You know when you’re scrolling through Instagram and suddenly three hours go by and you’re wondering how on earth that happened? That’s pretty much what happened when we fell down the rabbit hole of illusion cakes. ‘What’s an illusion cake?’ we hear you cry. ‘Why should we be interested?’
Well, the truth is, you probably shouldn’t. They’re likely to be a complete waste of your time. And there isn’t really that much point to them, other than that they can…completely blow your mind. And obviously take away hours from your life.
The aim of the cake game is to create cakes that look identical to an object, animal or person in real life. And sometimes, you can barely notice the difference. Cake artists around the UK are making everything out of flour, milk and eggs: handbags, bananas, Bernie Sanders and even the 2021 Zoom legend Jackie Weaver. Get ready to start scrolling…
Ben Cullen, The Bakeking
First up, is Chester-based cake illusionist extraordinaire Ben Cullen. A guy who has dubbed himself ‘The Bakeking’. He’s pretty badass when it comes to icing sponge – more Gene Simmons than Mary Berry.
Once a graphic designer and then a tattoo artist, Ben has moved his talented eye for art onto sweet masterpieces that look like real objects. It’s so mind-bending that his cakes have even landed on James Corden’s Late Late Show. He’s recreated everything from raw chicken breasts and salad to packs of cards and clocks, there’s literally nothing this man can’t turn into cake. It’s like the Midas touch, but with icing. You can even view a compilation of his most impressive creations here. Just don’t blame us when you get fired from your job for spending too much time looking at cakes.
Hannah Edwards, The Cake Illusionist
And so it begins… the endless search for cakes that look like real things. This time it’s dogs. Not gonna lie, this one is a bit of a weird one. Do you really want to stick a knife into a dog and eat it? Well, if the answer is yes, this one’s for you. We guess it solves the puppy pandemic we seem to be going through. You can just order a cake version of that labradoodle you wanted; it’ll be cheaper and you won’t have to go around picking up poo in the park.
The London-based Cake Illusionist is behind these ones. Hannah Edwards, as she is otherwise known, doesn’t just go about recreating pugs in her kitchen, but she teaches other people how to do it as well. Yes, we’re quite serious. You can learn how to sculpt a wild wolf or bring to life a cuddly chipanzee. We know you’ve always wanted to.
You can sign up to her site here, and gain access to video classes from £10, as well as a load of live streams and (this is what Hannah promises you) a community of cake enthusiasts where “friendships are formed, ideas are inspired, and successes are shared”. Who knew cakes could be so life changing? (Or you could skip school and order a bespoke creation for £250….)
Molly Makes Cakes
Yup, we’re still talking about cakes. Who would have thought they’d be so much to say? Next up is Molly Robbins, who is also a fan of turning little creatures into edible form. And like The Cake Illusionist, you can have a go at it yourself. She’s set up a website and platform dedicated to either buying her cakes, or creating your own.
There are moulds to bring to life Derek the Duck, Eddy the Teddy or Enrique the Elephant (great name selections there). The moulds start from £24.99 and some of them have already sold out. We told you illusion cakes were a big deal.
Yup, we're still talking about cakes. Who would have thought they'd be so much to say?
Karisha Pithwa, A Luxury Cake Artist
Like with any industry, there are different areas of expertise. And the illusion cake business is no different. Karisha Pithwa specialises in the luxury end of icing and baking. Forget bananas and cucumbers, we’re talking Chanel and Dior handbags, Fila trainers and Rolex watches (likely the only kind of Rolex watch we’ll ever be able to buy).
She’s also set up her own side hustle of fancy wedding cakes called Crème De La Cakes in Dunstable. The magical masterpieces have been baked up for some of our favourite London hotels including The Ritz, The Dorchester, Grosvenor House, Claridge’s and The Landmark. The Dubai royal family is also one of her top clients. Illusion cakes are going international people!
The Dubai royal family is also one of her top clients. Illusion cakes are going international people!
Eloise Durrant, The Gourmet Cupcake Company
As well as fancy cupcakes and tiered sponges, Eloise likes to turn birthday cakes into memorable moments. She creates customised works that reflect the passion of the birthday boy or girl, whether that’s racing cars, skiing or shopping. Each one is transformed into a realistic copy, but one that you can take a slice out of.
Like her fellow bakers, she, too, offers tutorials through The Gourmet Cupcake Company based in Chelmsford. The classes range from learning how to airbrush icing to baking the perfect macoron and meringue. And, due to coronavirus, she offers online classes too. Ready, steady, bake!
Rosie Dummer, The Cake Diva
Rosie has to be one of our favourites. She not only creates some mind-boggling realistic illusions, but she also makes life-size humans out of cake. This includes Boris Johnson and Freddie Mercury. We wonder if we swapped the Prime Minister with a cake people would notice? Probably not.
Zoe Burmester, Sugar Street Studios
We’ll end on some more look-a-like food cakes from Zoe at Sugar Street Studios. She labels herself as one of the top 10 UK cake artists, so we’re in good hands. Similar to the other cake fanatics, she has her own website, where you can sign up to a membership of video tutorials and join a loving cake community.
It’s all just one big, happy, cake family out there.
…. Right, you better get back to work now.