delicious recipe videos from their community and also compilation clips showing what other incredible chefs have cooking. Their July 8th tweet falls into the latter bracket. For Tasty’s unsuspecting social media team, “These Are All Cakes” was an innocent tweet, shared to wow their million plus followers as they do on most days with their tantalising content – they could never have predicted what would follow. Over the weekend, what was simply a jaw-dropping, mouth-watering exhibition of baking talent turned into a collective existential crisis on the Twitterverse (and beyond, of course).

For those who live under a rock, the ‘cake’ trend coursing through Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and perhaps Facebook (maybe, who really knows what goes on there?), is a baking scam which sees cake moulded and iced into everyday objects, items of food, whole meals and even body parts. As early as January we saw a tattooed hand sitting next to an apple, cut to reveal that it was no hand at all, but in fact what looks like a vanilla and strawberry cake. Of course, the apple wasn’t much of an apple either, and throughout the year, we’ve spotted several different deceitful depictions. Over the weekend, however, following Tasty’s now-infamous tweet, there seemed to be an assault of trickery, leaving internet users genuinely uncertain as to whether the raw chicken breast brought right out of the supermarket packaging is in fact chicken or…

Is it a cake?

Thus, the meme was born. Suggesting the entire universe may indeed be made out of cake – I might be cake, this device might be cake, your eyes might be cake – the trending topic “Is It Cake?” poses a ridiculous, yet still incredibly triggering, existential question. Shrouded in the absurdity of the meme, is the very real fact that we know very little about the world we’re living in. There are so many questions about life at the moment – far more unnerving than whether or not we’re all made out of cake – uncertainties which have come rushing to the foreground of public debate over these past few months. Though presented as a joke, going down as one for most people, for some (like me, who gave up on R.S. at 14 because there was too much philosophical thinking involved in our studies of Plato’s Cave and The Truman Show) the joke has turned into a mild existential crisis.

Whilst I do want to marvel at the talent these baking gods are flaunting, I also feel deeply uneasy seeing an onion with naturally flaking skin sliced open to reveal sponge. These videos have shoved me down a rabbit hole echoing existential doubt: What is real? What does ‘real’ even mean? Is my life real? What even is ‘life’? And as if the puzzle of ‘reality’ sparked by this inescapable internet craze isn’t confusing enough, I’m even more perplexed with how to react to it. Am I being irrational for freaking out about life over a meme? Should I focus on the artists and their culinary dexterity? How do I react to seeing the abnormal yet skilful amalgamation of two of my favourite foods (McDonalds’ McMuffin and cake)? Is it mesmerising? Is it triggering?

An argument can be made for the two, but I’ve found peace in the only affirmation we know to be true: it is cake.

It’s mesmerising!

As disturbing as this newly spotlighted movement, long existing within the baking scene is, one can’t help but sound a round of applause for the cake bosses that are able to guilefully pull off this mass trickery. German-Nigerian Heather Moradeyo, who runs a London-based bakery, Happy’s Bakery, is one of such wily talents. Sharing her own contribution of to the Cake trend on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, Heather tells me things have been going crazy for her since, as her cake rendition of a hearty Nando’s meal garnered huge attention owing to her artistry. Though Heather doesn’t think her food cakes look particularly realistic, watching her slice the quarter chicken into cake was a heart-breaking sight for many – her Nando’s cake and the other food cakes occasioning Happy’s Bakery’s Instagram page are a far cry from her first-ever ‘food cake’, a ‘burger cake’ made for her brother’s birthday, which Heather refuses to share because it’s now that “embarrassing”.

“It was good for my first time. Obviously, [it was] nothing compared to [what I’m making] now. What I will say though, everyone always says ‘what does it taste like’? It tastes good! Ok? These cakes have buttercream, these cakes have ganache [laughs], these cakes are made by a pastry chef who understands flavours – they just happen to look also nothing like a cake.”

Just 24-years-old, Heather Moradeyo is a certified pastry chef, professionally trained through restaurants and hotels to deliver Michelin-star desserts and fine-dining standard cakes. So when she decided to venture into cake-making, inspired by the grandeur of the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, Heather was well-equipped to become the cake-art sensation she is today.

“Modelling chocolate is great!” She tells me before ploughing into a bunch of techniques she uses to recreate familiar dishes with the unfamiliar ingredients.

“Not only does it smell great it tastes better too! It’s like working with clay or plasticine. I use anything to make my cakes look realistic. From rolled up foil to scratches using my fork. The trick is to have an image you want to replicate and look at it in detail – all the scratches and the marks etc.”

Speaking to me about her early days teaching herself how to master this dupery, Heather says:

“it was basically working with edible colours, working with different elements. So, for example, Rice Crispies is a really good way to replicate rice. You can [also] mould different shapes out of cake if you just add a bit of icing to it – it almost becomes like clay and then you’re basically eating a cake pop. So, just with experimenting and with YouTube and all these things, I was learning how to create more realistic cakes.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Happy’s Bakery (@happysbakery) on

This is something Heather promises me she will continue doing. Heather and other bakers have been concocting these marvellous abominations for quite some time – the practice is nothing new, but simply becoming more mainstream. So, especially now that she sees people enjoy her creation for entertainment purposes, Heather will “100% be making more realistic cakes”.

“People are starting to recognise that cakes aren’t just round and piped with flowers anymore. That’s what’s so great about it though! The possibilities are endless… It’s very hard to tell when something isn’t cake, and I say this because I am surrounded by the most talented bakers. Every day I discover a new cake artist and go ‘how the hell did they do that?’ So, it’s very hard to tell. I mean they could place something in front of you and you’d be like ‘na that’s Jollof Rice’, but it’s actually just cake.”

It’s mesmerising, but also…

It’s triggering.

When you can’t trust what you see, it’s hard to trust anything at all and therein lies the problem. Innocent as these cakes may be, the memes surrounding them trigger a dark train of thought, for me at least. Magnetising, we can’t seem to get enough of these masterful creations; we can’t stop looking, which means we can’t stop ourselves from ushering in another massive question mark to a life that was already full of them. This year, in particular, didn’t need a meme posing an existential question, however, here we are, our minds are once again in the middle of a civil battle debating the existence of reality and other profound (un)truths we tend to spend our days avoiding.

To some people, this will all sound rather hyperbolic, but if you know you relate, first of all, congratulations on manoeuvring your way through the minefield of triggering content to reach this stage. Secondly, so as not to leave you scarred and stranded, we’re rounding off with some steps to pull you out of this and any other existential crises you may encounter. This year has been especially harrowing, so it is ever more important we stay informed on how to take care of ourselves mentally. There are many different types of existential crises – questions of death and mortality, life and purpose, freedom and choices ­– but these steps are from a range of healthcare resources that should help you overcome all.

Reframe your mindset

Existential crises often come with big unsettling questions such as “what’s the point of life?” or “what will happen when I die”. Breaking down these bigger questions and reframing them into action points can be a really helpful exercise in reducing anxiety. For example, questioning your life’s purpose could turn into challenging yourself to do something of value, pondering death could turn into a determination to work towards being less scared of death. These latter questions are not easy, however, they’re plausible points to work through.

Controlling your thoughts in this way, you can flip this crisis into an opportunity to grow and to learn.

Research, but be prepared for persisting unknowns

It can be a good idea to research the questions and worries you have, in order to find out how other people perceive the issue that is currently troubling you. Take lots of notes and find answers, help or guidance to your smaller, broken down questions. However, you must also learn to accept that you might not be able to find all the answers. Life is full of many things unknown, and it’s incredibly scary, but going back to tip one, it is useful to reframe your mindset and strive toward accepting the unknowns.


Putting pen to paper to purge yourself of all your negative emotion is a useful practice that most healthcare professionals advise. As well as writing down, expressing and freeing all your negative thoughts, gratitude journals are also a great tool for combatting existential crises, particularly to do with crises of purpose or fear of freedom and choices, as these help you highlight the positive’s in your life, thereby bringing your mind to a place of peace.

Get active and outdoors

When you’re in a thinking rut, it is very easy to neglect your body, which in turns leads to a worse-off state of mind. Exercise is another go-to recommendation for healthcare professionals as it is indubitably effective in clearing out your mind. Fresh air and a change in scenery are also helpful in cleansing your thoughts, removing you from the mental rabbit hole and enabling you to reframe your thinking.

Seek professional help

All these tips are much easier said than done and sometimes even when you’ve checked off everything anxiety and depression can still persist; in this case, it’s best to seek a mental health professional. If you have a history of mental health issues, seeking professional help is an advisable first step.

Featured image credits/@shaqaveli_182

Wojumi is a bad bitch & she’s going to brag about it. Tweet her your latest cultural exploits @dewoju